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GERARD SCOTT (SCOTT SORRY) BENEFIT SHOW – “The Night They Put The Band Back Together”

Words & Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media

Event in aid of https://www.gofundme.com/scottsorry

Hot on the heels of successful events in Edinburgh and Huddersfield, the last of the current crop of benefit shows to help respected musician and former Wildhearts bassist Scott Sorry cover medical bills was held in Wakefield at the renowned Warehouse23.

The main reason for the shows and a little bit of the information about Scott can be found on the gofundme page set up to help him but in essence, everyone was present because on Dec 22nd, 2017, doctors found a tumour on Scott’s brain. Many of my friends and others know Scott as Scott Sorry from The Wildhearts, Sorry & The Sinatras, Amen and also his recent solo work. The doctors described it as a 2-inch cystic tumour on the left side of his brain, and it was affecting his speech and motor functions. An operation to remove it was performed a few days later and a cheerful looking Scott keeps posting updates about the different types of therapy he continues to receive at the moment. 

The downside of course of being in need of medical care in the United States is the need to have insurance to cover the astronomical bills and naturally, self employed people, not falling under great corporate healthcare schemes are often found lacking when it comes to something as serious as Scott’s condition. So musician friends around the world and Scott’s fans came together and so far, donations and benefit shows have raised close to $50,000 for him. 

The first thing that has to be said about all three shows (you can see the flyers below), the fact that everyone who got involved did it through their love for and desire to help Scott is noteworthy enough. It gives you faith that the human race does at times have a chance and that the right sort of people do exist out there. Of course just offering yourself up to assist at one of these events or running the gofundme campaign isn’t quite as straight forward as simply saying “if you book them they will come”, it doesn’t all fall into place that easily…. or does it?

The simple answer is… I have no idea. However a cast list a mile long have managed to pull everything together, bands have performed and this show, the last one, at Warehouse23 had one small rabbit to pull out of the hat to make the night special. A small matter of The Wildhearts headlining would have been enough in itself but this was the lineup that fans had been waiting years for. The definitive lineup as some would call it yet one that had never managed to cement itself as such first time around. Instead think of this as the opportunity to see the four people best suited to the roles of lead singer \ guitarist, lead guitarist, bassist and drummer. Before CJ, Danny, Ritch and of course Ginger took to the stage, an evening of entertainment awaited us, thanks again to the generous time and efforts of all concerned. From the use of Warehouse23, the front of house teams and the techs looking after the musicians to the people behind the scenes without whom this and the other two gigs would not have been possible. If good things happen to good people then for everyone involved, paradise awaits!

There is obviously a small matter of a gig to review and from the advantageous position at the top of the side steps, stage left, the following is my unique viewpoint of what will be a gig that goes down in history, for all the right reasons;

As with most Ginger Wildheart concerts, Ginger often likes to perform a couple of extra sets or.. as is often the case during his Birthday Bashes, play the entire night onstage. Warehouse23 saw him and Chris Catalyst team up with a couple of acoustic guitars for a short sharp set that warmed up the room perfectly ready for a night of drunken fun.

Ginger Wildheart & Chris Catalyst

With a new Eureka Machines album out, material from that (a live debut to boot) and tracks from Ginger’s solo works were played alongside a superb cover of a-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ which saw the whole room ‘la la la la la la… lah la la la la” through the chorus to great effect. Looking around the room, drinks were already flowing, faces were smiling, merch was selling and everyone knew just why they were there. A perfect start to the evening.  

SETLIST:

Burn This City Down / Wish You Were Her (Eureka Machines song) / This Is Only a Problem / 

Next Life (Eureka Machines song – live debut) / Take On Me (a-ha cover) / The Only One (The Wildhearts song)

Kid Klumsy

Containing at least one member of Birthday Bash favourites Dirt Box Disco (the lead singer looks the same whether he’s dressed like a clown or not!) Kid Klumsy are a band that fall under the wing of Stu Taylor (of STP Records fame) and a man who is one of those who should be applauded for the effort put in to ensure this show happened. 

By their own admission Kid Klumsy sing silly songs about monkeys, chickens and boobs. Someone has to and it’s a format that certainly seems to follow vocalist Weab around. Never still (possibly one of the most difficult people to shoot in focus) the larger than life front man prowled around the stage as happy to slag off his band mates as he was members of the crowd but done in such a way that it was always to comedic effect and offense (whilst it may have been intended) was never taken! 

