Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors/Fort Hope – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club – 19 August 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Ben Hughes   
Saturday, 26 August 2017 04:30

And it came to pass that a new face rode into town with a racing green Gretsch strapped to his back, a wide-brimmed hat shadowing his features and a heavy heart on his shoulders. His band, The Traitors, backing his every move and his every groove. Yep, Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors return to Leeds to play some of the best power pop music you are likely to hear, in one of the best music venues you are likely to visit.


Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors

First up tonight though is Fort Hope. A bit of an odd support choice this. Fort Hope are one of those post hardcore/alternative sorta bands who sound like Mallory Knox meets 30 Seconds To Mars. With Radio 1 and Kerrang! TV airplay in their favour Fort Hope are maybe ones to rise above the masses, not really my cup of tea to be honest but hell, I’ll give any band a go live.


To be fair they sound great live and have a good energy. It’s the soaring vocals of Jon Gaskin that are the focus of the band and he’s spot on. It’s just, for me on first listen, the songs are generic, nothing stands out and it doesn’t really make me want to check out their back catalogue in a hurry. But that said, fair play, they are young lads on the up and they go down well. An enjoyable warm up for the headliners.




Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors

It’s interesting what a chance meeting with a certain Ginger Wildheart has led to for Ryan Hamilton. It has opened up the door to a new fan base and some new friends and Ryan will be the first to admit it, I’m sure. Tonight, Ginger’s long time tech Dunc is handling tech duties, producer to the stars Dave Draper is at Ryan’s side on guitar and two Wildhearts (guess who?) watch from the back: it’s an extended  family reunion of sorts.


With two albums of killer tunes to choose from, it’s pretty much (should be) hit after hit, chorus after chorus and crowd sing-alongs galore. By the time ‘Records and Needles’ and ‘Medicine’ have finished, the audience is well and truly warmed up. The sound is great, the band are tight and on fire and the set list is to die for.


‘We Never Should Have Moved To LA’ is a highlight, as is ‘Strength In Numbers’.  Yeah, Ryan has all the best songs Silver Sun never wrote. But it’s not just about the songs, as crowd participation, stories and general comedy banter are a big part of a Ryan Hamilton show. He pulls up a fan to play guitar for him on ‘Be Kind Rewind’, then he is heckled into a x rated version of ‘Take It On The Run’ on his acoustic, re-titled ‘Take It Up The Bum’.


The Ryan/audience banter is comedy gold, at one point his attempted piss-take of a guy at the bar buying a beer turns into Ryan inadvertently inventing a new cocktail called ‘The Buttery Nipple’ (you had to be there!), and I’m sure there are many “had to be there” moments at every gig he does.



Also, he is still trying to master the art of UK swear words  and their connotations, still feeling the need to phone his mum and apologise when he uses the word ‘cunt’.


To make the night extra special, Ryan invites his new friend Tony Wright up to play a few songs, to chants of “whales and dolphins” from the audience, cue a bemused Ryan Hamilton. Looking slightly awkward with a telecaster strapped on, the ever-smiling Terrorvision frontman jams through ‘Smarter’ as Ryan takes the mic with just a bottle of red for company. Closer ‘Ode To The Idiots’ may be a hidden track on his latest album ‘Devil’s In The Detail’ but it’s a mighty slice of cow punk that should never be hidden, another set highlight.


Encore sees Ryan and Tony duet on an old countrified ballad they recorded just a few weeks back called ‘Everytime I’m Kissing You’. With Tony on acoustic and leading the vocals and Ryan with the lyric sheet in his hand, it’s an intimate rendition of a sweet song.  Ryan then plays ‘Truth On Tape’ solo, a song from his days in Smile Smile. Before the band return to end the set with the song that Ryan says “started it all”. ‘4 Letter Verb’, perfect harmony filled perfection.


Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors

Ryan Hamilton is a humble Texan dude who, quite frankly, is amazed that anyone even knows his songs, let alone is willing to venture out and pay money to catch a show. The truth of the matter is that Ryan Hamilton’s songs of messy relationships, love, loss and being fucked-up strike a chord with a whole bunch of people and that’s why we are here tonight.


It also happens that Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors are mighty fine live and they really should be packing out the main room next door here tonight instead of a Sisters Of Mercy tribute band.


Ryan said in an interview recently that he wasn’t in it to be famous, but he would like the level of success that his friend Ginger Wildheart currently enjoys. To have a fan base that will buy his music, come to his shows and give him back enough to record, tour and continue doing what he loves. I’d say he’s right on his way to living the dream.


I look forward to many more Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors shows in the future, as tonight was the most enjoyable gig of the year so far.




PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Neil Vary.

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