By Danielle Partis
Sunday 14th October
Ginger Wildheart + support from Blacklist Saints and The James Warner Prophecies
@ The Well, Leeds
Now, after a number of car faults, it was debatable whether I would actually get to this gig. After a blown fuse leading my friend to have to re-wire his car in order for us to use the Sat Nav to actually find the Well (Which was useless as it took us to the wrong place anyway), we finally found the place, hidden in the mashed up game of snakes and fails that is Leeds city centre. Who should we manage to run straight in to outside the venue, but Ginger’s guitarist and Leeds inhabitant Mr Chris Catalyst, who was helpful enough to tell us where to find the pub. However, I digress.
The first band up tonight was Blacklist Saints, who I had never ever heard of before tonight. They were bloody good! Extremely energetic, raw sounding, filthy rock ‘n’ roll, these guys really know how to pull a crowd and build up anticipation. It’s really obvious how influenced by the The Wildhearts this band are too, just looking at how bassist Ian Savage portrays himself gives it away before they've struck a single chord – he’s a dead ringer for 90's ginger. All this rolled together made them a perfect opener for tonight’s show. One thing I would pick at, is how every song they played kept the same tempo. Which worked! However I’d quite like to hear them mixing it up a bit, as they seem like a promising bunch. I’ll definitely have my eye open for more of their shows.
After a couple more beers, I headed back down to catch the second and penultimate band of the night, The James Warner Prophecies. Now this three-piece caught my attention. Their kooky mix of electric pop/rock, smart arse lyrics and stage banter really gave the gig a more intimate feel, which is exactly what it needed. I particularly enjoyed their track ‘My Left Hand Waves Goodbye’, a song front man Joe explained was aptly titled after his ex wife leaving him. I love how the man turned a bit of a ball ache occurrence in to something hundreds of people can enjoy! The band played a few more tracks, an absolutely medley of wonderment, I'm not entirely sure how their set went from the hard rocky, almost-almost ballad ‘Define’ to us all screaming ‘I'm a Londoner!’ during ‘Fashionably’ and ending on the absolutely psychotic pipe and guitar mess that is ‘The Itch, all I know is that it was diabolical and I love every second of their set. I can’t even put their sound in to words, just look them up. Now.
After James Warner Prophecies has left the stage, the stage area started to fill up as the mega die hard Ginger fans made their way to the stage. As did I. Little did I know I’d positioned myself about 3 feet away from Victoria Liedtke’s lovely face. After waiting a while for a few technical problems to be fixed, Ginger and friends made their way nonchalantly on to the stage, one by one. Denzel, Rich Jones, Chris Catalyst, 'Random' Jon Poole, Victoria, and the man himself. Without a word, they smashed straight in to a track from the Silver Ginger 5 album, ‘Sonic Shake’, which got the entire room, well, sonically shaking. From that, straight in to a personal favourite of mine, ‘You’re the One, You’re the One’ from the 555% album, which of course, sounded phenomenal.
|Random and Victoria|
True to form, Ginger stopped to say hi to us all, introduce the band and have a ramble about what was going on, including informing us all of his man flu. Not only were we in for a treat tonight, we were also in for a bit of an infection. A small price to pay I reckon. After blasting through a lovely jumble of tracks, from various Wildhearts albums and Ginger’s solo stuff, the band did an absolutely stonking (Yeah, stonking) version of the 1994 WH single ‘Suckerpunch’ which I enjoyed thoroughly. I absolutely love the fact that Ginger has thrown a load of other Wildheart’s material in, because I'm probably never going to get to see the original incarnation of the band, thus would never get to see these songs live. This included ‘Mazel Tov Cocktail’ from 2009’s Chutzpah, ‘The Hard Way’ from the self-titled album, and another favourite and relatable favourite of mine, ‘Can’t Do Right for Doing Wrong’ on the shrewdly spelt ‘P.H.U.Q’ album.
What I absolutely love about Ginger, is his ability to be so chilled about everything he does. His feet always have and hopefully always will be rooted firmly on the ground and he’s never ever let the extent of his success get the better of him. He’s one of the most overlooked, yet overworked musicians in the business, and his levels of commitment and the effort he puts in to providing what the fans really want is insatiable. That goes for his live shows too. Despite being blathered in germs, he still gets up and plays everything fantastically, and so do the band backing him. I’d love to know where vocalist Victoria find the energy to belt out her perfectly placed harmonies, continually dodge Random’s rampant bass head being flung around, and still dive around like a lunatic. The entire band gave 110% through every single song, and the crowd reciprocated that completely.
Before opening ‘Inglorious’, Ginger stopped again to express how he would rather play a show, and I quote ‘Riddled with shit’ than cancel. This lead to a nice load of heckles regarding his recent cancellation of a show scheduled in Hull. However, the less said about that one, the better. After that brief moment of solemnity/bullying for mine and Chris Catalyst’s town, the band charged in to ‘Inglorious’, that manic catchy track from the old ’Fishing For Luckies.’ It brought the show to a successful end, and left an opening for the crowd of course to begin chanting ‘Don’t Worry ‘Bout me’, for the inevitable encore. They took a bit too long coming back out again, and instead of playing ‘Just Another Song About Someone’, another track I love from the 555% album, Ginger gave up on trying to remember the damn words and decided to play a song I can’t remember the name of. He’d obviously planned to throw it in there on a whim. That’s what he does. And I don’t think anyone what have him any other way. The final song, ‘I Wanna Go Where the People Go’ brought the set to an astounding close and I think the crowd were fully satisfied too, and began to filter out fairly quickly. Within 15 minutes, half the band were out mingling with the audience, which was great. Again, I love how casual and chilled out the whole line up is, getting to chat to Victoria and Catalyst before heading off on the tedious drive home really topped off the gig. There was however, no sign of Ginger wandering around, though I think that was more to do with the fact he was full of snot and pain, rather than him being unsociable.
All in all, tonight’s show was bloody brilliant. I would recommend all three bands tonight to anyone, even if you've never heard a single thing by any. I first saw Ginger & Friends back in June when I had pretty much no knowledge of any Wildhearts material, and I completely enjoyed it back then, and even more so now. So musically, it wasn't all perfect. He missed a bit here and there. Though in all honesty, who cares? After the success of the triple album, and the continued support of fans that will back and fund him without even hearing a single note, I think he’s done enough to warrant a hell of a lot of respect from rock fans everywhere. Music by the people, for the people. It doesn't need to be played with absolute precision, and it sure as hell doesn't need to be picked at in the same way. Tonight wasn't about that. It was about the unity of hundreds of people here to have a good time and enjoy some amazing music, and share one single thing. Ginger Wildheart. He is the ultimate portrayal of how music should be made and spread, and hopefully his way of doing it will make headway everywhere.
|Left to right: Catalyst, Rich, Ginger, Random, Victoria.|
It's difficult to keep up with the fella, we know. Do your best over at www.gingerwildheart.net