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Ginger Wildheart Band Tour 2016 – Day 6 Newcastle

NEWCASTLE, Trillians – 17th July – Day 6

Copyright Toshi 2016

Ginger, Danny & Stidi in Newcastle. Photo by Toshi

It was always going to be a special one, my hometown gig and all that, but Newcastle surpassed all expectations. And then some.

The day started with Ryan and I whooshing off to Viking tattoo studio to be inked by Chris and Lee from Crashed Out, who will open up tonight’s bill. Both great guys, great band and great tattoos. It’s a sterling start to any day, and I leave with a new tattoo of the ‘shit ice cream cone’ design from G*A*S*S* (a beautiful bit of artwork by Harry Waine), and Chris does him proud.

With fresh ink and deepening bromance, Ryan and I leave for the venue to be greeted by ever cheerful Main Grains, with Danny on good form seemingly laughing for the entire day.

Copyright Toshi 2016

Ginger’s new tattoo – artwork by Harry Waine, photo by Toshi

With soundcheck in the bag it’s back to the bus where a very drunk Stidi stops by to say hello. It’s great to hang out with Danny and Stidi, being reminded of how far we go back and how much we achieved for three South Shields lads making a name in the smoke. London was a different place back then, and genuinely thrilling in a way that seems absent these days. Right now, Newcastle is a more exciting place to be.

Old friends, new friends and family turn up throughout the day, until all I’m able to do is give a few minutes to people I’d love to spend the evening chatting with. That’s the nature of being in a touring band, there is seldom the time that you’d ideally like to give to people. I can only hope they understand.

The show is amazing, with a stuffed to capacity Trillians lending a rousing response to rival Glasgow itself. There’s nothing quite like an amazing Newcastle show to raise the spirits and make all the years of work totally worthwhile and slightly surreal, especially when the set is largely solo material but still gets the audience singing along like they’ve known the songs forever. But it’s the encore that really sees the audience explode into a joyous frenzy, as Danny and Stidi perform with me for the first time since 2004. It’s beautifully raucous and ramshackle, and all the better for it.
The show finishes with the crowd and band mingled in song as celebrations are carried on to the bus, and through the night.

Copyright @This_Is_Kit 2016

Toshi & Danny. Photo by Toshi

Newcastle, you have been amazing. And I couldn’t have been more proud to be a Geordie. It’s been a very long road from writing songs in my mother’s house to playing to a local audience of familiar faces. Some I recognise from going to gigs as a kid, and now they’re paying to see me.

It’s impossible to fully explain the feeling of accomplishment. Suffice to simply say that every shred of effort was totally worthwhile, and serves as a potent lesson to any young musicians out there that see the road ahead as a desolate and endless trawl. It’s important to remember that no amount of effort is ever wasted.

Success, whatever that means to you, is a result of every hours work you put in throughout the years. Every time you pick yourself up from another defeat is a signal to the future, and a statement that you have the mustard needed to stay strong and determined.

Tonight punk rock won, and the victory tasted like Newcastle Broon.


The Ginger Wildheart Band is still out on tour for the following remaining shows:

– Tue 19th July, Wolverhampton Slade Rooms (support from Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors and Massive Wagons)
– Wed 20th July, Cambridge Portland Arms (support from Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors and Massive Wagons)
– Thu 21st July, Cambridge Portland Arms (support from Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors and The Main Grains)
– Fri 22nd July, London Brooklyn Bowl (support from Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors and Hey! Hello!)

Tickets for all shows are available from

Same Old Newcastle (Day 11)

Family present? Tick.

Friends all lined up to see you stand or fall? Tick.

Audience about to stand in almost respectful silence? Tick.

Funny thing about playing Newcastle is that it still feels like you’re paying your dues.

Songs are met, initially, with a stillness of quiet approval before a loud cheer of authentication as each song ends. It is, at once, both off-putting and comforting. Nowhere is like Newcastle, and that’s just as it should be.

For me Newcastle is my own microcosmic version of the UK, and in this version crime is met with indifference by authorities almost annoyed by its inconvenience. It’s hard to get jail time in Newcastle. My oldest friend, Panda, meets me during the day for a catch up. He looks very normal. It’s only recently that he’s gotten the use of his right eye back after a severe beating from three teenage strangers who jumped him from behind, knocked him unconscious and proceeded to stamp on his head as he lay. Doctors have reconstructed his eye socket and quite a lot of his face, his eyeball has been taken out twice for surgery and right now only his sense of positivity is getting him through the day. It’s a miracle he’s walking. Or even alive.

The criminals were caught and arrested (having beaten someone up on CCTV only minutes before attacking Panda) and let off with two cautions and one easy sentence. He will be out after a year or two with good behaviour.

They’d have had to kill him to get a more fitting punishment.

This is my England.

More and more people I know are being attacked, or telling stories of people attacked, by random thugs born of a society that provides no release of boredom and a government that offers no deterrent.

When the UK issues the ‘three strikes and out’ law (three offences and you’re in jail, buddy) then I’ll bring my family back here to live.

The band played amazingly well. The audience eventually thawed and lost their cool. It was great to see friends and family again. The bus eventually pulled away to the sound of drunken people arguing by the big market. No doubt someone will end up a bloody mess in A&E somewhere and the public will glibly pay for the doctors’ bills with their monthly taxes. Bills that will continue to mount.

If these people are going to cost us money then wouldn’t one taxable expenditure of a jail sentence for repeat violent offenders be a far cheaper and much safer option?

Don’t we get a say?