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It was nice to attend the party which Ginger reminds us could be the last gig for a very long time

London: 229 The Venue – 17th December 2021

Unfortunately due to tube strike delays I missed the first acoustic act Nick Parker, who I understand was very good. (Lynne Jackaman did not appear as advertised; not sure why). Accordingly, the evening began for me with Rich Ragany And The Digressions and his chirpy New York style, reminding the audience that we don't know what's going to happen so we need to focus on this evening and enjoy it while we can. The style is a combination of the Dog's D'amour/Rock N Roll/Metal. I particularly enjoyed the Rocking vocals from Seven Days and Doesn't Die singer Kit Swing at the start of one of the songs that reminded me a bit of a harder Amorettes. And they even performed their own original Christmas song about missing family.

Ginger Wildheart has become part of a new band which are apparently now "an item" sprouting out of his solo dates, who he introduced as Neil Ivison (on vocals and guitar sharing those roles with Ginger), Nick Lyndon on bass and Shane Dixon on drums. They have apparently written and recorded two albums, neither of which have been released due to the Pandemic and tried out new songs such as 'That Smile' and 'Footprints In The Sand' on the audience which went down well, considering they have never been heard before. They also do a cover of 'Six Years Gone', announcing that they agreed they want to sound like the Georgia Satellites. They were slightly Southern Rock at times such as in their version of 'Dirty Water' by Status Quo, with a muted Wildheart influence and a touch of Folk with everyone singing and plenty of harmonies.

Ginger thanked the audience for coming out and supporting live music even at the time of the Plague. Indeed the tickets have obviously been sold with an eye to social distancing as the numbers are not the packed to the gunnels approach of previous parties, and people's Covid passports are checked at the door. Nevertheless Ginger appears to be in a good place, singing songs about gratitude and sounding a little more like The Faces at times than he normally does. Other subjects for songs are "meeting the wrong person at the right time" ('Not The Staying Kind') and getting drunk and staying out when you shouldn't, called something about mortal shame.

There is a comedy moment when Dixon disappears for a few minutes with Ginger shouting "Is there a drummer in the house? It's the first time that has happened." But the vaguely Spinal Tap moment passes as the missing sticks man reappears, although we never really find what he was doing (but he does appear to deny he was answering a call of nature).

Following a cover of Wilco's 'I Got You' they take a short break before returning to the stage, whereupon the crowd unprompted insist on singing 'Happy Birthday' to the main man. They are joined by Kit Swing for 'Honour' and then do a few Wildhearts songs, 'Only Love' and 'Loveshit', which are heartily enjoyed by the crowd.

It was unusual to see Ginger performing a lot of material with which I was unfamiliar. I think I need to get used to the songs before passing any kind of verdict. Overall it was less heavier than even the commercial side of the Wildhearts and I am kind of a big riff, screaming vocals kind of a girl. Nevertheless it was nice to attend the party which Ginger reminds us could be the last gig for a very long time. I wonder how many more albums they will rack up if we do go into lockdown? Apparently Ginger is so prolific he can write and album in a weekend. Provided The Wildhearts continue, it's great to see him productively writing new songs and starting a new project. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Dawn Osborne

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