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04 September 2004: Ginger - The Rig, Rock City, Nottingham, England, UK

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I don't know why but there always seems to be a decent football match on the telly when I'm meant to be watching a gig at Rock City/The Rig. This occasion was no different, meaning that I missed most of the support act; a girl unknown to me doing an acoustic set of covers from what I did manage to hear. It was alright but the Alanis Morrisette number automatically got my back up a little.

And so on to the main attraction. The Rig was distinctly empty with barely enough people in to have a disco, let alone a gig. The stage set-up didn't help the atmosphere either because only the people at the very front could actually see what was happening, despite the small turnout. Alongside the sight of apparently self-produced live CD's being sold out of a cardboard box, it was a slightly surreal atmosphere as far as I was concerned. My perception could be wrong but I would have thought that the front man of a long-running band who had just supported The Darkness on a huge worldwide tour could have expected something a little grander. Instead, this was reminiscent of a band just starting out.

With Random Jon on bass and Hot Steve also on guitar, Ginger appeared on stage to start the ball rolling. The set consisted of a good mix of old, new, covers and random songs from The Wildhearts/Ginger's back-catalogue. They started with "Shame on You" and followed this with (in no particular order); News of the World, Looking for the One, In Lily's Garden, Inside Out, Re-inventing the Wheel, 29 x the Pain, Girlfriend's Clothes, So Into You, There's Only One Hell, Cheers, Nurse Maximum, Nothing Ever Changes, Two-way Idiot Mirror, and Geordie in Wonderland. Lots of great sing-along songs for everyone to join in with.

In terms of covers, after giving Random Jon an inflatable sheep with which he apparently performed an amusing act - which unfortunately I couldn't see - they played "Unlucky in Love", guest vocals provided by two girls willingly dragged up on stage. I could be wrong but I think this might be a Leo Sayer cover. Yup, Leo Sayer Edit; No, Unlucky In Love, Stop Thinking, Clam Abuse [2003]. They also played "Hocus Pocus" by Focus (a classic) and another number that "...might be The Darkness's next single, but if it isn't it bloody well should be!" Cue lots of melodramatic guitar-action and high-pitched warbling, not unlike "Hocus Pocus" come to think of it. And how could I forget the "Potatoes...." number? I wish I could, actually. Just imagine a few lines more-or-less repeated over and over again like a football chant in an attempt to lodge it in the subconscious part of your brain. The marketing people for King Edward's could have learned a lesson, that's for sure.

There's not a lot else to say, really. The set finished with "Getting It" before the stage was hurriedly cleared to make way for the punters who were drifting in from the main part of the club upstairs. It was an abrupt end to the show, just a shame the band couldn't stay for a proper round of applause and perhaps play an encore.

As always with anything related to The Wildhearts/Ginger, it was a great night and a relief to finally see one of his fabled acoustic gigs. Catch them whenever and wherever - while you still can.

Cheers

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© JimBob, livemusicreview.co.uk

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