3@Newcastle Riverside, November 23 2014

There were a lot of familiar faces around as Newcastle’s Riverside filled up on a pretty grim Sunday night.

It appeared there weren’t too many Quireboys virgins in the audience and the overwhelming feeling was one of familiarity – meeting up with a few mates you hadn’t seen for a while and enjoying the craic. 

But before your old muckas got to the pub (they’re always late) you struck up a conversation with a group of guys at the bar and found you had a lot in common – in fact you shared many of the same friends.

In this case those guys were the Vargas Blues Band. And you spend the next day wondering how on earth your paths had never crossed before.

One of your mates is famously unreliable but luckily he arrived with the others and as a group they were transformed into one rabble-rousing rock n roll unit.

Twin guitarists Griff and Paul can always be relied upon to entertain and adopted local hero Keeeeth embellished every story with his bluesy tinklings. Then there was the joker in the pack – Spike. He regaled the whole room with some great tales of the old times and some newer yarns which turn out to be as entertaining as the ones you’ve heard a few times before (What Do You Want From Me? sounded like the band had been playing it for years it was so well honed).

The night might have been about the musical craic but, as you’d expect from a homecoming gig, the on-stage banter between songs reinforced the feeling that there was no distance between punters and band. We were all just one big group enjoying a few drinks with some good friends.

And aren’t they the best nights? Nobody cared it was Monday tomorrow – we were out with our mates having a laugh. And that’s all that mattered.

Niall Lumley

*Exclusive image courtesy of John Burrows @ishootgigs