Review: Ginger Wildheart – Stereo, Glasgow

C U Next Tuesday”, with Hamilton emphasising each letter. Hamilton had a great line in stage banter, fondly recalling his last visit to Glasgow where he “vomited outside the Cathouse”, or mentioning his favourite Scottish phrase, that he picked up last time. If “Honking Of Pish” is not a song title on the next album, we’ll be sorely disappointed, dude! His humour is very self­-deprecating, with his high voice being the butt of most of his jokes. It’s a nice touch when he took time out to thank Ginger Wildheart for inviting them out on the tour: “He heard us and said I want them to come out with us and let me tell you that does not happen very often in this day of buy on’s, he is an incredible human being”. The set ended with ‘Freak Flag’, which Hamilton described as a retort to keyboard warriors and online bullies, who he’d “Love to reach through the screen and choke…”. A fantastic set from an artist worthy of your attention. Earlier in the day, Ginger Wildheart took to Twitter to mention that tonight was going to be a hot one, and joked that we’d all turn into milkshakes. It’s two flights of stairs down to the venue, and with no air conditioning, it was sweatier than a priest in a boys school. A full house, packed in for a rock n’ roll show on a Friday night… there’s something poetic about that. Ginger and Co. could have been wearing speedos, and they still would have glistened with sweat, so the heat must have been killing them in their black trousers, boots and, in Ginger’s case, black waistcoat. Jeez, I felt for them up there, and as opening track ‘Take It All Why Don’tcha’ finished, bassist Toshi turns to Ginger and mouthed “Hot!”. Hot indeed, as the most prolific performer in recent British rock history led his band through a 80 minute trip down memory lane, a trip made up of ‘Silver Ginger 5’ tracks as well as solo and Wildhearts classics. The band are incredible. If someone waking from a coma with total amnesia was to ask what rock n’ roll was, then he should be pointed in the direction of The Ginger Wildheart Band. You’ve got Denzel on drums at the back in “the pizza oven”, who batters the living hell out of his kit, the coolest cat ever in bassist Toshi (taking time out from Gingers ‘other’ band Hey Hello), and guitarist Conny Bloom who still looks as hip as he did way back in 1989, when he breezed in on The Electric Boys ‘Funk­O­Metal Carpet Ride’! He still wrings every note out of that battered strat. Ginger Wildheart is, of course, Ginger. If ever there was someone who should be classed a national treasure by the red tops, then it’s Ginger. Someone with the uncanny ability to turn out the best hook-laden rock since the glory days of Cheap Trick. Someone who is still genuinely humbled when punters part with their hard-earned cash to support him in whatever venture he has going. Before introducing ‘Anyway But Maybe’, he joked that since he has been locked away in the studio for 8 months, he has “a few pounds to lose” and tonight should see them falling off, no problem. He also asked for any other “fat bastards with a few pounds to lose” to raise their hands in solidarity. I’ll be damned if I didn’t raise both. He peels off gem after gem, with what looks like effortless ease, and ‘Sonic Shake’ has the crowd roaring,with latest album ‘Year Of The Fan Club’, on sale at the merch stand. He led the band through ‘Do You?’, ’Ostracide’, and the stunning ‘No One Smiled At Me Today’.

As the sweat soaked through the band’s shirts, Ginger was constantly drinking water. At one point he offers a girl in the front row a bottle. She gladly accepts it and, in return, she offers him her knickers. No actual de­robing went on… we’re talking Bridget Jones big knickers, with loads of handwritten messages to Ginger on them. He laughed, and said knickers spent the remainder of the set on his mic stand. He has an affection for his fans and the success of his pledge campaigns and the G.A.S.S. project prove that this is reciprocated. ‘This Is Only A Problem’ was introduced as a song about “having general human being stuff going on and realising that we all have general human being stuff going on and it’s no big deal…”. The song featured a great guitar sound from Bloom, slipping on a bottleneck for added effect, that had Ginger coming over for a better look, before the two start trading licks. The crowd went nuts, of course, for any Wildhearts material, and ‘Top Of The World’ was a great excuse to bounce, but when the band came back on and hammered into ‘Vanilla Radio’, the place erupted.
When Ginger Wildheart took to the mic to ask if anyone was up for a game of “let’s kill the drummer”, it could only mean one thing ,‘Suckerpunch’. With it’s relentless ‘Overkill’ drum sound, Denzel puts in a shift, and he looks absolutely shattered as the song’s end. Even with such a fast song, the vocal harmonies were still spot on. To give Denzel a break, Ginger went into, what else, but “Geordie In Wonderland”, where the crowd took over the vocals. An emotional song for some, and Ginger looked taken aback with the crowd’s reaction. Goose bumps, spine tingling, and hair raising. Rounding off an incredible evening was another Wildhearts beauty ‘29 Times The Pain’, where Ginger namechecks many influences on his career, including The Beatles, Cheap Trick, and The Ramones, amongst many. Power riffs, catchy melodies, and genius lyrics, simple as that really. The band exited the stage to rapturous applause, soaked in sweat. So much so, that Toshi’s spikey barnet had completely flattened. I can’t comment on how much weight us fat bastards lost that night, but Ginger Wildheart did comment, in his tour blog, that everyone all looked skinnier the next day. A night to remember, for so many reasons. The tour continues for a handful of more dates, before ending up at Ramblin’ Man Fair on Saturday 23rd July. A tour not to be missed. Ryan Hamilton/Ginger Wildheart Review: Dave Stott Massive Wagons review and images: Ritchie Birnie

Full Ginger Wildheart,  Ryan Hamilton, and Massive Wagons Flickr album


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