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Friday, 6 May 2011

Ginger/Jackdaw4 - Apollo 23 - 4/5/11 (Glasgow)

Round two..ding ding....seconds out.
After the record store session earlier in the day I was primed for this, but before Ginger was to take to the stage the crowd had a stripped down Jackdaw4 to contend with.
As first introductions go it was a pleasurable one.
I'm of an age that I can say with hand on heart honesty that I liked The Grip – yeah, fuck you and your sniggering - and I was happy to jump aboard the Honeycrack train to.
So I was open to giving anything that Willie Dowling is involved in a sporting chance to impress.
Unfortunately I don't think that Gingers, mainly Wildhearts, fans were that interested in anyone else appearing on the bill.
Are they ever?
So it often felt like the band were having a bit of an uphill struggle to get the music across.
While Ginger apparently has wide musical tastes, and is fearless in promoting his friends (and others) material the response isn't as enthusiastically received as maybe it could or should be.
Ginger must sometimes think that the old saying that you can take a horse to water, but can't make it drink is equally applicable to the music scene.
As for Jackdaw4 they sound a bit like Jellyfish in parts.
That's maybe the first comparison that people would jump to, but Jellyfish themselves were the product of their influences and instead of Jackdaw4 emulating them it is probably more than likely that both bands just dip into the same pool when looking for inspiration. It's a deep and varied pool to.
There's some music hall aspects filtered through a seventies Bowie to be heard
The there's a Sparks and Queen influence that slips and slides about under the surface without it coming to the fore and taking over before ending with a falsetto freak out.
The Beatles loom large to an extent to.
Like them or loathe them there's no getting away from the influence they have had on music here in the UK.
The lack of apparent appreciation from the crowd isn't something that I would think has much to do with the quality of what they are watching and listening to, but its more rooted in Jackdaw4 not being rock and roll enough for them.
That would be rock and roll spelt with a capital R, and … oh what the hell.
It's Rawk and Roll they want and Jackdaw4 are too multi layered, even when stripped back to guitar and keyboards, to give them a fix of it.
Personally it's not something that bothers me.
You need some smooth to go with the rough and Jackdaw4 are a welcome antidote to the heads down pedal to metal attitudes that some rock and even punk rock fans subscribe to .
I'll most assuredly be putting on my deerstalker, as opposed to the bowler I was wearing on the night, and will be investigating further. Others with an open mind are free to join me.
(I've just checked and there's the offer of some free tracks to download on their website)
Prior to Ginger appearing Jase Edwards and Jon Poole take stage left and right and as an intro pick a tune out and intersperse it with sound effects. It's equally strange and funny, although I doubt anyone could say why.
Ginger himself is treated like a homecoming hero when he does appear.
The crowd roar like their favourite team has just put one in the back of the net as soon as he steps foot on the stage.
The stage itself is set up like someone front room and the band perform in front of mundane, albeit surreal, kitchen sink vignettes of someone having their cornflakes, some front room sweeping and a kangaroo doing the ironing.
It reminded me of kids television show with a fucked up soundtrack.
It's not a distraction, but instead adds to the shows manic and strange appeal.
What Ginger appears to have created is the gig equivalent of an 'in joke' but an exclusive one where everybody can get into it.
Meanwhile once the gig gets started with Ginger wading into Geordie in Wonderland and from there on it he has the crowd in the palm of his hand.
The acoustic take on his own songs, and the more familiar Wildheart tunes, works well.
There's no doubt that for some people Ginger could play his back catalogue by farting through a Peruvian nose whistle and they would still applaud his efforts, but his acoustic shows are no mere vanity exercises designed to bring in a couple of extra quid, but instead well crafted and thought out gigs that allow the fans to get an insight into how their much loved songs formed.
You get the impression that this is how they would have sounded when they existed prior to being layered with further instruments and then moulded more firmly for the studio.
However the best parts of the show for me was when they wandered off to play little bits and pieces of other tracks, or incorporated them into the songs they were already doing.
That wrong footed aspect keeps everyone alert and is very well received whether it be the theme from Cheers, a Replacements song or even XTC.
This was the first time that I had been to see Ginger perform a whole acoustic show and to say that I was impressed would be an understatement.
The only time that I felt that the party atmosphere dipped was when Ginger led the band into a rendition of Superpowered Superfly, a song he wrote for the Michael Monroe album.
I'm not sure why it wasn't met with any real enthusiasm, but maybe rather telling is that behind me I heard a guy asking his mate what the fuck it was.
It wasn't the first time that this guy had muttered the question, or the last, so it could be fair to assume that unless it's a song from Gingers Wildhearts days or a cover of a famous and much loved tune then anything that was too recent wasn't going to go over to well.
That's a great shame as it's a fantastic song, just as every other one that he either wrote or co-wrote for Sensory Overdrive is.
Maybe some of the fans could do themselves a favour and update their record collections a bit. They might even enjoy the show just that little bit more than they did if they were willing to step into the here and now.
I've got to give full kudos to the band though. They are as tight as a ducks proverbial and I got the impression that they could have tackled pretty much anything musically if given half an hour to prepare.
Jase Edwards and Jon Poole are excellent foils for Ginger and in the second half when Willie Dowling joins them it could be viewed as the icing on the cake.
I'm only five months into the year and already I've managed to tuck a few extraordinary gigs in under my belt and this has been another of them.
In fact Ginger has been pivotal in three including this.
So hopefully Ginger keeps his promise to return around x-mas.
If he does I think I may just manage to squeeze myself down the front again.
Here's Superpowered Superfly for all those people who didn't get it the first time around.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely not missing him next time.