Live Review: The Red Dogs. The Marquee. 28th March, 1990

Doggone It!

Another night, another band and it's back into the sweaty confines of the Marquee to witness the appearance of those rogueish rock n' roll canines, the Red Dogs.

The first thing that strikes you about our five lads from Geordie land is the bleedin' obvious, i.e. they sound like the Quire… Well, I haven't quite said it yet but give the lads a chance, none of these predictable and odious comparisons, eh!

True enough there's no swinging Honky-Tonk piano. They're obviously more guitar-orientated, a bit pacier and frontman Nicky Ripley sounds a little more rough n' ready than his mate in the Quire… Dammit! There's no denying it. But what of the performance?

It's a little unfair to be too critical because the Red Dogs perform their gravely, good-time rock n' roll in a good humoured and energetic manner. In fact a song like Take You Away, one of the tracks from their Sweet Little Ruby EP sums up the band's let's-have-a-ball philosophy. It's immediately catchy and not surprisingly it goes down a treat with the crowd.

The Red Dogs are in that fine, hedonistic and debauched tradition of bands whose main preoccupations in life are parties and MUCKY WIMMIN. "Any really bad girls here tonight? " rasps Nicky before launching into something titled Lizzi's Gone Bad – I think (providing my memory hasn’t gone bad!!)

Now Nicky's asking us if we’re "in a party mood?" I can't imagine why but for some obscure reason, the repetitive but exuberant chorus, "Sex party, sex party, we're all going to a sex party." by the Quire-something-or-other springs to mind. Tut tut! There I go again.

However the band aren't altogether predictable; towards the end of their set they grind out a real stomper, not dissimilar to the Georgia Satellites, with a smattering of harmonica thrown in. Damned if I can remember the name of the song though!

The title track from the Sweet Little Ruby EP rounded off the night's party. Our lads took leave, no doubt to meet up with their drinking buddies – The Quireboys. Doggone it! I've finally gone and said it!!

Likeable enough guys but it's difficult to envisage them carving out their own successful niche. No more than an adequate stand-in for Spike and Co., there's no room for both of them. Unless they can come up with something different that works, then it's unlikely that they'll be capable of breaking beyond beery and sweaty nights at the Marquee.

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
May, 1990

Photo: Dave Clark
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