Words and Photos: David Thrower
What better way to start a long weekend than with three bands that, considering the history of the city, each has an eye focused firmly on the past. However, even though it was the eve of Good Friday, the streets were relatively quiet as we made our way to the backstreet venue, Fibbers, on the outskirts of York center where those queuing totaled the dizzyingly high number of five as the doors opened. Thankfully, the draw proved too irresistible for the good folk of York and the Easter weekend eventually kicked off in style – as long as said style consisted of a large proportion of waistcoats.
Souls of Tide, were starting in on their last number of the night and though my experience of the band was short, the impression left was strong. The band has subsequently told me that they hope to return to York as soon as is possible for it contains ‘great people and great beer’. Now there’s a motto for the city’s Tourist Board.
Last Great Dreamers first came to the public’s attention in the mid-90s when they released their homage to the 70’s glam scene in the form of album ‘Retrosexual’ which resulted in an award nomination for ‘best new band’ in Kerrang! magazine (eventual runners-up to Skunk Anansie). Following the tragedy, disillusionment and a subsequent hiatus, the band resurfaced a few years back where they went on to support the likes of Terrorvision, The Darkness, and Tigertailz which would explain their relationship with stand-in bass player for the evening, Berty Burton. Songs such as ‘Oblivion Kids’, the excellent ‘Glitterball Apocalypse’ and singalong ‘White Light, Black Heart’ oozed power-pop with a new-wave/punk attitude that gave their recorded sound an extra edge proving their absence from the music scene did nothing to quash their energy, attitude and all-around quirky Britishness – lead vocalist/guitarist, and sharp-dressed Droog, Marc Valentine sported a bowler hat throughout.
According to The Quireboy’s 1989 single the time to party is ‘7 O’Clock’ and from the glazed eyes and slurred voice of Spike, as he stepped onto the stage at nine, that was precisely when the party had begun. Forever the showman he danced and smiled his way through a set of songs old and new and managed to avoid destroying the venue, and its low hanging beam, with his manic mike-stand twirling that must have worried his close-standing bandmates let alone the venue management. Perennial favorites/classics ‘There She Goes Again’, ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’, the compulsory/contributory ‘Hey You’ and the aforementioned ‘7 O’Clock’ sounded as fresh as they did almost thirty years ago while new songs like the title track of new album ‘Twisted Love’ fit snugly alongside their older brethren. Underpinned by jaunty piano provided by the tolerant Keith Weir (at one point in the evening Spike informed the crowd of the room number where Keith was spending the night and, in his less than sober mood, ensured us this was no lie) that gave the sound a decidedly cockney flavor each song was aided and abetted by the double guitars of Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin that easily switch from the hard edges of rock to the slide and swagger of blues. By the time The Quireboys brought the evening to a close with the obligatory finale of ‘Sex Party’ it was clear that, when it comes to having a good time, Spike still knows what he’s doing – though on this occasion his partying may well have affected any subsequent bedroom activity.
Despite only catching the tail-end of the opening act the evening was a glorious celebration of classic rock (in numerous guises) that got Easter off to the best of starts. The Quireboys may have been around the block a fair number of times but their music is tried and true and with Spike, sober or not, they have a frontman with flair, passion, and genuine bonhomie. Until next time boys.