REVIEW – John Coughlan’s Quo @ Long Street Blues Club, Devizes – Saturday 21st December 2019

Deeper And Down

By Andy Fawthrop

Images by Nick Padmore

 

This one was billed as Long Street Blues Club’s Christmas Bash, and it turned into a rare old party.

Support act for the night was the irrepressible George Wilding. As usual, he was witty and engaging, a bit sweary, but always charming and completely entertaining, finishing his set with the inevitable singalong crowd-pleaser of “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”.

Then two sharp sets from Status Quo’s original drummer’s John Coughlan’s Quo. This four-piece featured the set-up of John on drums, Rick Chase on vocals/ bass, Mick Hughes on vocals/ guitar and Pete Mace on guitar/ vocals. John was a member of Quo from 1962 until 1981, and the set-list mostly featured material from that early “classic” period.

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They’re not a “tribute” band in the normal sense of the word, more interested in keeping alive the spirit of the classic early line-up. But they certainly looked the part – long hair, head-bands, Marshall stacks, and satisfyingly loud, complete with demon drumming and catchy guitar breaks. They kicked off with “Something About You Baby I Like”, and the dance-floor was immediately full. Thereafter we were taken through the early back catalogue from 1972’s “Piledriver”, 1975’s “On The Level” and 1976’s “Blue For You”, including the song they first appeared on BBC’s Top Of The Pops with – “Pictures Of Matchstick Men” – a period when the band were still toying with psychedelia, before settling into their now more familiar rock groove.

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The sound is not complicated, nor sophisticated, but simple and effective and emotive. It does exactly what it says on the tin – good, down-to-earth rocking – and you can’t help dancing and singing along. We had all the early hits – “Paper Plane”, “Caroline”, “Roll Over, Lay Down”, “Without The Rain”, and a rollicking version of The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues”.

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It was going well, and the crowd were having a party. Then John decided to come out from behind the drums to talk to the crowd and to reminisce. Personally I think this was a bit of a mistake, because the band lost impetus quite late in the set. Whilst it was interesting and amusing, it might have fitted better much earlier in the set.

Fortunately the band quickly got back into gear again to finish with John Fogerty’s “Rockin’ All Over The World”, followed by a well-deserved encore of “Down, Down”, nicely seguing into “Johnny Be Goode”. The dance-floor was full and the crowd were happy.

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Another memorable gig.

Future gigs at Long Street Blues Club:

• Saturday 28th December Pink Torpedoes
• Saturday 25th January Kirk Fletcher (Fabulous Thunderbirds)
• Sunday 26th January Billy Bremner’s Rockpiles
• Saturday 7th March Ian Parker Band
• Saturday 4th April Mike Zito Band
• Saturday 18th April Mark Flanagan Band
• Saturday 30th May Antonio Forcione Quartet


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