Ginger & Friends/Wolfsbane - Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall - 22nd December 2010 Print E-mail
Written by Gaz E   
Thursday, 30 December 2010 05:00



"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas." Once sung by children and parents alike, until the reality bit and the children realized that a white Xmas meant less presents and the parents realized that the excuse for their children having less presents - Santa got stuck up a chimney when, in reality, their gifts were stuck in the Amazon warehouse in Fife - was quickly running out of credence.


But what does this have to do with your average, everyday, gig-hungry Über Röcker? Well, it's Christmas week and a cold, white bastard has enveloped our rock 'n' roll world and is threatening to deny us our now annual yuletide rock show in the company of Ginger.


It's touch and go, with our chances of attending flickering between red light and green light with every hour and every bout of wintry shower. Just an hour before we are due to leave, we decide to chance it because, as a man with filed teeth once told us, you can't stop rock 'n' roll...


105 miles later we arrive in Wolverhampton, early. The journey offered zero problems for us but not, unfortunately, for the night's special guest who was due to open the show. Yes, Quireboy Spike's caravan is stuck in a snowdrift somewhere and word has it that he has had to retire to the innards of the horse from the cover of 'Halfpenny Dancer' in order to make it through the night, tauntaun style. Any disappointment at the news of Spike's no-show quickly subsides as Ginger, Wolfsbane's Jase Edwards and roadie Hot Steve belt out (acoustically...on electric guitars!) a version of 'Loveshit' so awesome that it is worth the admission price alone. Surrounding this classic tune with 'Inside Out', from Silver Ginger 5's 'Black Leather Mojo', 'One Love, One Life, One Girl', from 'The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed', and 'This Is Only A Problem', from 'Valor Del Corazon', ain't too shabby either. Closing in fine style with the ready-made singalong named 'Geordie In Wonderland', this opening set ironed out a potential early problem with ease.


Lord knows what Blaze Bayley calls his day job these days, but I'm betting that his favourite hobby has just taken to the stage in front of me. The Wolfsbane frontman looks so much more comfortable goofing around with his original bunch of howling mad shitheads that it makes his serious metal persona seem laboured. Honouring pantomime season with a set full of the 3gingerreviewcampest, OTT stage moves Bayley fronts a performance that can't fail to induce both grins and horns aplenty. With a fair chunk of the set coming from 'All Hell's Breaking Loose Down At Little Kathy Wilson's Place' - opener 'Steel', 'Totally Nude', the classic 'Loco' and 'Kathy Wilson' herself - Wolfsbane plunder 'Down Fall The Good Guys' for 'Temple Of Rock' and 'Black Lagoon' and revisit their debut for a great version of 'I Like It Hot' before closing an entertaining 45 minute set with the timeless 'Man Hunt'. Promising to follow up their Spring support slot with the mighty Saxon with an Autumn release for their new album and a December headline tour, 2011 should be the biggest year that Wolfsbane have seen for some time and, with Jeff Hately rolling back the years with his boundless energy and Jase Edwards rolling back the pounds, they deserve it.


Purposefully positioned to the side of the stage rather than centre, Ginger, more than ably assisted by "friends" Rich Jones and Tom Spencer of The Loyalties and drummer Denzel from AntiProduct, can do no wrong by this audience, myself included. Where his songwriting was always where his genius lay, it now resides in his natural ability to turn low-key situations into hi-fi heaven. Friendly and funny between-song banter followed by one of the finest songs ever written, multiplied by sixteen, pretty much sums up the set in the simplest form. But you want song titles, right?!


'Black Leather Mojo' gets a toe or three dipped into it with a great version of 'Brain Sugar' bookended by opener 'Anyway But Maybe' and an encore appearance for 'Sonic Shake'.1gingerreview Sure, the favourites are here, 'I Wanna Go Where The People Go', 'Sick Of Drugs', 'Vanilla Radio' (complete with competition winner playing a one-string guitar not completely embarrassing himself!) and an incredible one-two of 'Caffeine Bomb' and 'Suckerpunch', but we also get a couple of rarer tunes in the shape of 'S.I.N. (In Sin)' and the criminally ignored 'If Life Is Like A Lovebank I Want An Overdraft'. 'Red Light - Green Light' and a 'Chutzpah' duo - 'You Took The Sunshine From New York' and 'Mazel Tov Cocktail' - round out the main set.


The encore opens with 'Just In Lust', which I have always L-U-V loved, before a pair of special guests are wheeled out. Ginger has been inviting people onstage from the surrounding areas of the towns and cities where this tour has taken him - Sex Pistol Paul Cook appeared at the London show, for example - and tonight sees Jase Edwards (again! I'm sure he also stamped my hand on the way in) and Brian Tatler from Diamond Head join the band for a storming 'My Baby Is A Headfuck' and a stonking '29 X The Pain' to close the show.


A sixteen song set with zero tolerance for lesser songs and zero chance of allowing your mind to wander for even a second. And a big shout out to Denzel, Tom and Rich for not allowing anyone in the building to miss some blokes called Rich, Scott and CJ. 


Snow, you may have stopped Jack Torrance, Steve Martin's plane and (ahem) Motley Crue's 'Girls, Girls, Girls' UK tour, but you didn't stop Über Röck. We own you.


Please observe a minute's silence for Spike's horse......thank you.