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Ginger Wildheart Band Tour 2016 – Day 11 Ramblin’ Man

RAMBLING’ MAN FESTIVAL, 23rd July – Day 11

Copyright Trudi Knight 2016

Ginger Wildheart Band Photo by Trudi Knight

So here we are, the final date of the Ginger Wildheart Band tour. The show that served as the very reason for doing this tour in the first place.

I wanted to get the band as tight as a cod’s shit portal, and boy has that happened. It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of the month we hadn’t played together as a unit, and now we enjoy an on-stage chemistry that reeks of respect and authenticity. Who’da thunk it?

Well, we did, as it happens. Conny, Toshi and Denzel waltzed into this agreement fully in the knowledge that this tour had only one outcome, and that’s to perform as a devastating rock machine.

Climbing onto the Ramblin’ Man main stage today, as the sun beams down overhead, felt like the goal that we’ve worked to achieve. It felt comfortable and classic, like the old California Jam footage of Aerosmith from 70’s.

A slick musical entity… check.

Baking audience, smiling in alcohol induced joy… check.

One of Dead Daisies staggers off the stage after their performance.

“Man, it’s hot up there”. They tell us.

After the tiny furnace shows we’ve been playing, this is the only show of the tour that has a steady wave of oxygen pumping across the stage. It feels effortless.

Copyright Adrian Hextall 2016

Ginger Wildheart Photo by Adrian Hextall

The show is amazing, with audience sing-a-longs, cheering and general bonhomie. The band click like the engine of a Porsche being fired up, and crank up the energy throughout the set until we’re done, spent, baked, finished and empty.

With every morsel of fight poured onto the stage, we head back to the dressing room area, where I find myself surrounded by friends from through the years. Ricky Warwick and I regale the growing throng with tales of 90’s debauchery. Agents past and present arrive to offer collective congratulations on a great set. And the bus celebrate in victorious glory.

Rambling’ Man offers an astounding vibe much like the smaller festivals I used to attend as a kid. Great service, great food and and genuine love for music that permeates the very core of the event.

I’m left hoping that I get invited to next years Ramblin’ Man, such is the lasting memory of this amazing end-of-tour party.

Thank you to my incredible band for this tour, to Toshi, Conny and Denzel. Men that I hope to play with again.
Special thanks to our awesome crew of Jane, Dunc, Izzy, Oli, Matt and Tim.
And thanks to the bands that have played with us, Massive Wagons, Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors and The Main Grains. And special thanks to our new crew mate, Pam.
And a final thanks to everyone who has attended the shows on this tour.

Tonight we travel with a full bus of musicians and guests, drinking heavily into the night, and I’m fairly sure that tours don’t get better than this one.

Ginger Wildheart Band Tour 2016 – Day 10 London

LONDON, Brooklyn Bowl – 22nd July – Day 10

Copyright Trudi Knight 2016

Hey! Hello! Photo by Trudi Knight

A fully rested tour party arrive at the palatial Brooklyn Bowl, to be greeted by my old buddy Jake Szufnarowski, who runs the venue. His warm smile is accompanied by endless jugs of beer and cider. Hey! Hello! are here to open the show. Sean Hill has turned up to tattoo people. Delicious food is being served. Today couldn’t be less typical and more welcome.

After soundcheck, with good company and a fresh tattoo of the new Hey! Hello! logo (in a very painful part of the ribs) eating up the hours and it’s time for Hey! Hello! take to the stage for the first gig in a few weeks. It is a lovely feeling to be with the band and, with sound gremlins aside, it’s a well greeted and fun set.

Copyright Trudi Knight 2016

Ryan Hamilton and Ginger Photo by Trudi Knight

I get to jump up onstage with Ryan and the boys again, for another run through of ‘Take It On The Run’ by REO Speedwagon. Bittersweet feelings envelop me as I finally realise this will be the final show with Ryan. We have become great friends with him and his wonderful pack, and seeing them all leave later will sting with a familiar parting stab. The best thing about touring is making new friends, the worst is saying goodbye to them at the end.

The headline set welcomes my good friend Micko, from Courtney Love’s band, up onstage for a run through of ‘If You Find Yourself In London Town’, which has just been released today. It’s a passionate rendition that conveys the emotions that everyone is feeling.

Copyright Trudi Knight 2016

Ginger Wildhearrt Band Photo by Trudi Knight

My in-ear gizmo finally shits the bed, so I rip it out of my ear and get to play the final half of the set with the full, onstage bombardment of Marshall mayhem. It’s a great send off as we retire to the comfortable dressing room to say goodbye to friends new and old.

