Boys – and girl – just wanna have fun (and Andy shoehorns references to Stoke City and Billie Piper in his review…..)

Whether the name Ricardo Fuller means anything to anyone but the fans of Stoke City Football Club, MV isn’t too sure. But between 2006 and 2012 he took on something of a god-like status among the supporters of the Potteries team.

Now 39, the Jamaican international still lives in the area and has recently taken up playing for a Sunday league team with his former strike partner.

There has always been something about such stories that struck MV as lovely. Someone who does something for the love of it cannot be criticised.

Step forward Down N Outz. Their story goes back to almost a decade ago when Joe Elliott (he fronts a band you might have heard of?) was asked to do something for the Mott The Hoople reunion shows. What he did was form a band with assorted members of The Quireboys to play covers of Mott, Ian Hunter and bands that were inspired by them.

And why? Well like Billie Piper once said: “because we want to.” And sometimes that’s all you need.

Fast forward to 2017 and Down N Outz have released a couple of albums and now there’s this live effort, recorded in Sheffield (where else?) too – and you know what? It is one of the most fun records you will hear anywhere.

Adding Vixen’s Share Ross on bass, and branching out from the original Mott The Hoople related stuff to other glorious 70s things too, this starts with Elton John’s “Funeral for A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” (and anything that starts with that simply has to be fantastic!), “One More Chance To Run” by the British Lions is gleeful, “Rock N Roll Queen” from Mott The Hoople is proof that Ian Hunter is a genius, and “Drivin’ Sister” likewise.

Whilst MV has precisely no time for tribute bands with their jokey names, and their photocopies of wonderful songs, Down N Outz aren’t that at all. Firstly, they are brilliant musicians, second the songs they pick are a little different from the norm. “Whizz Kid” for example, is not “All The Young Dudes” or “All The Way From Memphis” instead, these are genuine fans paying homage, and adding their own stamp to things.

“Storm” is a real treat. Sounding like The Quireboys at their absolute best, and another Mott  number “Shouting And Pointing” indicates it might be time to re-investigate their albums.

And so it goes. “Sea Diver” is a heartfelt thing, “The Journey” is a vehicle for Keith Weir’s wonderful keyboards, “Who Do You Love?” is riotous and Stonesy, and “Crash Street Kidds” is as glammed up as you like, as the ever-reliable Phil Martini plays a blinder on the kit.

“Violence” adds some violin but still sounds like it wants to smash your face in, “England Rocks” is instinctively cool, and the last song – Jimmy Barnes’ “Good Times” hits the nail on the head. “We’re gonna have a good time tonight/rock n roll music gonna play all night.”

And to the Down N Outz it is that simple.

When some of the finest rock musicians there is play for fun and thanks (mainly) to Ian Hunter the songs are as good as these, then the results need to be as ebullient as this. They’re Not The Hoople (if you will) but these Down N Outz are on top of the world.

Rating 8/10

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