Gig Review - Ginger, Laika Dog - Leeds Rio's 10/05/09****
(Apologies to Eureka Machines whom we arrived too late for )
Tony Wright has never never played to three men and a dog in the empty function room of a dingy pub in Dewsbury on a wet Tuesday night, at least in terms of attitude he hasn't, for Tony, every gig is a packed Wembley Stadium and he's headlining. He's been this way since bursting on to the Yorkshire rock scene with Spoilt Bratz (later Terrorvision) some two and a bit decades ago. It's not that Wright is up himself in a rock star fashion, it's that tonight, like every gig I have ever seen him play, he gives one hundred percent. You can see that music flows through the man, from the first power chord of the evening he's jerking and twitching and dancing and smiling, smiling, smiling.
Laika Dog are a likable solid rock outfit, and if I remember correctly, they include a plumber, an electrician and a dry stone waller in their ranks, so if you don't like their music, you can always get them to put you an extension up. They play a selection of tracks from their two albums and also give a new track an airing, but as Wright points out "this is a new song, but as most of you havn't heard of us, it's the newest song." Good stuff and some good songs, only marred by the fact that the guitarist has recently been awarded the "Most Miserable Man in Rock" award ahead of Type O Negative, you're in a rock band man ! People have actually paid to see you, at least pretend to be having a good time.
Ginger and his merry crew saunter onto the stage and the Wildhearts front man picks up on the chilled out Sunday night atmosphere in Leeds, "I'm not interrupting any conversations if I play some songs am I ?". Ginger goes on to point out that he feels a lot of love in the room, and he's right. The older rock audience are Wildhearts veterans, we've been following Ginger through his various incarnations for (again) about two decades, I'm sure that a lot of people feel the same about this man as I do, he's given me hundreds of hours of happy listening and a few dozen bouncy, sweaty, frenzied gigs, Ginger says that he's very grateful to us for giving him his dream career, and the people here tonight are equally grateful for the vast amount of excellent songs he has written, and despite his numerous 'difficulties' in sometimes getting albums released/recorded, Ginger has still managed a prodigious output.
Tonight, in between his easy happy banter, Ginger showcases songs from most of his solo career, Ten Flaws Down, Mother City, Drinking In The Daytime, Why Can't You Just Be Normal, his band are happy, smiling, talented, ex Wolfsbane Jase Edwards is a really good guitarist and drummer Denzel really gives his kit some stick. There is some end of song tomfoolery going on between Ginger and Denzel and the band do seem to have an easy going attitude, that's not to say they're not tight though, Ginger says at the end of the show that this is the best group of musicians he has ever played with, and they are a good sounding professional outfit, bit harsh on CJ though.
It's a warm and happy night, Ginger chats away in between songs, when asked if he'll play Mother City for a second time he replies "If you'll give me a hundred quid we'll play it all fucking night" and the poor lad who dares to complain that his band were not offered a support slot is admonished when Ginger points out "Have you considered, it might be because you're crap ?!" but it's all done tongue in cheek, a rambling intro here, a good song there, an encore, a lot of smiles, a satisfied crowd, what more can you ask for.