Someone offers me a line of coke. Hey, it’s the last show, why not? What could be more fitting?

The next day I will find out it was, in fact, MDMA, and I will lose hours of time evidently microwaving anything that will fit into the microwave, and generally behaving in an uncontainable and jolly yet distinctly out of character fashion. Of course I remember nothing other than I woke up in my clothes and the bus was full of different people.

As painful goodbye’s go, it was an agony free transition.

Bye Ryan, travel safe and hope to see you soon.

Ginger Wildheart Band Tour 2016 – Day 9 Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE, The Portland Arms – 20th July – Day 9

Copyright Trudi Knight 2016

Ginger Wildheart Band Photo by Trudi Knight

We wake up outside Cambridge Junction, where the bus is parked and hooked up to power. We’re using their toilets and showers. I can’t help but wish we were using their venue, as we wait for over an hour for a taxi to take us to the Portland Arms.

We needn’t have worried about keeping people waiting as the PA guy is over two hours late anyway, and when he finally arrives it’s obvious we’re going to have problems. For the first time on the tour the PA system is a mess of cross wiring that takes an hour to unscramble and rewire. The audience are beginning to file into the outside bar area when we are asked to soundcheck. We opt for a quick line check (playing songs from the set while people wait outside feels a bit lame) and retire to what is without doubt the hottest, most uncomfortable backstage area in the country.

We have traveled the length of Great Britain to find the worst backstage area and have struck gold. The only tiny window opens out to a heating system below, which ensures that the toasty dressing area is fully baked. People are sitting in pools of sweat. It’s not much fun.
The hottest room of the tour, however, is waiting for us downstairs. It is painfully obvious that The Portland Arms is unsuitable for a three band rock bill in a heatwave. A steady flow of sweat drips from my wrist before a note is played. This wasn’t going to be a hot gig. this was going to be an endurance test.

As photographers with zoom-in lenses are jostled about from their two foot vantage point, my concerns are focused on audience welfare. There isn’t a security guard in the building, and this tiny venue begins to look like a threat to public safety. Especially when the fire doors are flung open, which sees even more people squash into the minuscule venue.

An hour of breathing in sweat steam, and with one look at Conny, I can see we are in some kind of trouble. The room begins to spin and it’s all we can do to keep breathing, keep singing, keep playing. There is no side-stage so we plough through the set and into the encores while struggling to keep our heads up and legs from buckling. The audience forms a very uncomfortable mosh pit which forces the front row towards to stage. The sight of people having their shins crushed is all I need to call it quits for the night.

Once back in the mini sauna upstairs I’m greeted to the sight of Ryan being dragged into the room by crew girl Pam. He has passed out downstairs, and with the severe heat exhaustion he is currently in a state of body shock. Pam has to also be taken outside for a breather as the conditions worsen. This is the first time on this tour that she has left her position at the merch table. She is mortified.

When we finally make our way to the bus, conversation obviously points to tomorrow’s show, in the same venue, in the same conditions. The smart money is to protect people’s health, so the decision is made to cancel tomorrow’s show. With the final weekend of gigs on the horizon, risking people’s health and safety would be idiotic.

The Portland Arms is probably a great acoustic venue, but a dangerous and disorganised sweat pit for sold out rock gigs in hot weather. I’m sure that some bands might see this as a punk rock bonus. Until someone is eventually seriously hurt this should not serve as any kind of credential.

Band and crew will get a much deserved day off tomorrow. We will finish this tour in style.

Ginger Wildheart Band Tour 2016 – Day 8 Wolverhampton

WOLVERHAMPTON, Slade Rooms – 19th July – Day 8

Copyright Kris Coverdale 2016

This tour diary entry, being written by Ginger. Photo by Kris Coverdale

Another marathon sleep that kills most of the daylight hours. I hate missing out on a day, but with a run of dates this intense (and not a day off in sight), rest is more important than tourism. Plus, it’s so insanely hot that shopping seems a bit of a chore.

So it’s straight into the Slade rooms backstage area, a familiar sight, what with the annual Halloween Hootenanny being held at this very venue, only today the dressing room seems a very sedate affair in comparison.

