Well, this reviewer has been to a few concerts over the years whether it’s been a stadium with thousands of people or a pub with just a few fellow gig-goers but I can honestly say I’ve never been in a church for a night of rock’n’roll antics.
When it was announced that one of my favourite artists a certain troubadour by the name of Ginger Wildheart was appearing in St. John’s church in Cardiff not only was I enticed with the thought of a night with his glorious melodies but also would i not go up in flames in such a holy setting, luckily I came out intact and not in ashes.
Ginger was also airing his new solo band the “sinners” so overall I was more excited than a kid on Christmas eve.
Ginger and his band arrived on stage to a packed St. Johns church and launched into the stunning track “The Pendine Incident” and the sound of a full electric band who were on fire with Ginger was spine-tingling. This new band the sinners didn’t sound like they were gelling on the road it sounded like they were seasoned vets having played hundreds of shows, not just one! it was vibrant and there was definitely chemistry and tightness to suggest the band had been playing together for years, “WOW”.
“Toxins And Tea” was up next and this beauty of a “G.A.S.S” track saw Ginger in fine voice and it was great to hear it live in this setting.
Ginger announced the sad news that rock’n’roll legend Dan Baird was retiring from the live circuit and in tribute Ginger and his sinners played a fitting version of Georgia Satellites “Six Years Gone” which to be fair was glorious.
Next up was “Do You” and this track has a deep meaning for this reviewer as the song talks about the serious nature of suicide and as I struggle with depression Ginger’s music has always been such a comfort and guide and has helped me through the hard often dark times. One of the things that is so great about Ginger’s music is that he wraps often dark lyrics in a joyous uplifting melody. so that while it is a serious subject matter it can also be uplifting to you and makes you feel better, (if that makes any sense?) The power of Ginger’s music can be such a great thing.
Moving through his repertoire we reached the Hey Hello earworm of ‘Swimwear’ and by God (excuse the pun) this was stunning with all us gig-goers singing along.
‘The Pessimist’s Companion’ was up next off the roots/country albums and is written about his dog “Maggie”. I truly feel sorry for someone who has never had a furry companion as they are indeed mans best friend. I recently lost my furry best friend “Alfie” and even though I have been feeling down and sad recently the power of music (and particularly Gingers) shines a light through the darkness.
‘(Wye aye) Oh, You’ another gem off ‘The pessimist’s Companion’ album was played and it went down a storm in this live moment atmosphere.
“Petite Mort” saw Givvi Flynn take lead vocal duties on the Yolanda Quartey vocals (who originally sang this track) Obviously I had heard of Givvi but had never had the pleasure of hearing her live and all I can say is “Wow” her voice soared as high as the church ceiling and was amazing in these truly celestial surroundings. simply stunning.
We were treated to the double whammy of ‘The Daylight Hotel’ and ‘Paying It Forward’ off Ginger’s other roots/country album ‘Ghost In The Tanglewood’ and these songs were glorious in the church surroundings.
‘Honour’ another “G.A.S.S.” gem was played next which originally had “Courtney Love” on vocals but yet again “Givvi” stepped up to the plate and smashed it out of the park with her and Ginger’s voice harmonising together beautifully.
Ginger informed us that ‘The Words Are Gonna Have To Wait’ was written about “David Bowie” and this track was a fitting tribute to such a legendary artist and being in a church who’s not to say that the legend wasn’t looking down and tapping his foot accordingly.
‘No One Smiled At Me Today’ is another one of this reviewers favs and to get to hear it in a live setting was truly magical.
Ginger recently released another excellent solo album titled ‘Headzapoppin’ and I was hoping for a track to be played off it and I was not left disappointed as “Zap” was aired and it sounded as great live as it is on record.
Next up who’d have seen the band cover the Quo classic ‘Dirty Water’. I am ashamed to say that I didn’t know this track but I really enjoyed it (my homework will be to delve into the Que catalogue).
‘Caer Urfa’ was better live than on the record may be the surroundings had it elevated. Us Ginger fans know what a genius songwriter and musician he is but what is often overlooked is what a great singer he is and his vocals were epic on this track no doubt helped by the epic acoustics of such a high ceiling.
With that Ginger said thank you but with the crowd wanting more he said he would be back in five minutes much to the crowds and this reviewers relief and exited the stage with St. John’s church clapping and shouting for more.
Upon their return, Ginger and his Sinners played the familiar chords of ‘Geordie in Wonderland’ and bang the crowd were all singing along.
Up next would be the last song of the evening and yes, sadly all great things have to come to an end. the way the evening had panned out it was always going to go out with a bang so, What else was he going to play in a church to bring an end to a mega evening? The glorious ‘Loveshit’ (sorry God) and with that this awesome show comes to an end.
All this reviewer can say is what a memorable night this has been weather being in the stunning surroundings of St.John’s church or hearing a truly on fire band (not Due to being in church) what a magical night this has been and what a setlist we were treated too with Ginger digging deep into his classic catalogue of tunes that we rarely here live.
Please get out and see Ginger Wildheart as whatever problems you’re going through and in these tough trying times we all need some happiness and trust me, going to a Ginger show will leave you with a joker sized grin on your face and a warmth in your heart that money cannot buy. It would be a shame if this wasn’t repeated in the future so with a quick prayer I legged it before I burst into flames. The devil on tonight’s evidence doesn’t have all the best tunes Ginger and the Sinners have them.
Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper