The Quireboys (Unplugged) / Gloria Story - The Borderline, London (UK) - 11 December 2016
Gloria Story usually perform with electric guitars and drum kit, so I'm not sure if what we are seeing tonight is fully representative of how they usually play. There are some unusual ideas in their songs and the crowd lovingly embrace this Swedish act as very sweet. I like the Punk sounding stuff they did the best, but got the impression this is a band still in development. Bella, their co-vocalist (and operator of their backing tracks since they were not allowed a drum kit) has a tattoo stating "I'm going to hell"... we shall see.
Early on, Spike mentions it's good to be back in London as he ruefully remembers headlining the Dominion Theatre (the theatre now showing 'The Bodyguard') with Lisa Dominique, but despite all that is wrong in the world The Quireboys are keeping Rock 'n' Roll alive tonight at the Borderline.
They work really well in an acoustic environment, this medium showing off their classy, and indeed classical, guitar playing and Spike's legendary tones. Wonderfully cheerful and funny – declaring their drink is "alcohol free"... sorry "free alcohol" – and singing the stripper song as guitarist Paul Guerin takes off his jacket; they are uplifting to watch and always put on a great show. Spike is handed a bracelet by a fan and, like the jammy sod he is, it perfectly matches the waistcoat and shoes of his outfit, it may be a keeper. In return he jokes with her saying "I'm sorry this is a harmonica in my pocket". However, it's unsurprising they inspire such devotion as they're almost a British institution now.
Spike learns towards and implores the crowd with every line, singing out his heart, making the effort to and generating that rapport of all truly great artists. The crowd react by singing at all the right points, unprompted and shouting "You've still got it!" The band dedicate a track to Paul Hornby thus taking a moment to remember those who weren't lucky enough to make it this far. They play an unusual set-list tonight including 'Hello', 'Have A Drink On Me' and 'Whipping Boy' rather than more obvious favourites like 'Mayfair' and 'Hey You', but as an acoustic, smaller show it's a real fan event and everything goes down well.
On the topic of Sharon Osbourne, they joke they are the band that used to screw everything up... and still do, but they didn't screw up tonight. They leave advertising the fact that they'll be doing an all-Blues set at Ramblin' Man Fair and informing us they "aren't goin' nowhere". Let's hope there's scope for that double negative to come true for them still.