Tattooist, Brendan O’Mahoney, sets up shop backstage, for today’s inking sessions. Ryan’s crew angel, Pam, is first under the needle, being as she was stuck with load-in when Ryan and I were tattooed in Newcastle. She goes for a Stormtrooper’s helmet on the forearm, while I opt for the Cheap Trick logo on my calf.

I’m still having ink drilled into my leg as the crew frantically inform me that we are due onstage…then five minutes late…then ten minutes late. Finally Brendan is finished and I gun myself into my stage gear and run straight onstage.

Copyright Toshi 2016

The latest addition to GInger’s tattoo collection. Photo by Toshi

With such a manic start to the show, it is with typical irony that everything seems not to be working. The monitors are off, my amp is half the volume of sound check and Conny’s guitar strap suddenly refuses to cling onto his guitar. No-one is quite sure why the gear has chosen the first song in which to rebel, but by the third song we’ve righted all technical wrongs, got shot of a photographer scuttling around below us and managed to get some house lights switched so we can actually see the audience.

Guess I’ve got so used to really intimate shows that the fairly modest Slade Rooms seems like an arena. But by half-time, normal service has been fully restored and the band slam through the gears until the now traditional heat sends the room spinning in a threat to gravity. With balance maintained the band fight the dizziness and finish in devastating form.
Even Vix Fuzzbox sings a few songs with us, rounding off a very satisfying set.

Showers and cold drinks are a godsend after the show, as Denzel readies himself for his tattoo.
Sadly the Gods of time are against the decision, and Slade Rooms informs us that we will be charged for staying after midnight. Denzel’s tattoo will have to wait for another day.

Copyright Toshi 2016

Denzil’s almost-tattoo. Photo by Toshi

The bus leaves at 3am, so we hang out in the cool street with Ryan and the Traitors, drinking beer and eating pizza.

A classic end to a hectic day. I can’t believe the end of the tour is only three shows away.

Gx

The Ginger Wildheart Band has just one final show to go on this tour, and that is at the Brooklyn Bowl in London on Friday. Tickets are still available at thewildhearts.probitymerch.com/listings:

– Fri 22nd July, London Brooklyn Bowl (support from Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors and Hey! Hello!)

Ginger Wildheart Band Tour 2016 – Day 7 Manchester

MANCHESTER, The Deaf Institute – 18th July – Day 7

Copyright Jack Kirwin -JK Photography- 2016

Manchester Deaf Institute. Photo by Jack Kirwin

While maybe not the hottest gig of the tour (that accolade is unlikely to be beaten by Glasgow), the amazing Manchester Deaf Institute wins hottest dressing room, by an intergalactic mile. Air is more precious than money is the dizzying heat of the backstage area, and people swelter in pure carbon dioxide stickiness.

The venue itself, however, is as cool as Fonzie’s fridge magnet collection, with an amazing array of speakers staring handsomely out from behind the bar and giant air conditioner fans bringing the heat of the main room down to a comfortable level. Apparently these massive air blowers will be turned off for the show, presumably to encourage the punters to buy drinks. Not that my supporters have any problem being parted with their drinking cash. Still, the staff seem intent on grabbing every penny tonight, as they cheerlessly charge me £2:50 for water during soundcheck.

The ice cold beverage is more than happily paid for, and I wish I had such easy access to the bar during the show, which is a scorcher and a half. And a heaving great stonker of a party to boot.

Copyright Jack Kirwin -JK Photography- 2016

A (very) warm reception. Photo by Jack Kirwin

I get up to sing harmonies with Ryan, on REO Speedwagon’s ‘Take It On The Run’, dripping like a leaky tap throughout. Jesus, if this is how hot I’m getting during one song with another band, how dangerous is it gonna get for the 90 minutes of our set?

The heat is a challenge to everyone’s health, but nothing compared to the leaping crowd, which threatens to cause a stage collapse on a few occasions during the set. Yet the heat poses little concern to the cheering mass as the sold out Manchester crowd stay agile for all three bands, and still yell for more when our set is done.

Such an amazing crowd… such an amazing show…such a close shave with actually passing out during the show. Conny and Denzel have similar reactions.
Toshi, on the other hand, is way too cool for such nonsense and goes back to wearing his bike jacket on leaving the stage.

Saying goodbye to Taylor sucks though. He’s been such great company for the last few days of this tour. I’ve no doubt that the touring bug has already started to nibble at his toes, and he’s building plans for the future. Me and his Mum are visibly more saddened by his goodbyes.

