Ugly Kid Joe with support from Falling Red at The Garage, Glasgow
Ugly Kid Joe @ The Garage, Glasgow
I racked my brain trying to remember the last time I saw Ugly Kid Joe and after failing miserably(old age is a bugger) I went back to my ticket collection and was amazed to see it was June 6th 1993. A cracking day with headliners Def Leppard, Thunder and Terrorvision. I remember they played a blinder early in the day in blazing sunshine and that was the reason I bought a ticket last year when I heard they were heading back to Glasgow. Unfortunately due to work commitments I had to miss that gig so I gave my ticket to a friend who came back raving about them(yeah, thanks for that) so I was even more excited tonight as I get to see this band 23 years after that last gig…and how were they going to shape up?
But before we get to that( If I had to wait all those years you damned well best wait till I write about it!) there is a support band that are starting to shake some trees and their reputation made its way to my ears from friends down south. Now if a band is going to proclaim they are the “foreruners of the UK Rock Revolution” you best bring your A game to impress me.
First tick in the box was the bands image, they look like they want to be rock stars and especially in front man Rozey with the scruffed up jacket, spiked hair, low slung guitar and dark make up. OK, we have the image but what about the most important factor…the music and within about 30 seconds of opener “ We Are Reckless” you have a huge hell yeah from me. A blistering guitar intro, sleazy assed riff, 90s dipped gutter rock with vocals from Hollywood Boulevard.
They were an instant hit for me and they took me back to my second favourite decade for music(I will never see past 80s metal). It was an amazingly exciting time for music and these boys have tapped right into the veins of it like an intravenous drip. They also gave me a really annoying niggle of” who do they sound like” all night. I could not place it until I played the CDs later that I had bought that night…and then it hit me, a name many may not be familiar with and to me a seriously underrated band in The Sea Hags. If you have not heard them get on Youtube and check out “Half The Way Valley”. This will give you an idea of what this band is about and it will tell you how much they impressed me.
With two albums released it must have been hard to pick just eight songs for this setlist but they went for the jugular with songs like “ Outcast”, the amazing “Empire Of The Damned” and the set closer “ If you Ain’t Down With The Rock” A song that got everyone singing “You Can Fuck Right Off”. What a way to bow out.
This band really stood out for me and I see a lot of support bands at gigs. The talent is overflowing, the riffs are down and dirty and the balls are full to bursting with Machismo. This band are a headline act if I have ever seen one.
You really cannot mention Ugly Kid Joe without THAT song raising it’s head. Now, don’t get me wrong as it is a great song, a lot of fun but I felt it overshadowed the band, back when it was a massive hit and even today. It is a real shame people can only focus on that as they are a great band, have so many much better songs and they kick ass live.
This fact is quite clear to anyone who heard last year’s release “Uglier Than They Used To Be”. They may still have songs firmly done with tongue in cheek but it is a solid rock album from start to finish and to prove that point the band open with their cover of “Ace Of Spades”. What a way to kick off the show and especially as Whitfield Crane strolls out with his rather rude Phil Campbell t-shirt…well, the man did play on the track.
This instantly won the crowd over and sent the crowd into overdrive, from here on in it was one way traffic to oblivion. The set was plastered with old and new songs, you got the likes of “Jesus Rode A Harley”, “C.U.S.T” and the fan favourite of “Cat’s In The Cradle” which took the roof off. If there was any lull Whitfield was right there to pick it all up with clapping, swaying and singing…he never stopped working that audience. For the first 4 or 5 songs he kept urging everyone forward. He is a very deft frontman.
There were so many highlights from tonight’s show it is hard to know where to begin but for me some of the finest was when Whitfield brought out the first support of the evening Tim Mcmillan( Who I unfortunately missed). With this incredible guitarist on acoustic the two of them played stripped back versions of “Come Tomorrow” and “Cloudy Skies”. These songs were perfect and something not many people have seen played like this.
Next up for entertainment value was guitarist Klaus Eichstadt climbing behind the drums, grabbing a drumstick and hurling it into the crowd…only to hit a poor woman square in the face, luckily she was OK and thankfully I think his drumming career is over.
Another classic piece of Glasgow patter came to the fore when the band informed us they were going off stage for the usual encore nonsense but they would not come back on unless they were serenaded by a Scottish chant, not really a good idea when you have a very drunken, Saturday night crowd but in perfect timing the chant of “you fat bastard” came forth and the band rolled onto the stage in fits of laughter.
Personally there were also two very touching moments, the first was being asked by Whitfield to come on stage and take some photos and secondly and more importantly watching the man come to the edge of the stage and sing directly to a young lady in a wheelchair. This must have made her century.
Now it is is time to close the show and that means only one thing, “Everything About You” comes blaring through the PA and it is instant party mode. I could not hear the vocals for the song being chanted from the crowd, man it was loud out there. It may have finished the show off perfectly but it did not overshadow things for me, there were too many memorable moments tonight.
I may be about a year too late in saying this but Ugly Kid Joe are back and going by tonights performance they are here to stay. There may have been some nostalgia but it is the future of this band I am looking forward too…long live Ugly kid joe.
Images and review Ritchie Birnie.
Ugly Kid Joe