Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Frantic Four Ride Again


Growing up in a small mining village in the 70's/80's, most people I knew were listening to so called cool band's like Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Wham and Madonna, not me! I was listening to uncool bands like Rainbow, Whitesnake and Status Quo.

Always favoring their earlier stuff from 'Pictures of matchstick men ' In my Chair & Ice In The Sun ' I'm still a fan of their early work on vinyl and always shock and impress when i drag it out at parties, nobody ever guessing it's Quo.

(Ice in the Sun Video )

Following them through the late 70's/early 80's always getting a hard time from my school mates for my taste. The line up changed, their sound changed, so did this rocking teenager and grew out of love for the band . ( I try to forget they made Margarita time & In the army now )

(Margarita Time live on The Cannon & Ball Show )

Recently I have started recovering old rock vinyl I loved, especially 70's Quo, rediscovering my love for their harder/bluesy sound. 

I've never really been excited by recent reformation's of classic bands like Led Zepp or Stone Roses, Pink Floyd yes i would, maybe The Faces and one other: FRANTIC FOUR; Then one morning it was announced the original line up of Lancaster- Rossi-Parfitt and Coghlan are getting back together for a series of dates playing this very period of their music. Count me in!!


So having dusted off my studded belt and denim waist coat I headed to the O2 Academy. Walking into a packed house full of devotees, some old, some older, some with children by their side's, all anticipating a quality night of Classic Rock.

We start with the original intro by Jackie Lynton from the Quo live album “Is there anybody out there who wants to Rock?” The crowd shout YES!! “ Tonight, Live, we have the number one rock 'n ' roll band in the land , will you welcome the magnificent STATUS QUO...” Yes we will! The band on this tour have tried to recreate the Quo Live album which was recorded at the old Glasgow Apollo ( which is sadly gone ) 

(Original footage from the venue)

Out comes a very frail grey looking Lancaster, firing into the mic for first tune ' Junior's Wailing' the hair's are up on the back of my neck. Followed by 'Backwater' into 'Just take me' So far an exact set from their classic '70's live album. By now I’m a teenager again, striking an air guitar pose, head banging in unison with the rest of the rockers.


                                                              (Recent Glasgow footage )

Rossi takes the mic saying “ What can I say; Alan Lancaster & John Coghlan” to huge appreciative cheers from the crowd. He continues commenting how the audience have always been the nosiest in the world, then introducing the next track saying “Some strange substances were being taken, during the making of this track, that made things go a lot faster” we get ' Is there a better Way'. Still a beefy version from the rocking pensioners. Check out the old footage from the 70's  and realize why they got FRANTIC FOUR nickname 

 Rossi takes the watch with 'In my chair' & 'Blue eyed lady' ( not one of my favorites.)  It's Parfitt's turn, struggling a little bit with the higher note's on 'Little lady' though still a good rendition. Next bluesy 'Most of the time' brilliant! One of the night's highlights for me came from the Black Sabbath sounding hard rock track 'April, spring and Wednesdays' pulled out from the 'Ma Kelly's greasy spoon' album. They follow it up with 'Railroad' where we get a guest harmonica solo from the one and only Bob Young Spine tingling.

 We're then back for the driving 'Oh Baby!' before the crowd favorite 'Forty five hundred times' which gets cut short to just under 6 mins. A shame.. Quickly followed up by the anthem 'Rain' we go full throttle with the rock Stomper ' Big fat mama' Parfitt's vocals really struggling now. Though the guitar work from the Stuck at the hip Parfitt and Rossi is second to none. I think they've been practicing. 

One tune which never made it to the live album was the hit single 'Down Down' tonight they rectify this. A perfect example of their trade mark 12 bar boogie. The crowd going wild.

(Glasgow 2013 Footage )

 They finish with The Doors blues classic; Roadhouse Blues. In a recent interview, Rossi says this is where they discovered their boogie 12 bar shuffle. Apparently Jim Morrison walked out of their gig saying their good, but too loud. Yes they are but all the better for it. The track clocking in at just under 10 mins was a Epic way to end the gig. 

We play the old Encore game and our heroes return launching into 'Don't waste my time' don't worry guys, your not wasting our time, one more tune? They finish with another classic Chuck Berry Cover 'Bye Bye Johnny' At times the guys forget words, struggle with vocal delivery ( in parts )  but hey, They still Rock!!!

We wait anxiously for another encore, they don't return. Weighing in at just 90 mins set, me personally was expecting a bit longer, with so much 70's material to play with 'Roll over lay down' Mystery song and Caroline' being absent, but this wasn't a greatest hit show. The guys prove that they still have what it takes, if only we had more younger bands sounding this good.

I leave with a huge smile on my face, feeling younger, with a sore head and ears but so pleased to have been given this rare opportunity to see the Best rock n Roll band in the land : FRANTIC FOUR.

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