Copyright Jack Kirwin -JK Photography- 2016

Conny in action. Photo by Jack Kirwin

Still, it’s an amazing evening, with all three bands on absolute top form. Reinforcing just how much fun this tour has been so far, and how much we’re all gonna miss it once it’s done.

But for now the bands rock on and the good times roll.

Gx

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

– Wed 20th July, Cambridge Portland Arms – SOLD OUT! (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 thewildhearts.probitymerch.com/listings

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.

Gx

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 thewildhearts.probitymerch.com/listings

Ginger Wildheart Band Tour 2016 – Day 5 Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, UnderDog – 16th July – Day 5

Copyright Vicky Peck 2016

The Ginger Wildheart Band in Aberdeen. Photo by Vicky Peck

Saturday night in Aberdeen, and we are abuzz with possibilities.

Will no one turn up, after such a packed Glasgow last night? Will the heat of the venue finally finish us off?

We needn’t have worried about either, as the Underdog will be packed full of partying warriors and the temperature will maintain a comfortable ambience all evening.

The daytime sees a comedy sketch of confusion as local traffic wardens threaten to issue us a parking ticket if we don’t move from the ideal spot we’ve commandeered, right next to the Brewdog restaurant and Underdog venue. The bus will serve as a dressing room tonight, as the venue has no such area. Moving will prove massively unhelpful, so we accept the ticket. Turns out they don’t have a tow-away policy in this street. £30 for the day’s parking seems more than a bargain.

Off for a spot of shopping before hitting the amazing Brewdog restaurant. Brewdog, the now world famous brand of beers and bars originated here in Aberdeen, so it’s no surprise that the Aberdeen branch is pretty special. Pleasantly uncommon music, like Bad Brains for instance, accompanies the best vegetarian meal I imagine I’ll ever eat in my life. The veggie Haggis melt sandwich is itself worth coming back to Aberdeen for. Incredible.

Copyright Vicky Peck 2016

A happy Toshi. Photo by Vicky Peck

As is the gig. Rammed full of people who have already decided that tonight will be a good night, the venue is a joyous scene of bopping punters and loud band. Very loud. Tonight it feels like every instrument is being piped through the bass drum as Denzel’s foot pounds against my head in relentless fashion. It’s an awesome gig, as good as Glasgow if not as hot.

With the absence of a dressing room, we power through the set foregoing the breather between set and encore, until the show is done and we pile back on the bus a dripping collection of happy players.
I dine on dodgy fried food and eventually rest with Taylor in my arms in our bunk. Okay, so it isn’t too PC to be watching the South Park movie, but he’s asleep before anything genuinely adult takes place.

Having your family around is a luxury I won’t be taking for granted, but it’s lovely while it lasts.

Gx

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

– Mon 18th July, Manchester Deaf Institute (support from Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors and Massive Wagons)
– 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 thewildhearts.probitymerch.com/listings

Ginger Wildheart Band Tour 2016 – Day 4 Glasgow

GLASGOW, Stereo – 15th July – Day 4

Copyright Vicky Peck 2016

The Ginger Wildheart Band in Glasgow. Photo by Vicky Peck

Woke up to urgency. We we’re parked in a tiny street and had to reverse into an even tinier street. Luckily our driver, Tim, is a magician who can not only reverse up steep hills but can evidently make our bus smaller to fit into minuscule cobbled streets, built way before the advent of sleeper buses with trailers.

Anyway, the urgency surrounds Glaswegian traffic laws controlling the area that forbid large green tour buses to park until after 6pm. We quickly load the gear in from the trailer. It’s pissing with rain and the Stereo is down a few small, slippy flights of stairs. Remarkably no one is hurt.
We won’t see the bus for a while, which is just as well as the roof has sprung a leak from which the Scottish rain freely drips into the upstairs lounge.

Meanwhile in the very small Stereo venue, which reminds me of the tiny venues in Japan, we set up for the day, drinking very strong cider until the bands slowly and soggily arrive for sound check. Dunno if it’s the effects of the cider, but the venue looks packed with just the personnel of all three bands alone.

Authentic Scottish snacks

The heat escalates until I grab a few people and go out into the refreshing rainfall looking for the only off license nearby, which we quickly find and I grab a bottle of Laphroaig, which I haven’t seen since the tour began. Man cannot live on cider alone, as nice a breakfast drink as it might be.

A pleasant pre gig build up is assured by watching Taylor napping on the bus couch, now drying nicely since the downpour became a heavy drizzle. Then it’s time to head back into the sauna for the hottest show I’ve played in many, many years.

