For the unfamiliar, Gin Annie are a heavyweight, hugely melodic quintet from Wolverhampton, who, after many years in gestation, are starting to make making serious inroads into the wider rock scene. Fridays are always the very best evenings for parties, with this past one seeing the simultaneous release of sophomore album UND/V/DED plus the launch of the associated UK Tour. What better place to kick it all off than at a venue that is being increasingly regarded, albeit unofficially, as The Home of Metal?
KK’s Steel Mill – 12 May 2023
Words: Sophie James
Photography: John Inglis
“I’m rolling thunder, pouring rain, I’m coming on like a hurricane.” Those were the words rumbling in my head as the house lights dimmed before that gigantic backscreen flashed into life above an intro tape of said tempest.
Illuminating firstly with the band logo, soon followed by a more aqueous variation on the theme, the band opened with the brooding, mid-paced recent single Rain. It wasn’t long before their arrival was heralded with pyro too. Way to start!
The tempo accelerated with Last One Alive before a kicking bass drum, military-like snare, and quirky riff announced perennial favourite New Bad Habit. Third song in, and we’d already been treated to a rainbow of visuals from that rear screen.
“Because I’m back in my hometown, there’s no need to put on my posh voice. Those that have travelled, can you still understand me?” Until You’re Mine had a very hooky bridge leading into an equally appealing chorus. Byron was in fine form and, not for the first time, unleashed an absorbing solo—a local band for local people and beyond.
“You all know this one.” A deliciously funky electronicised (is that a word? Editor: No, but it has been submitted as a New Word Suggestion to Collins Dictionary]) riff signalled their take on Seal’s Crazy, inviting the audience to dance before the mid-section descended into some serious riffing. Phil on bass looked oh so chilled as he rolled. If you are going to do a cover, then take ownership of it. Gin Annie did precisely that.
Explaining, “Trust me, just before this massive show, I went down with a chest infection. On antibiotics and the like. Wasn’t going to miss this, so I will attempt to power through.” If not already grooving, the party really got started on Next To Me, inviting a Drum n Bass accompanied clap along before David directed, “Let’s take it home, boys.”
That rolling bass launched a Perfect Nightmare before the solitary ballad of the evening in Someday. Another exquisite solo here, underpinned by a compelling riff as, by this time, the song had intensified.
Another marching drumbeat led into the blustering shuffle of other favourite Fallin. Recognising that this was truly being among family, “I look out and see my seven-year-old daughter at the barrier.” Where else could this happen? Furthermore, he took time to recognise the tireless efforts of those that “Support us and other bands,” with the ever-popular Jealousy dedicated to Katie.
“This was the first release of the new album, see if you know it,” cued Not Going To Take It. A razor sharped dash of anthemic ‘dance like there’s no one watching’ proportions. I can imagine this making a serious dent in the US Rock Charts should it ever cross the pond.
As they were approaching the finishing line, David acknowledged the rest of the band, particularly new guitarist Marc Bradley. “He’s had a month to learn everything. What a diamond.” Marc did indeed look a natural fit from the off, but his confidence soared as the set progressed. “Let’s go out with a bang” could result in nothing other than the glorious trademark vibes of Devil In Me. Its concluding words were punctuated by an artillery salvo of confetti, the timing of which was perfectly synchronised.
Due to the aforementioned virus, a couple of numbers, namely Turn To Sand and Before, were understandably omitted from the set in order to preserve David’s voice. The above selection, however, was more than sufficient to satisfy casual and die-hard fans alike.
Their flair for creating melodious crunching compositions, coupled with a stylish delivery, has broadened Gin Annie’s appeal, and this second release should serve to further widen that audience. It has been so gratifying to monitor their progress from the early days as one of a few regular support acts at local venues like The Robin in Bilston to them now becoming a significant draw in their own right.
Another quality evening showcasing just a portion of the exceptional talent that is materialising from the grassroots rock scene. The report for supports Skam, The Hot One Two and Waking The Angels will follow soon.