One of the best lineups of 2016 took to the glorious stage at the Brooklyn Bowl London this weekend to deliver a rock n roll spectacle. All three band’s featured iconic singer-songwriter Ginger Wildheart in one form or another, but the full set from The Ginger Wildheart band topping the bill was the true highlight.
Kicking off the night was Hey! Hello! featuring new front woman Cat Southall. She’s got some pretty big shoes to fill by taking the reigns from Hollis Mahady, who abruptly left the band a few months ago, and original front-woman Victoria Liedtke (which for some reason I cannot find the reason why she left in the first place). While one cannot expect a new member to instantly gel with a band that is clearly fueled by the chemistry of their very charismatic members, I think she did a pretty good job and clearly gave it her all.
This was the first time I have seen Hey! Hello! outside of seeing Ginger play solo opening for Courtney Love when I lived in San Francisco, and they were stellar. Their debut record is one of the greatest power pop records of the last decade in my opinion. I can count the number of bands on one hand that can sing five-part harmonies and these guys and girls made it look effortless. I’m talking about soaring harmonies over wall-of-sound guitars as a lost art and I hope for the sake of rock n roll that Hey! Hello! figure out their front person situation and keep this sound alive, the music world desperately needs it.
Second in the lineup was Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors from Ft. Worth Texas. I’d never heard of these guys before but they were fantastic. Imagine if Tom Petty wrote pop songs for a jukebox in a Texas dive bar with added twang and wit to round out his storytelling. Wait, I think I just described Tom Petty in his glory days. Either way Hamilton is a gifted songwriter who can write a pop hook grounded in Americana with the best of them. Top that with a stellar cover of the REO Speedwagon classic Take it on the Run where Hamilton was joined onstage by Ginger for a remarkable duet. The entire set was fantastic. Hamilton has a new record coming soon through PledgeMusic. I just pre-ordered mine today.
And finally, the man himself Ginger Wildheart hits the stage to close out the night. Having just moved to London six weeks ago, this was my first time seeing Ginger as well. These guys really have something for everyone in the form of punk, pop, sweeping ballads, and rip your face off rock n roll riffs from hell. After seeing this show I’m quickly becoming a Ginger superfan of sorts. There are not too many singer-songwriters who can come close to the legacy that Ginger has built and continues to deliver upon. Courtney Love recently called him a “fucking iconic genius” and I would agree 100%.
His latest single “If You Find Yourself in London Town” is a letter to his younger self, full of advice that he wish he’d been told, but instead had to figure it out the hard way. If you haven’t heard this song watch the video. It’s a real gem.
Were you at the show? What did you think of the lineup? Join the conversation in the comment section below.