The audience are drenched in sweat, but their spirits cannot be dampened as they greet us with the loudest cheer of the tour so far. What is it about a Glasgow crowd that separates them from even the loudest audiences in the world? Perhaps the sheer determination, despite the pouring rain, to have a purely memorable night is to blame? Still, they seem undeterred by the weather outside, or the extreme heat inside, and go, quite frankly, fucking mental.

If I’ve ever been more exhausted during a gig then I can’t remember it. By the fourth song there is only carbon dioxide to breathe, and the room spins and blurs like a drunken fist fight. At points in the latter half of the set I feel pretty sure I’m going to tumble to the floor, tongue fizzing and lips numbed by heat exhaustion. But we give our everything, and eventually reach the final song, which ends with a massive cheer, all arms in the air in applause.

An exhausted Denzel

Glasgow, this was the hottest, most draining show I think I’ve ever played – and the love in the room kept everyone going right until the end. The power of music is a mysterious force that eludes the keenest of inquisitive minds. We got each other through this show, through the pulverising heat, like we get each other through life.

And we all looked skinnier the next day.

Gx

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

– Mon 18th July, Manchester Deaf Institute (support from Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors and Massive Wagons)
– 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 thewildhearts.probitymerch.com/listings

Ginger Wildheart Band Tour 2016 – Day 2 Leicester & Day 3 Leeds

LEICESTER, Musician – 13th July – Day 2
LEEDS, Brudenell Social Club – 14th July – Day 3

Copyright Lynsey Markinson 2016

Ginger & Danny backstage in Leeds
Photo by Lynsey Markinson

With first day gremlins out of the way, the second show, in Leicester, went ahead without even the slightest a hint of a hitch. Guitars maintained their tuning, ear-pieces stayed firmly in place and the audience, once again, proved to be the most warm and well voiced bunch that a chap could ever hope for. The Musician is rammed and I finally get to see Massive Wagons and Ryan Hamilton doing their thing, and receiving a heroes welcome in the bargain. It’s warming stuff indeed.

The Musician is an amazing venue, once again sporting numerous paintings with musical luminaries sharing wall space. Lemmy is hanging out with Richard Thompson in one area, while John Peel and David Bowie enjoy a spot elsewhere. After the brisk removal from yesterday’s venue, we opt for a swift exit once the show is done, vacating through the cheering crowd and into the comfort of the bus.
I’m drained and fairly winded after a 90 minute set in similar conditions to a pizza oven, and decide to lay in my bunk until the bus fills with people. I won’t wake up until 3pm the next day. Holy shit. Guess I needed the sleep, huh?

Ryan and his band are sharing the bus from this point in. I didn’t even see them to greet the first night of their stay, so it’s a welcome relief to have them sharing the dressing room the next day in Leeds.

And what a show this turned out to be. Complete with backstage tattooing by the lovely Chris Jenko, who tattooed my Dolly Parton tattoo a while ago. It is fitting that his next work should be directly below Dolly’s signature, and depicts a scene of Newcastle Bridge and the Tyne below, in Chris’s distinct artistic style. It’s only fitting that I tattoo him in return, whereupon I give him the quickest tattoo he’s ever seen or had done. He is visibly relieved.

Copyright Chris Jenko 2016

Ginger’s new tattoo

Copyright Chris Jenko 2016

Chris’s new tattoo!

The Main Grains are opening the bill tonight, and it’s a joy to hang out with Danny again, having briefly made our peace at Camden Rocks earlier in the year.

My little boy, Taylor, is here too, and will be staying on the bus for the next few days. What a circus for an 8 year old boy to hitch a ride with. I’m getting a contact buzz just living vicariously through him, as he helps all three bands sell swag at the merchandesk (a word I made up onstage in Leicester, completely by accident). He also makes a small mint by employing a swear-jar scheme around The Main Grains, who – credit to them – pay him a pound for ever swear word he hears them say. He’d have made less money charging the bands a pound for every note they play.

Getting to watch the bands from backstage in the legendary Brudenell (Chris Catalyst’s favourite venue in the world, and with good reason) is a pleasure. The Main Grains play to a rapturous reception by the packed out venue, while Ryan Hamilton enjoys mass sing-a-longs from the crowd.

It’s my first time ever playing this amazing venue, and I hope to come back many times to come. A great onstage sound, and a very animated crowd see us playing a very comfortable set. We seem to have found our swagger three shows in, and are playing like a band who have been playing for decades, not just three shows!

