With something of a career renaissance on the go thanks to the success of his Triple Album Project PledgeMusic campaign the man now known as Ginger Wildheart has released another live acoustic album, this time taken from his 2011 tour, which also spawned the DVD It Stinks Of Eyes Around Here.
Following on from The Great White Monkey, Potatoes And You and Grievous Acoustic Behaviour (if nothing else Ginger has a talent for album titles), Kiss Alive II is, in many ways, more of the same, as the man himself is joined by ‘Random’ Jon Poole, Willie Dowling and Jase Edwards for a run through of some Wildhearts classics, some solo tunes and some covers all linked with entertaining banter.
The album starts off with sing-a-long classic Geordie In Wonderland that sets the tone and gets the audience involved right away which is something that keeps going as the dedicated fans know exactly when to join in and it even gets to a point in places where they are providing backing vocals.
It’s this element of audience participation that really makes Ginger’s live acoustic albums stand out from many other live albums out there.
Unlike some live records, where one is left wondering how live the album really is with note perfect renditions of songs simply separated by cheering, here we get the odd bum note, or in some cases total fluff of a track, complete with individual voices in the crowd heckling and responding to the band.
This gives a real sense of community to the record which is something that has become a calling card of Ginger’s recent work, as it is this he has nurtured and relied on to fund his most recent releases and, as a fan, is one of the things that sets The Wildhearts and Ginger apart from most other musical acts out there today.
Alongside some great acoustic reworkings of some of Ginger’s own tunes, particular highlights for me being Mazel Tov Cocktail, Sunshine From New York and Unlucky In Love (featuring Givvy Flynn), there are some excellent covers of songs from bands that have clearly played a big influence on Ginger’s music, specifically here great versions of The Replacements’ Answering Machine and Cheap Trick’s Surrender.
While I’m not sure Kiss Alive II will win Ginger any new fans as it is not receiving a full commercial release (though it deserves to be heard much wider than this allows), for those of us who already admire his work it is another fine offering taking a different approach to his extensive musical back catalogue and really highlighting the sense of community he has nurtured among his fans which is becoming an increasingly important part of making music for less mainstream artists.
You can download the album via Ginger’s Bandcamp page.