Ginger Wildheart Band, Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors, Massive Wagons and The Main Grains
Brudenell Social Club Leeds and the Deaf Institute Manchester
July 14th & 18th, 2016
It's funny how things work out and how social media can lead to unexpected opportunities and new friendships.
What started as an internet bromance between Ryan Hamilton and Ginger Wildheart has become one of the best and most enjoyable tours of the year.
Originally the tour was eight dates and had support from the Massive Wagons, but due to popular demand they added a further four dates, three of which filled in the gaps of the current tour schedule and also added supports from The Main Grains for the extra shows, plus the addition of a grand finale at the Brooklyn Bowl in London with the support coming from one of Gingers other bands, Hey! Hello!.
I had the pleasure of joining these guys on two of the dates of their tour last week, first one being the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds and the second one at one of my favourite venues, the Deaf Institute in Manchester.
I would have loved to have attended the London show as I remember really enjoying Hey! Hello when they supported the Widhearts back in 2014, but work commitments wouldn't allow me to.
The first set of the tour was from the Main Grains. The Main grains consist of original Wildhearts bassist Danny McCormack, John JJ Watt (Spill 16 and Whiskey Haze), Ben Marsden (Modern Day Dukes) and Ginna Rhodes (Psychobabylon). These guys describe themselves as punk and roll.... and that is exactly what you got!
The Main Grains started the show as it was supposed to by launching right into upbeat songs from the very first note. Although their set was mainly original material you could bounce along to all of them even if you were not familiar with their work. Their set was really enjoyable and their cheeky cover of The Undertones 'Teenage Kicks' had everyone singing along.
I would not hesitate to go see them again.
The other support band for the tour were the Massive wagons, made up of Baz Mills on vocals, Adam Thistlewaite, Carl 'Flash' Cochrane, Bowz Bouskill and Alex Thistlewaite. Massive Wagons hail from Carnforth and describe themselves as hard rock. They don't lie! The Massive Wagons was a set of all original material , but whether you knew the songs or not you couldn't help but nod along.
They have a real enthusiasm and look as though they really enjoy what they are doing. They also make their presence felt as although they were on a stage the size of a postage stamp, they gave a really high powered and energetic performance that got the crowd really revved up. I will be keeping an eye out for their shows in the future and will definitely be recommending them to anyone who likes their rock on the heavier side.
The tour's main support came in the form of Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors, who although individually have been on the music scene for years, are a relatively new incarnation. As their title suggest they are headed by Ryan Hamilton (Smile Smile/People on Vacation) and he is accompanied by Michael Richards (Enuff Z'enuff/ Dollyrots/ People On Vacation) , Rob Lane (Teenage Casket Company/ People On Vacation/ Let Loose) and Nat Webb.
To hear them play it is hard to believe that they live on opposite sides of the world and get few chances to rehearse together as they just fit together. They are totally in sync and at ease with each other and it shows.
Although their music is a little fluffier than your average Wildhearts fan is used to, these guys were really well received and won themselves some new fans.
Each night they played a jam packed set with songs such as 'Medicine', 'Be Kind Rewind', ' 4 Letter Verb', ' Oh My God' and the songs that Ryan's fans seem to have adopted as their anthem, 'Freak Flag'.
We also got a glimpse of one of the songs from the album that they will be recording later in the year; 'We never should have moved to LA'. If this song is anything to go by the new album will be a must hear.
At the Leeds show Ryan also included a rendition of 'Cheaters Never Change ' by his former band Smile Smile, however at the Manchester show this was replaced by a cover of REO Speedwagon's 'Take It On The Run', where the guys were joined by Ginger.
The guys gave their set 100% every night and the friendship between them shone through in their performance. I honestly could not pick a favourite song from their set as I enjoyed all of them and now can't wait to hear the new material when the album is released.
If you like your rock with a hint of Texan country then these are the guys for you!
Headlining each night was Ginger of the Wildhearts, and his band consisting of Conny Bloom of SilverGinger 5, and Denzel and Toshi from Hey Hello!
Ginger played an amazing set that seemed to be over far too quickly, even though he crammed a massive 12 songs into the main set and three into the encore. During the set Ginger made sure that all fans were catered for by not only playing songs from his solo material such as 'Mother City', 'No One Smiled At Me Today' and my favourite 'Only A Problem', but he also included songs such as 'Anyway But Maybe', 'I Wanna Be New' and 'Sonic Shake' by SilverGinger 5.
Wildhearts fans were not disappointed either as he included 'Mozel Tov Cocktail' and 'Top Of The World' in the main set.
Wildhearts fans got a double whammy as the entire encore was a compilation of Wildhearts songs, however those at the Leeds how got an added bonus as Ginger was joined onstage by Danny McCormack while they played the show out with 'My Baby Is A Head Fuck', ' Suckerpunch' and '29 x The Pain'.
Although the Manchester crowd didn't get Danny they did get treated to a rendition of 'Geordie In Wonderland' as well as 'Suckerpunch' and '29 x The Pain' for their encore.
Ginger had the crowd bouncing so much at the Manchester show that his microphone kept moving away as the floor below it vibrated, and I'm pretty sure the people in the bar below were expecting the crowd from the pit to land in their laps at any given moment
I have seen Ginger perform with the Wildhearts on numerous occasions and I have never been disappointed and tonight was no different.
Being familiar with both Ginger 's and Ryan's work I had to admit that it seemed an unusual pairing at first but it worked and I can honestly say that those two shows were up there on my list of favourite shows. If you ever get the chance to see either of these guys live I would urge you to go. You won't regret it!