Stormy in the Shire

It’s been raining for hours, the ground has turned to mud and we’re waiting for Wildhearts front man Ginger to play an acoustic set on the Jagermeister stage on Sunday afternoon. Now I love The Wildhearts and I quite like some of his solo material but this is going to have to be pretty good to raise the spirits of the sodden assembled! Nobody is quite sure to what to think when Ginger comes out on stage accompanied by eight (yes, eight!) other acoustic guitarists, bass and drums. The weather probably hasn’t helped but the stage times are running late so they waste little time kicking off the set and suddenly the soaked crowd are all smiles as they recognise The Wildheart’s ‘I Wanna Go’.

Alright so it’s not quite the same as a full electric show but you just can’t stop the crowd from singing along as they follow it with ‘Suckerpunch’ and ‘Red Light Green Light’. Once people realise that they are going to get all Wildhearts songs it turns into something of a party and Ginger seems visibly moved by getting this kind of reception despite the unusual conditions. ‘Someone That Won’t Let Me Go’ is followed by ‘TV Tan’ and ‘Nita Nitro’ before ’29 x The Pain’ steals the show, getting the biggest reaction of the set as Ginger gesticulates to the crowd for the line “how can I be down when I’ve got all my friends around?”.

The rest of the band (all ten of them!) do a solid job, some obviously knowing the material better than others as long term collaborator Chris Catalyst leads the way. The finale is a mass sing along featuring ‘Sick of Drugs’ and ‘Geordie In Wonderland’ and the band leave to a great reaction. Ginger is just a born performer and you can’t help but warm to him in whatever circumstance you find him. We were expecting a solo show with solo songs so it was a nice surprise to get that kind of set and it lifted the spirits perfectly. Rain? What rain?