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T-shirt spotting (one of my many concert pastimes) tonight is quite a limited sport; most of the tops on display you’ll see multiples of – the main offenders being Ginger, Wildhearts or Backyard Babies. My night is then enlightened by the somewhat odd looking singer wandering onstage. Donning a shiny jewel ridden dollar sign t-shirt and Elvis style shades, there are good times ahead. Jackdaw4 are the opening act for Ginger’s acoustic extravaganza tonight in Glasgow. Any of you familiar with the UK band Honeycrack will recognise the cheeky chap onstage tonight as ‘Howling’ Willie Dowling. Sat behind a keyboard with only his band mate John Steel armed with an acoustic guitar beside him, they look a little lonely on the stage. Pop-infused jazzy rock comes blasting out from this duo, taking the crowd by surprise and leaving them somewhat silent. A crowd favourite comes in the form of Honeycrack’s ‘Sitting At Home’, which does sound odd in acoustic circumstances. The music emerging from these 2 is amazing and so beyond random. Jackdaw4 really set the tone for the night when they dedicate one of their newest songs, ‘Pornography’, to an awkward looking chap in the audience, producing avid laughter from the crowd. When Willie and John leave the stage, it is to screams and deafening applause. Jackdaw4, after a very silent start, have in fact won the crowd around and left them all smiling.
Wednesday 4th May 2011
Apollo 23 in Glasgow, UK
Reviews by Siobhan Hogarty
Taking to the dimly lit stage are Ginger’s partners in crime, Jase Edwards and ‘Random’ Jon Poole, both clad in odd shapely face paint, squabbling little blabbering noises whilst strumming away on their guitars, a suitable opening. Ginger takes to the stage in Crow-esque make up to a whole host of screams and shouts – it feels like the world is at his feet for the entirety of tonight’s set and the crowd are going to lap up every moment of it. The atmosphere tonight in this rather small venue is truly electric. “Stamp your feet if you’ve got em, if you aint got em, I’m sorry!”, Ginger calls out as a mass of voices erupt whilst ‘Geordie In Wonderland’ opens tonight’s set in absolutely sensational style - the sound quality in this newly opened venue is phenomenal. Ginger stands with a massive smile on his face as he steps back from the mic briefly, though there really is no need for him to spend any time singing tonight – the crowd are doing all the work for him. This is an acoustic gig, but that will not stop the crowd heckling, clapping, laughing and bouncing around all night but, then again, it is Glasgow and this particular frontman means a lot to this city’s rock fans. An impromptu rendition of ‘Caffeine Bomb’ pleases, the band will take requests (“so long as it’s on the setlist!”). The material on display here tonight is mostly from The Wildhearts’ back catalogue, though there are a few gems thrown in the mix: ‘Summer Lovin’ (yes, that one from ‘Grease’), ‘Cheers’ and ‘Making Plans For Nigel’ – an odd mix indeed but it works so very well. A song dedicated to the female orgasm (‘When She Comes’) works absolutely phenomenally in an acoustic setting, especially with Random squealing down the mic at opportune moments. An impromptu cover of The Replacements’ ‘Answering Machine’ goes down a storm and it allows Jase and Random to properly get behind the backing vocals and the harmony sounds fantastic between the trio.

One costume change later and Ginger strides onto the stage wearing a Hawaiian style shirt and shades, clearly overestimating the Scottish weather, even indoors. The band have allowed themselves to not be distracted so far (like many of the crowd have) by their crew members and Jackdaw4 members who have taken to the stage throughout the set – one man eating a bowl of cereal whilst sat on a couch or another chap ironing a shirt whilst wearing a giant kangaroo outfit – truly bonkers. It all gets a bit mellow as the major sing-a-longs of the night come in the form of ‘29x The Pain’ and ‘In Lilly’s Garden’; it’s chilling to hear so many voices in unison as the band watch on, sounding a little quiet compared to the throng echoing out from the people in front of them. Firing through more material like ‘Loveshit’ and ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’, the men onstage turn this crowd into a bouncing dancing mass who are screaming along to every single word and positively going insane with their last burst of energy as this amazing night rolls to an end. Ginger has loyal fans, tonight is a testament to that fact, but nevertheless, he is a true musician and backed by his henchmen Edwards, Dowling and Poole, he will never disappoint live. I don’t think anything can possibly top this gig tonight; it’s so beautiful to watch and that’s something I don’t think I have ever been able to say in regards to a gig. As I leave the venue, it seems I’ve left my voice behind and have gained a permanent grin: this is definitely one to remember.