The Breakdowns were first on stage but most of their set was missed due to the appeal of Guinness only being sold downstairs. They sounded pretty good and I’d be happy to give them another listen sometime, I can’t say much more than that.
Eureka Machines, fronted by Chris Catalyst, were an unexpected bonus of the night. Having seen Robochrist – and been quite unmoved by the whole thing – I didn’t expect too much from Eureka Machines, however the music turned out to be very good and Catalyst was a genuinely likeable and engaging presence on stage. Dave on guitar #2 provided steady backing and bounced some banter back and forth with Catalyst. So, not only has Catalyst played with some modern-day gods – a.k.a. The Sisters of Mercy and Ginger – it seems he’s also a top bloke. Git.
Helping Ginger out with musical accompaniment was the aforementioned Chris Catalyst and Scott Wiszszkowskilowski (not his actual surname) from the US of States. They opened up with the great instrumental, The Ninns of Mourning, from Ginger’s recent release, Market Harbour. This album took a few weeks to grow on me, but grow it certainly has. I’ve been listening to (and loving) all things Ginger-related for around 15 years and did think that I’d more-or-less worked the guy out. However, this album was in the OK pile until the metaphorical penny dropped and suddenly it all made sense.
As always, an eclectic mix of tunes was thrown into the setlist melting pot, producing a noxious brew of classics, covers, b-sides and everything else in between. The crowd loved it, the only downer on the night being the annoying bunch of fecks who insisted on shout-talking throughout songs. Ginger took this snub remarkably well: “I don’t care what you lot do, you’ve already paid your money and it’s going towards a new kitchen and swimming pool at my place!” He also said it was the most surreal ‘acoustic’ gig he’d ever done, I think mainly due to the extent and randomness of the crowd-banter.
I couldn’t see fully but it appeared that Catalyst was providing some degree of percussion from a floor-mounted drum pad. Scott appeared to be having the time of his life and he certainly is a very talented player. Even so, Ginger will always naturally draw your eye while on stage because he is Mr Charisma and a great musician too.
Occasionally with solo-Ginger offerings I get the feeling that despite it being good, something’s still missing – and, no, I don’t mean the rest of The Wildhearts. Tonight, another penny seemed to drop very early on and I found myself grinning like a loon throughout – and, no, I hadn’t taken anything either. I think I found that missing piece of the jigsaw in my head. Seeing as I thought the guy was a god before, I’m not sure what status I can bestow upon him now.
Yes, this was a slightly unorthodox gig for sure, but yet another great one in the chronicles of The Man. Here is a guy still belting out some great tunes in a totally relaxed and carefree way. He doesn’t care if the night isn’t a perfectly smooth ride, it’s more important to him where the journey ends up.
Ginger’s Setlist (incomplete but being worked on) (plus some random interludes); The Ninns Of Mourning/Inside Out/I Take It He Didn’t Say Yes/You Poor, Poor Bastard/I’m Trying To Eavesdrop (Spot The Speed Freak)/One Love, One Life, One Girl/It Sounds A Bit Like A Train Station In Here/Water (People Will Shout Anything Now Won’t They)/It’s A Room Full Of Hecklers!/There’s Only One Hell/To Love Somebody/The Drunken Lord Of Everything/Jig/I Just Wanted To Hear How Quiet I Could Get/Ten Flaws Down/You’re All Looking At Me/Mother City/Girls Are Better Than Boys/Silly Endings/Dreaming In A/Skychaser High/Geordie In Wonderland/The Man Who Cheated Death/Loveshit/29 x The Pain/Don’t Worry About Me (Audience)/You Are Really F**king Annoying/Bang!/When She Comes/Crazy Little Thing Called Love.Eureka Machines Selist (plus some random interludes); Hello/Eureka/Red Wine Smile/It’s Absolutely Ace To Be Back In Nottingham/Wichita Lineman/I Love This Venue (Oh God, I Feel Like Shit)/The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train/The Story Of My Life/Excuse Me/You’re Rubbish At Clapping Along/Take On Me.