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O2 ABC, Glasgow
Thursday 17th March 2016

Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid

johnny main

hrh on the road quireboys hardcore superstar bonafide
The Quireboys

After a decade of running the highly successful Hard Rock Hell Festival plus numerous off shoots, the team behind the festival have taken their show (literally) on the road with the inaugural HRH AOR On The Road tour covering gigs across the length and breadth of the UK. MetalTalk caught up with the show at the O2 ABC in Glasgow, and here's a rundown of the four bands involved.

Due to a club night unfortunately we missed Thirteen Stars who were on very early, as Quireboys front man Spike Gray put it so eloquently later on in the evening, "...we're running out of time here, cause some fuckin DJ's on next!” It must be said, though, hats off to all the band crews though who managed the changeovers with very little fuss and in double quick time too.

As we settled in for the evening, there must have been a couple of hundred people milling about as Bonafide took to the stage with no introduction but to warm applause. The place might not have been packed, but there was a healthy number of hardcore Bonafide fans wedged against the crowd barrier.

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It's been a couple of years since I last saw these Swedish hard rockers live and they made the very best use of their set time. Opening number 'Butter You Up' had bass player Martin Ekelund prowling the stage as front man Pontus Snibb encouraged the audience to sing along, and got a good reaction from them.

Meanwhile new track 'Hold Down The Fort' from the most recent album, 2015's 'Denim Devils' had drummer Niklas Matsson throwing out a solid beat while Snibb gave it his all during the guitar solo as he posed "foot on the monitor" style.

hrh on the road quireboys hardcore superstar bonafide

It was a polished performance from the band throughout their short set with the inclusion of old favourites like 'The Mess', the slower pace allowing the band a breather as well as 'Loud Band' with an AC/DC-style riff getting the audience moving once again. A bit of orchestrated guitar work between Snibb and Anders Rosell impressed the crowd too, who judging by the reaction.

This wasn't all about established songs though. The band's 'Denim Devils' album was plundered again later in the set with the inclusion of '50/50' and 'One Kiss'. The former was clearly recognised by some of the audience and certainly had those down the front nodding along while Snibb played the solid guitar riff while Matsson relentlessly pounds out the beat at the back.

hrh on the road quireboys hardcore superstar bonafide

The latter track too was greeted warmly and had Snibb warning that some audience participation was required and the audience were by this point sufficiently warmed up to sing along without needing further promoting - especially a couple of girls directly in front of Snibb.

Predictably, the band closed off their set with 'Fill Your Head With Rock' which, let's face it, is a true Bonafide classic, and sent the band on their way in great style as the crowd go, well, nuts quite frankly. The band have a solid following in Glasgow so next they venture up here let's hope they're headlining, or at least billed as Special Guests as they deserve all the success they get.

hrh on the road quireboys hardcore superstar bonafide

Bonafide Set List:
Butter You Up
Hold Down the Fort
Dirt Bound
The Mess
Loud Band
One Kiss
No Doubt About It
Hard Livin' Man
Fill Your Head With Rock

Bonafide are: Pontus Snibb – Vocals/Guitar
Anders Rosell – Guitar
Martin Ekelund – Bass Guitar
Niklas Matsson – Drums

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Hardcore Superstar were late replacements for Faster Pussycat who unfortunately had to pull out of the tour, but they were more than up for the task at hand of playing Special Guests to The Quireboys, and their loud and high octane set gained them a few new fans I'm sure.

The band kicked things off with 'Sadistic Girls' - a heavyweight start which saw vocalist Joakim Berg made best use of the big stage. I'd last seen the band on the much smaller Cathouse stage last October supporting Michael Monroe, and this time round, the band all used the bigger stage to its full advantage - in fact, not even a loose microphone battery pack could stop Berg as he carried on while his tech quickly re-fastened it down.

hrh on the road quireboys hardcore superstar bonafide

Bass player Martin Sandvik seems to be loving being back in Glasgow as he beams from ear to ear while guitarist Vic Zino makes the most of the bigger stage too as he burls round and round before doing his best Chuck Berry impression as he duck-walks across the stage. "I like to see hands in the air" Berg tells the audience, and they didn't need asking twice as the slower paced 'Medicate Me' gets going.

"Do you like alcohol Glasgow?" asks Berg (surely a rhetorical question here, right?) as the band kick into 'Last Call For Alcohol' which is strangely early in their set. Drummer Magnus Andreasson swaps places with his drum tech (without dropping a beat too!) as he ventures into the photo pit (thank fully bereft of photographers by this point) as he dished out some shots to those down front before returning to behind the drums tool again without missing a beat - extra points for that surely?

