quireboys spikeQuireboys – Stage Two, Dec 5 2009

In the midst of their 20th anniversary A Bit Of What You Fancy tour, the Quireboys arrived in Prestatyn in what can only be described as a brittle state. Having departed Belfast less than 12 hours earlier, following a typically frenetic Ulster show, there were some tired eyes taking to the stage late on Saturday afternoon.

And then there was poor Spike. Nursing bruised ribs following a nasty fall in Barcelona, his mic packed up from the start. A minute into this eagerly anticipated set, in front of the biggest crowd of the day to date, disaster was on the cards. But then this is the Quireboys. And this is rock and roll.

Merrily playing on in the face of adversity, the band swiftly overcame technical gremlins, accumulative jetlag and their lead singer’s understandably ginger approach to win over the sweaty masses hanging on every Geordie word. Ultimately their 40-minute (ish) show was a triumph with tracks like Hey You and 7 O’ Clock bringing the Hard Rock Hell crowd to life.   

Watching this slick gang of six strut their stuff it’s little wonder they’ve been installed as Joe Elliott’s house band of choice as Mott tribute act Down N Outz. And with so much confidence throughout the Quireboys’ camp it’s no surprise they’ve just gone and delivered one of the albums of 2009 in the shape of bold acoustic offering Halfpenny Dancer.

Catching them here was, for many fans, the aperitif before the main course that is their full ABOWYF set. And although all the hits from that breakthrough debut were delivered in some style there was still room for classics like Tramps & Thieves and new favourites including the mightily impressive Mona Lisa Smiled.

It all came to a suitably raucous conclusion with the promise of a Sex Party somewhere near guitarist Paul Guerin’s state-of-the-art jacuzzi-equipped chalet. It’s a shame we never found our way there but as parties go this was probably second best.