There can’t be many roads in the UK that Ginger Wildheart doesn’t know like the back of his hand. He appears to be constantly on tour either solo, with The Wildhearts or on one of his many side projects. It’s amazing that the man is still standing after all the service station food he must have consumed over the years!
However, no matter how often he hits the road the crowds always turn out in numbers to see him knowing that they are in for a great night. This current tour is taking in smaller venues around the country and tonight’s stop in Glasgow was at Stereo, a basement sweatbox which held around 300 uncomfortably!
Ginger has always been a great believer in bringing along new talent as support on his tours and on this jaunt he was accompanied by one of the UK’s hottest newcomers, Massive Wagons, and Texan rockers Ryan Hamilton and The Traitors.
Massive Wagons have a bigger buzz around them at the moment than a busy apiary. I last saw the guys on the recent Off Yer Rocka Records package tour where they closed a three band bill. They were good that night but suffered a bit from going on last as the crowd was starting to tire. Opening tonight’s show was a different matter altogether.
The hall was almost full by the time the guys took to the stage and judging by the roar they got before striking a chord it looked as though they had a few fans in the house. ‘Tokyo’ kicked off proceedings with frontman Baz Mills bouncing around the front of the stage like a toddler on Red Bull, pulling faces and barking out his vocals in equal measure.
The set was culled from the band’s two albums and their honest hard rock went down a storm with the Stereo crowd. The twin guitar attack of Adam Thistlethwaite and Carl Cochrane never failed to impress and the band threw everything into the performance.
For me the set highlights were ‘Red Dress’ and the newer track ‘Fee, Fi, Fo Fum’ which was, aptly, a giant of a track. By the time the closing bars rang out Massive Wagons had won over the crowd completely and left the stage to a huge cheer, a good job done by a band with a bright future.
Being a basement venue the heat quickly built up and by the time Ryan Hamilton and The Traitors hit the stage it was stifling. Ryan’s rocking Americana was a breath of fresh air though with great melodies and clever lyrics.
I hadn’t been aware of Ryan and co. prior to tonight’s show but there were a number of people down the front who were word perfect suggesting that I have some catching up to do. Apparently Ginger had seen Ryan online and had contacted him directly to ask if the band wanted the support slot as he was so impressed with the music.
Ryan Hamilton is a funny guy and his between song chat endeared him to those who were less familiar with his repertoire. Musically he made me think of several artists including Tom Petty and Louden Wainwright III but with the guitar turned up a notch or two.
Playing songs off his album ‘Hell Of A Day’ mixed with a new track or two from his forthcoming release the band went down a storm. Throw in Ryan trying to learn some choice Glaswegian phrases and it all added up to a very entertaining set. One to catch again at some point.
Ginger Wildheart needed no introduction. He joked as he plugged in that after 9 months in the studio tonight was just what he needed to help shed the extra pounds as by this time it was less Stereo and more sauna! If the crowd were starting to wilt in the heat they didn’t show it and as the guys kicked off with the Silver Ginger 5 song ‘Take It All Why Don’tcha’ the bodies at the front danced along.
‘Anyway But Maybe’ and ‘Sonic Shake’ were up next to raise the temperature further and it wasn’t long before Ginger and co. were bathed in sweat. With Ginger you are always guaranteed a good night and great music and tonight was no exception. Playing as a four piece on this jaunt Ginger was joined on stage by Conny Bloom on guitar, Toshi on bass and Denzel on drums all of whom were top notch.
The set was a mix of Silver Ginger 5, solo and Wildhearts tracks all of which were greeted with equal enthusiasm. By mid set the thermometer had melted and the heat was unbelievable but there was no let up either on stage or in the crowd. The Wildhearts track ‘Mazil Tov Cocktail’ literally exploded and that continued into ‘Top Of The World’.
The set ended with ‘Ostracide’ and in the circumstances no one would have blamed the guys for calling it a day there. However after a quick breather off stage they returned for what for many was the highlight of the night. The disjointed opening of ‘Vanilla Radio’ again sent the crowd into a frenzy and the temperature soaring once again.
Ginger then asked the crowd if they should try and kill drummer Denzel as they kicked into a rapid version of ‘Suckerpunch’. Denzel did survive thankfully and was given a short break during a rousing version of ‘Geordie In Wonderland’ complete with a 300 strong Glasgow choir on backing vocals.
‘29 x The Pain’ rounded off a fantastic night and one of the hottest gigs I have ever attended. Ginger stated later that he had been on the verge of passing out through most of the set due to the heat and lack of oxygen but that the crowd reaction had kept him going, it was that kind of night. Here’s to the next one, hopefully held somewhere with air conditioning!
Review by Dave Wilson
Photos by Johann Wierzbicki
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