Having missed the opportunity to see the band closer to home in Ramsgate at the beginning of February, the band charged through a set of 90s tinged pop punk music with a ‘does just what it says on the tin’ approach that certainly seemed to go down well with the assembled masses. 

Massive Wagons

Next up, one of those bands that seems worthy of the hype. Massive Wagons are another band that have been touted as the next big thing by Ginger for some time and, as a result, sold loads of copies of their last album purely on the strength of his recommendation. Much like the Richard and Judy Book Club (yes I went there), a recommendation from a person in the right place goes a long way. 

True to form the band and the crowd go nuts. It’s an assured, over the top performance and that’s just from the crowd! Lapping up every minute with the songs from ‘Welcome To The World’ standing out the most, especially the anthemic ‘Tokyo’, even Ginger would later comment how certain bands seem destined for the big time and that Massive Wagons were such an act. 

With ‘Back To The Stack’ having cemented the band’s reputation with a wider audience, it allowed Barry ‘Baz’ Mills the opportunity to really work the audience, going as far as crowd surfing during one song, a move that simply enamored him more and more with the fans the band have gathered over the last couple of years. 

Solid songs, great lighting, great energy and presence. With a new album due imminently, this lot will go a long way. 

Sonic Boom Six 

Despite being something of a regular in gig circles, with many of the fans of Wildhearts and associated projects often waxing lyrical about the band, SB6’s set felt like it required extra effort on the part of Paul ‘Barney’ Barnes and Lailah Khan to really get anything from the crowd. Whether it was a dip in energy from the packed venue or whether the rapid consumption of beer at £3 a pint had dulled everybody’s senses wasn’t clear but by god they had to work for the applause during their 30-40 minute window. 

And work they did and then some. By the time they’d come off stage the band were pouring with sweat and a  defiant look of ‘take that Wakefield’. The winning formula, aside from grit and determination, was a stunning cover of ‘I Fought the Law’. Now I’d always taken this as a song written by The Clash but it turns out that the song was written by Sonny Curtis of the Crickets and popularized by a cover by the Bobby Fuller Four, which went on to become a top-ten hit for the band in 1966. The song was of course also recorded by the Clash in 1979. Either way, it worked and with a final snarling rendition of ‘For The Kids of The Multiculture’, the band were done and we refilled glasses and waited for The Professionals

SETLIST:

No Man, No Right / Piggy in the Middle / Bigger Than Punk Rock / I Fought the Law (The Crickets cover) / For the Kids of the Multiculture

The Professionals 

One of the latter additions to the bill and one that raised a lot of smiles with the fans, thanks to a stunning new album, ‘What in the World’, the band’s first in over three decades. 

Originally formed from the ashes of The Sex Pistols with Paul Cook and Steve Jones pooling their collective talents, the band showed all of the promise of the former yet never quite made it to the heady heights that everyone expected. A cocktail of drugs, car accidents, bad luck, legal wranglings and more prevented The Professionals from making the mark that they should yet a reissued 3 disc set in 2015 raised several heads, made Paul think about the possibilities of resurrecting the band and the current incarnation brought 4 world class musicians to Warehouse23 as special guests. With Paul Cook and long time bassist Paul Myers still in situ, lead vocals and guitar work have been taken on by Tom Spencer, Danny McCormack’s former partner in the Yo-Yos. On second guitar we now have Danny’s brother Chris, making the event a true family affair.

A blast from the off, the band opened with a brace from the new album, highlighting just what they have to offer these days. The verdict is ‘a lot’. Full of raw energy and the requisite snarls from a band that should have been huge in Punk’s heyday, the bring the best of bands like The Clash to the table and to truly experience a Professionals show, make sure you watch Paul Cook on his drum kit. For a man who is now in his 60s, I am amazed the kit survived the show. He never once stopped moving. The drum stool rarely saw Cook actually making contact such was the amount he was bouncing around. Great show and a great performance all round.     

SETLIST:

Good Man Down / Going Going Gone / Rewind / Join the Professionals / Silly Thing (Sex Pistols cover)

The Wildhearts

With so many great benefit shows already announced and bands signed up to perform to raise money for  https://www.gofundme.com/scottsorry it was always going to take something pretty special to get people to attend another night. That ‘something special’ was the lineup that people had been hoping for for many years. Oddly, not a classic recording or live line up but as noted before, the line up that saw the four places in the band filled by the artists that the fans wanted. To call it the classic line up does The Wildhearts an injustice as one of the ‘classic’ line ups saw Scott Sorry on bass, delivering the last studio album the band produced to great critical acclaim and essentially helping shape the reason we were all in Warehouse23 that night.

