@ Newcastle Northumbria University SU, December 1 2011

Perhaps it’s meant to be a pointed reminder of just how lucky Quireboys fans really are as their favourite rock n rollers deliver yet another December UK tour.

Or maybe it’s a not so subtle hint at what’s to come on 2012’s eagerly anticipated sixth studio album. 

But make no mistake about it, new tune Too Much Of A Good Thing is one of the best songs these good time party boys have written in many a year.

Pushing the classic Mona Lisa Smiled pretty close as the standout song from the revamped line-up, the singalong future single struck an instant chord with the bouncing masses. But it was one diamond mined from a back catalogue sparkling with musical gems.

A decade old but looking like a bunch of wide-eyed wippersnappers, the Quireboys Mk2 were confident enough to dish up a couple of appetite whetters ahead of their next record’s release with a partisan home crowd lapping up both Too Much Of A Good Thing and the Mott The Hoople-esque Mother Mary.

That both tunes slotted seamlessly into a set rife with instantly recognisable classics is testimony to a writing team on a roll. And if this tour was meant to fill a gap between releases then the Newcastle show simply served to heighten the frenzy surrounding that new Quireboys album.

Four tracks are complete and another three are well on the way. Talks continue with a slew of interested labels and news on firm release details are expected soon.

Right now it’s time to enjoy the band at their best – in the flesh. And the combination of a cracking venue (with superb sound and a well-staffed bar) and an incendiary performance from six seasoned professionals made for the perfect pre-Christmas party.

The pre-headline entertainment came courtesy on buzz band Gentlemen Of Distorted Sound and the new saviours of classic rock Red, White And Blues. If the former haven’t quite settled on a trademark image and sound then the latter know exactly where their strengths lie.

Featuring ex-Jagged Edge pair Myke Gray and Matti Alfonzetti the quartet cut quite a dash with their mix of Thunder-esque blues and hair metal cues. Just like rock used to be (think 1989) a superb set hinted at an incredibly bright future.

But back to the main event and, not for the first time in their long and winding career, the Quireboys were in simply sensational form.

If the secret to Spike’s eternal youth is a daily dose of whisky and tobacco then it could be time to explore what would be a truly popular medical breakthrough. Something still makes the old man tick – his energy and enthusiasm driving forward a band feeding of its frontman’s insatiable appetite to entertain.

Those who make the annual festive pilgrimage to see the Quireboys in action need no convincing that the one-time chart botherers have crafted one of the finest live shows on the planet. Quite why their class doesn’t guarantee bigger audiences and loftier venues is a cause of regular debate.

Then again there’s something to be said for catching this lot in a more intimate setting – songs like There She Goes Again, Hey You and I Don’t Love You Anymore somehow belong to the die-hards and devotees in venues where these purveyors of raucous rock n roll are up close and personal.

Too Much Of A Good Thing? You bet. But nobody here left the venue believing they were going to reduce their intake of Quireboys anytime soon.

Simon Rushworth