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Borderline, London 26 May 2008

Even playing larger venues in their heyday in the late 80's and early 90's, both the Quireboys and Georgia Satellites managed to create a bar-room vibe with their good time rock n roll, and a double header of the Quireboys and ex-Satellites singer Dan Baird and his Homemade Sin band in the intimate surroundings of the Borderline was therefore unmissable.

To cap it all, excellent support was provided by Swedish band Diamond Dogs, who with a saxophonist and charismatic frontman came over as a mix of the Rolling Stones and Hanoi Rocks. Moreover, the way all three bands stumbled on stage during the other bands' sets added to the loose atmosphere.

Both headliners played an hour and ten minutes, with the Quireboys going on first having closed the show the night before. Despite innumerable line-up changes over the years, they are still led by the laddish charm, trademark bandana and husky voice of Spike, and instantly got the crowd going with their best-known hit 7 O'clock.

With the exception of Tramps and Thieves from their overlooked second album, their set focused around the familiar classics from their debut A little Bit of What You Fancy and their new Homewreckers and Heartbreakers release.

Many of the new songs were surprisingly impressive and seemed the freshest things they had done in a while, including I love This Dirty Town, Late night Saturday Call and especially the laid-back but catchy Mona Lisa Smiled, with an air of early 70's Rod Stewart to it.

The set built to a crescendo with There She Goes Again with Diamond Dogs' saxophonist guesting, Hey You (their biggest chart hit yet one I'd almost forgotten) with Guy Griffin shining on slide guitar despite his worrying likeness to Russell Brand, and I don't Love You Anymore which got the full power chorded big ballad treatment.

As usual, Sex Party closed their set, but with a difference, as sundry other band members hit the stage and Paul Guerin and Dan Baird's guitarist Warner Hodges went on a guitar jam worthy of Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Outlaws.

Truth be told, I had been more looking forward to seeing Dan Baird, who got off to a flying start with solo songs Julie and Lucky and I Love you Period. Hodges, the ex Jason and the Scorchers guitarist, gave his band a fiercer edge than normal and fellow ex Satellite Mauro Magellan was superb on drums.

However, other than a rattling Railroad Steel old Satellites songs were thinner on the ground than on previous tours, while a number of the new numbers outstayed their welcome in the manner of some of Neil Young's lengthy rocking out epics. However Finish What you Started returned the familiar Dan Baird groove, and closing with the irresistible pair of Keep Your Hands to Yourself and Battleship Chains with a now very husky Spike duetting sent everyone home happy.

All in all a night that embodied the spirit of rock'n'roll at its best, with the Quireboys taking the honours on points.

Review by Andy Nathan

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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