'Moonshine' and 'Wild Boys' keep the momentum of the band's set going as Sandvik settles down in centre stage still grinning from ear to ear while Berg once again runs riot across the stage. It may be a Thursday but it doesn't stop the band preaching about hating Sundays via 'We Don't Celebrate Sundays' which proves to be a popular number as the audience raise their fists and yell with a small group dead centre at the front getting a little carried away by it all.

hrh on the road quireboys hardcore superstar bonafide

The band close off their short set with 'Above the Law' prefaced by Berg shouting "Scream for me Glasgow!" as he does his best Bruce Dickinson impression before the track really kicks into gear. As the audience clap along, the drum tech proceeds to dismantle the drum kit mid-song with no real impact on Andreasson's performance. Yes it's a carefully orchestrated piece of theatre drilled out at most gigs but it's still fun to watch.

As the band take their final bows it's clear that Glasgow is something of a stronghold for them. The audience appreciate the band and vice-versa so let's hope the band are back in the city soon for a headlining show of their own - they deserve it after all as they are a thoroughly entertaining band, and for me - the best performance of the night.

Hardcore Superstar Set List:
Sadistic Girls
My Good Reputation
Touch The Sky
Medicate Me
Last Call for Alcohol
Wild Boys
We Don't Celebrate Sundays
Above the Law

Hardcore Superstar are:
Joakim Berg – Vocals
Vic Zino – Guitar
Martin Sandvik – Bass Guitar
Magnus Andreasson – Drums

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With time pushing on, there was always going to be time for a bit of a show and the sound of bagpipes has the audience wondering what's happening. Being St Patrick's Day, The Quireboys don't miss a trick as a piper (by the name of Jimmy we're told) leads Spike through the audience and onto the stage.

As the band assemble on stage it takes Spike a moment or two to get into position and with a quick greeting, they are off and running. Spike sounded quite raspy as he makes his way through the number, but there's certainly no lack of enthusiasm from him and the audience are more than ready to party along with him.

'Too Much of a Good Thing' had bass player Nick Mailing and drummer Matt Goom leading the way as stalwart guitarists Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin hold station. Spike encourages the audience to sing along and having been warmed up by the previous acts (and a few pre-gig drinks it seems) they are more than ready to do a bit of quality singing.

It's a well structured set from the band who are obviously in tip-top form. 'Gracie B' is taken from the new album, 'St. Cecilia and the Gypsy Soul', (which is available on a "new fangled thing called vinyl" Spike informs everyone) and gets a somewhat muted response, which is a shame as it's a really good track.

hrh on the road quireboys hardcore superstar bonafide

'The Finer Stuff' from 2004's 'Well Oiled' album is a surprise but welcome inclusion in the set, which I hadn't heard live for many, many years. "This is only coca cola" jokes Spike during the intro as he places a glass on the drum riser, though I suspect like many he'd had more than a few pre-gig drinks judging by his somewhat slurred delivery.

The inclusion of 'This Is Rock N Roll', the title track from the band's 1993 opus is another popular track with band and audience. A cornerstone of the set for many years, it simply never sounds tired or dated and richly deserves its status in the set

Of course The Quireboys have a rich musical history and it was plundered throughout their set. Their 1993 album 'Bittersweet and Twisted' gets a couple of numbers including 'Tramps and Thieves' and set closer 'Don't Bite the Hand' which are received well by the audience and the band put in a professional if somewhat rushed performance.

The club nights at the venue are no doubt popular, but if it means the headline acts don't have any time to improvise or take their time to give absolutely the best show they can, it's the audience who suffers.

However, it's tracks from debut album, 'A Bit of What You Fancy' which are liberally peppered throughout the set that dominates the evening, and gets the best reception from the audience. 'Misled' is the first treat in store and has Griffin getting down close to the photographers as he throws out the riff.

After enduring issues early in the set, keyboard player Keith Weir's work is finally audible having been lost in the mix during the first couple of numbers but this was the only real sound issue all night.

hrh on the road quireboys hardcore superstar bonafide

Fan favourites from their debut album like 'There She Goes Again', 'Hey You', 'Sweet Mary Ann' and '7 O'Clock' get the loudest responses of the night and, of course, it wouldn't be a Quireboys show without them would it?

These songs have served the band well over the years and they still seem to relish playing them live. Overall for me though, The Quireboys delivered a solid and dependable set but they were pipped to the "Band of the Night" award by Hardcore Superstar, whose performance was simply superior.

The Quireboys Set List:
Troublemaker (Black Eyed Son)
Too Much of a Good Thing
The Finer Stuff
There She Goes Again
Gracie B
This Is Rock N' Roll
Mona Lisa Smiled
Tramps and Thieves
Hey You
Sweet Mary Ann
7 O'Clock
I Don't Love You Anymore

The Quireboys are:
Spike Gray - Vocals
Guy Griffin - Guitar
Paul Guerin - Guitar
Nick Mailing - Bass Guitar
Keith Weir - Keyboards
Matt Goom - Drums

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Photos - ©Carlan Braid Main for Main Stage Photography 2016



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