Gx

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

– Mon 18th July, Manchester Deaf Institute (support from Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors and Massive Wagons)
– 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 thewildhearts.probitymerch.com/listings

Ginger Wildheart Band Tour 2016 – Day 1 Bristol

BRISTOL, Exchange – Tues 12th July – Day 1

Copyright Danny Biggane

Ginger Wildheart Band – Photo by Danny Biggane

First date of the headline tour. Well, we’ve been on the bus all weekend with two Hey! Hello! festival gigs done and dusted, but this is the big drag, so I thought I’d start keeping a diary.

I always regret ever starting these things, but I’ve heard that people like reading them, so it seems fitting to keep a log of all happenings on this tour. And in the best tradition of first show gremlins there was plenty happening at Bristol.

I’d been anticipating this one, seeing as someone apparently painted over an original Banksy last week. I love Bristol, but this would be the first time in a long while I haven’t made a traditional pilgrimage to see the two Banksy pieces round the corner to Bristol Academy.

With a dressing room about 5 times the size of the Academy, the Exchange is a very cool little venue that suits the ambitions of this tour perfectly. A little set up that packs a big punch, the walls of the Exchange carry gorgeous artwork that greets you on arrival. Pity they seemed so keen to kick us out after the show, cleaning the dressing room around Conny and I as we sat still dripping from the show and asking if we were ready to leave. Great venue, then, but not such a great welcome. Made me long for the days when aftershow celebrations, in places like Dudley JBs, were legendary affairs that often overshadowed the show itself.
Hey, it’s the first show in so maybe the receptions will get a little more genial as we go?

First show glitches plagued the set, naturally, as the in-ear gizmo I’m using insisted on jumping out of my ear under the extreme humidity of the stage. I mean, I’m admittedly a sweaty bastard when I play, but surely these headphone contraptions are designed for that? Whatever the reason, this rubbery little fucker hung like a limp penis unable to fully penetrate my ear-hole. I will persevere with it though. The times it has worked properly has made singing an absolute pleasure. I will make this stubborn little squid my bitch.

Then there’s the guitars. I’ve been using these two brand new BC Rich guitars all week without any trouble. Tonight, in front of a packed venue, the pick ups decided to unscrew themselves and stick to the strings, rendering any attempt at a guitar solo a clipped apology of barely audible notes. The next day Dunc will tear them apart, gaffer down the supernaturally unscrewed loose parts, and get these things in a playable condition for the next day’s gig. I guess humidity really does fuck with things in a way that no amount of rehearsals can prepare for. But we will not be thwarted. These guitars will be transformed into cyber guerrilla bastards ready for decibel destruction and heat assault. Just watch us. You will not beat us, BC Rich.

Copyright Ellie Inman 2016

Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors – Photo by Ellie Inman

Great to meet Ryan Hamilton, finally. We’ve become web buddies so meeting in the flesh was a good way of making our bromance slightly less creepy. His band are lovely too. As are Massive Wagons. Brilliant bands to be touring with, and I’m sure lifelong friendships will be cemented by this tour.

And the crowd. Fuck. I’ve spent the last 8 months in recording studios, and I clear forgot how this music thing unites the players and the audience. I’ve missed this in ways that I was utterly unaware of. I want to walk round the room thanking everyone until I lose my voice. Which wouldn’t be a good idea, mostly for the audiences to come who would like me to arrive at their town with a voice in tow.
So I’ll thank everyone in silent gratitude, while I’m pummelling their eardrums with music. Thank you for buying tickets to come see the shows on this tour. I wanted to take a big rock show into little venues. That’s where the concept came from, and that’s how pretty much all my activity begins. I get an idea and I try to act on it. And the audience are the beautiful bastards that make this happen. We’ll play our arses off on this tour, because they people there deserve nothing less.

Which brings me finally onto the band and crew. Our moveable team of miscreants, all trundling from one town to the next in our mobile hotel the HMS Wildheart.

Conny, Toshi and Denzel smashed it last night, and for first night performances this was on another league. It’s hard to believe that this band have never played live together, the onstage chemistry is so genuine. And our crew work tirelessly to make this happen every night. Fucking Gods to a man.

I’ll go now, before I turn this message into metaphorical papier-mâché.

Hey Ho Iko
Gx

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

– Mon 18th July, Manchester Deaf Institute (support from Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors and Massive Wagons)
– 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 thewildhearts.probitymerch.com/listings