With a ‘Britrock Must Be Destroyed’ tour due to commence in May, this line up were always going to have to get their ducks in a row and this ‘warm up’ show made for the perfect opportunity to see if it would work out as hoped. Various tweets and messages on social media leading up to the show suggested that rehearsals had been going well and that ‘putting the band back together’ hadn’t been as difficult as had first been envisioned.

With limited time available, a set list that favoured the hits was to be expected and with smiles all round and a cheeky ‘fuckin’ hell it’s Danny McCormack’ from Ginger, the band delivered in spades. The Wildhearts aren’t known for their gentle live shows so kudos to Danny for going the full distance with the set, perched on his stool, stage left leaving Ginger and CJ the run of the rest of the spacious area to work their magic. Powerhouse drumming as ever from Ritch Battersby could be heard but no seen from my ‘almost’ advantageous viewpoint on the side so I’ll refer you to Trudi Knight and her http://www.bandsonstage.co.uk/ site to see Ritch giving it his all. 

Bouncing people, bouncing and happy band members, a winning combination that all resulting in several thousand pounds being raised for Scott. A worthy cause indeed. 

SETLIST: 

Ginger Wildheart, CJ, Ritch Battersby, Danny McCormack
I Wanna Go Where the People Go / TV Tan / My Baby Is a Headfuck / Suckerpunch / Caffeine Bomb / 29 x the Pain / Nita Nitro / Nothing Ever Changes But the Shoes / Sick of Drugs / Vanilla Radio / Weekend (5 Long Days) / Greetings From Shitsville / Everlone

Encore

When a line up as strong as the one that played at Warehouse23 in support of https://www.gofundme.com/scottsorry all reconvene on stage for the encore, then it warrants its own segment in the review. 

With songs that really show the influences on the bands that performed that evening, members of all of the bands appeared on stage to join in with the encore. Great to hear CJ singing on ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ and when Ginger take’s Danny’s bass for the cover of ‘Overkill’, the only thing that threw him was trying to see the strings in the dim light on stage as Danny’s preference seems to be for black strings. “Who the fuck plays with black strings…” was heard by the majority of the room. 

With the frantic ‘Overkill’ drawing to a close, the show ends with a cover of ‘Pretty Vacant’ and Paul Cook back on drums. Moments like this are few and far between. This is a gig that will be spoken about for some time to come. 

SETLIST:

Ginger Wildheart, CJ, Ritch Battersby, Toshi, Chris Catalyst*
Teenage Kicks (The Undertones cover) (Ginna of The Main Grains vocals)
Highway to Hell (AC/DC cover) (Barry Mills of Massive Wagons on vocals)
Surrender (Cheap Trick cover) (Laila K of Sonic Boom Six on vocals)
I Wanna Be Sedated (Ramones cover) (CJ on vocals)
Overkill (Motörhead cover) (Ginger on vocals and bass)
Pretty Vacant (Sex Pistols cover) (with The Professionals)

One final mention…

A lot has gone on to put this and the other benefit shows on. If you look closely, you’ll always see Jane Graley working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure everything runs according to plan. Given her role and efforts involved in making this happen, she even stuck to the spirit of the event by announcing that she’d bought a ticket as well. We all know where the proceeds are going so fair play.. a true example to be followed. If the Britrock Must Be Destroyed tour proves as successful as we hope it will, perhaps Jane can be convinced to make it a one day festival and add Therapy? and Skunk Anansie to the bill as well. There’d be a lot of support I’m sure.

Back to Wakefield though, as Jane will also point out, the event wouldn’t have been possible without the selfless commitment of all concerned. The monies flying in from the other benefit shows have already proven that the pain, stress and effort involved has been totally worth it. 

People like Stu, Ruth, Andy, Donna, and others all deserve our thanks for their efforts and there are many more that I’m not aware of that do as well. Once final mention of course goes to the man that keeps it all working on the night, the man who runs the show from the stage and ensures what needs to work, does work. If you see him, buy him a beer…. Dunc, we salute you. 

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