@Newcastle The Cluny, February 5 2015
Multiple rehearsals, regimented setlists and note perfect delivery are so passé. This is, after all, raw rock and roll.
And if there were times when this feelgood show veered towards the amusingly shambolic, it comfortably captured the spirit of kinship, camaraderie and understated cool at the heart of the endearing Hot Knives’ collective.
Anyone who expected a slick and shiny take on Spike and Tyla’s classic Flagrantly Yours record surely required a reality check. This was a set built upon instinct, fuelled by adrenaline (plus the odd sip of Champagne) and delivered against a backdrop of two band members’ birthdays within a week.
As such it never ran smoothly, rarely went to plan and guaranteed a barrel load of laughs alongside some bloody good tunes.
When Hot Knives did bring their heady brew to the boil they were quite brilliant. Squeeze drummer Simon Hanson and Quireboys’ bass player Nick Mailing were the driving force with unsung hero Gary Pennick’s fusion of fiery riffs and booming backing vocals a vital ingredient in this unpredictable mix.
Perhaps Guy Bailey was playing up to his role as loveable fool or maybe the Thirsty guitarist really never knew what song was coming next or what key it was meant to be played in. Either way, the man responsible for co-writing a slew of late 80s Quireboys classics did his very best impression of a rambling Keith Richards and ultimately stole the show.
So what of the main men? At the vanguard of the UK’s answer to America’s Sunset Strip invasion, time has hardly taken its toll on Spike and Tyla with the age-defying duo still cutting a dash. Their voices may be raspier than ever but Flagrantly Yours was a record made for a brace of gravel-toned troubadours on a mission to put the world to rights.
Maybe Tomorrow, Cost Of Living and Lost In A Crowd Of One still strike a chord in 2016 – more than two decades after they were conceived in a caravan at the bottom of the garden belonging to Spike’s mother. Both Spike and Tyla believed in an oft-overlooked album back in the day and it’s clear the pair still have a soft spot for its numerous highlights.
Birthday treats included covers of Seven O’Clock, Heroine and How Come It Never Rains and Spike even managed to juggle his colossal cake without spilling a crumb. Surrounded by friends and family – his talented niece opened up as one half of enchanting folk/country duo Frankie and Maddy – the Quireboys’ frontman enjoyed a party to remember. Assuming he can remember it.