I am ashamed to say that this gig was my first live encounter with The Wildhearts. They have always been one of the bands near the top of my ‘must do’ list, but up until now our paths hadn’t crossed. When this current tour was announced in celebration of the 20th anniversary of ‘Earth V’s The Wildhearts’ album, I knew the time was right to pop my Wildhearts cherry.
There were a couple of supports to warm up the crowd first though and on entry to the hall the guitarist of Baby Godzilla was standing on top of a wall at the rear of the venue whilst the singer was in the middle of the crowd giving his all. This, unfortunately, proved to be the band’s last track and I didn’t see enough to form an opinion, although they appeared to go down well.
The next band up though raised the game somewhat and proved to be the perfect warm up for Ginger and Co. Eureka Machines have obviously been influenced by The Wildhearts and had an arsenal of great melodic rock songs with which to assault the crowd’s ears. Frontman Chris Catalyst is a born performer who used his dry Yorkshire wit to win over the crowd, especially when he was joking about the size of the band’s backdrop which looked like a beach towel!
Playing a mix of new tracks from their current album, ‘Remain In Hope’, and older tracks from their previous two albums, the guys put in a great, energetic set which went down a storm with the crowd. With the crowd now suitably warmed through, the stage was set for The Wildhearts who took to the stage to a huge roar and launched into ‘Greetings From Shitsville’.
The first part of the set was made up of the entire ‘Earth V’s The Wildhearts’ album played as on the album, Ginger did point out it was the original version though and ‘not the re-release from ’94 with the extra track’ in case anyone was in doubt. ‘TV Tan’ was then followed by ‘Everlone’ and the crowd was loving every minute, singing along with every word. The highlight of this section though was the double hit of ‘Headf*ck’ followed by the riot that was ‘Suckerpunch’, rock really doesn’t get much better!
Rounding off the album section with final track, ‘Love U ‘Til I Don’t’, the band left the stage to huge cheers. Having caught a glimpse of the set list on stage which only contained the songs from the album I was interested to see what the band had up their sleeve next. I soon found out as ‘audience participation time’ was announced by the compere for the night. This proved to be a fun section where the crowd were offered up two songs for the band to play via large placards brought on by two of the road crew and the crowd had to choose what song they played.
First round went to ‘Caffeine Bomb’ which got the bodies flying, keeping the security busy. Other winners included ‘Sick Of Drugs’, a rapid ‘Mood Swings And Roundabouts’ and a fantastic version of ‘Geordie In Wonderland’ with the Glasgow choir singing the first verse. The best though was saved until last in the shape of ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ which again had the bodies flying and the crowd bouncing for all they were worth.
Ginger said he couldn’t have started the tour in a better place and judging by the sweaty, grinning people leaving the ABC I think the crowd were in agreement. A great night to celebrate a classic album, here’s to the next 20 years.
Review and Photos by David Wilson
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