Gin Wigmore @ Dingwalls
New Zealand singer-songwriter Virginia “Gin” Wigmore played a show at Camden’s Dingwalls venue in North London as part of a short run of European shows in support of her third studio album Blood To Bone. With a distinctive voice often compared with the likes of Wanda Jackson and Amy Winehouse but with songs fashioned with rock guitars instead, it was truly a treat to catch her live.
Thankfully making it to the stage following a short stay in a London hospital after arriving in the capital a couple of days ahead of the show, Wigmore and her five-piece band opened with a new album track New Rush, the heavier rock tone of her newer material setting the scene for the night as the tattooed and fierce leading lady demonstrated why she’s such a big deal in her native New Zealand and is making waves in the US.
Dressed in a sheer black long-sleeved top, white jeans and heavy-duty boots, the 29-year-old engaged with the crowd after new song Black Parade. “Good evening, how are we London!” before launching into Hey Ho from 2009’s Holy Smoke, the vintage sound of her voice clearest in the jazz-fusion undertone of the song.
“We’re going to play you a new song off this brand new album that we’ve got, I hope you like it” the New Zealander said sporting a huge grin ahead of Blood To Bone track Nothing To No One, it’s ominous solo keyboard intro leading into a layered downbeat example of her sound’s progression.
The crowd cheered as the Under My Skin singer strapped on a white Gretsch electric guitar and the band broke into Holy Smoke track One Last Look, true rock chick moments aplenty as she duelled with each of her guitarists and flung her blonde locks about.
Describing the honeymoon period of a relationship as one where partners can do no wrong, Wigmore introduced Holy Smoke’s Don’t Stop. “This song is about that. If you’re in a relationship and you’re in that honeymoon period, don’t worry it will end!” she said, encouraging an eruption of laughter from the North London crowd ahead of the fun and upbeat track.
“I know there’s lots of awesome dudes here but I know there’s lots of awesome chicks here too, and this one’s for you!” the Los Angeles-based singer said, introducing Gravel & Wine opener Black Sheep. It was clear what a blast Wigmore was having on the re-purposed Victorian industrial unit’s stage, dancing back and forth between the two guitarists positioned on either side of her. “This is soooo fun. It’s a fun job, it’s not even a job!” she said, at one point during the set.
Yet it was apparent just how important it was for the Kiwi to return to playing live, particularly in the UK. Dedicating I Love You, the final track of the night, to the London audience, she thanked them for continuing to support her and for holding out for three years for her return.
Wigmore’s distinctive voice could have come straight out of a 1960’s jazz-fusion girl group, laced with rock guitars, the lush-rich result will force the casual listener to turn and pay attention. Gin Wigmore heads back to her native New Zealand for a homecoming tour this winter.
Photography & Review by Kalpesh Patel. Kalpesh has his own great photography site right here:https://www.flickr.com/photos/somethingforkate/https://www.flickr.com/photos/somethingforkate/