When this tour was officially announced I think just about everybody connected with RPM, booked their tickets for a venue somewhere in the UK, not just for a re-invigorated Wildhearts, but to check out the late addition of Towers of London to open the proceedings.
As the time approached I got really excited by the thought of a night with such a variety of music on one bill!
It’s been a while since I caught up with the Wildhearts live, I’ve dipped in and out of them since the early days, (I remember catching them supporting a fledgling Manic Street Preachers in Cardiff University) as well as numerous festival and venue appearances, even catching Ginger on his Ghost in the Tanglewood foray into Americana. But the real kicker for me was the addition of Towers of London to this 3 band bill. I’d never managed to catch them back at the height of their notoriety, when they were being touted as Britain’s answer to G’N’R, it seemed like every week they’d hit the press with their latest outrageous incident or behavior, building to a frenzy that resulted in the group exploding, the music they created actually getting lost in the carnage.
Opening with “I’m a Rat” I think you could have picked my jaw off the floor, and I think the smile just got bigger as the gig went on. I couldn’t believe how tight and in your face the music sounded, how focused the musicianship and how much the band seemed to be enjoying things. Do you know what that enjoyment spread to an ever-increasing crowd and by the time we hit set closer “Fuck it up” the audience was well involved. To me, it seemed that the band had relaxed, stopped playing up to a tabloid image and were there for the music, for the crowd and to give things a real shot. It will be interesting to see in the future the support slots they pick up and if rumours are confirmed there’s a real biggie coming up which will connect them to an audience better suited to their brand of Punk/R’n’R. But ultimately if the new LP due hits the heights of this live performance they’ll be headlining SWX in their own right.
In the lull between Towers of London and Massive Wagons, I had cause to smile at a conversation between two Massive Wagons fans, noticeable by the T-Shirts about how easy it had been to get tickets for the Pink gig in Cardiff! Made me think about how diverse their audience is and how easily they could cross into the mainstream, which they seem to make a hell of a fist of doing. Now at this point I feel I have to be upfront and honest, I don’t particularly like their take on classic Rock, don’t get me wrong they are great at what they do but for me music has to have a sprinkle of stardust, something that sets it aside, an edge if you like, there is no edge to Massive Wagons.
Nothing I saw in the stage show changed my mind in any way, but I was very much in the minority, they went down a storm.
Waiting for the main Act to hit the stage thoughts drifted to what type of Wildhearts performance we were going to get, I needn’t have worried, with the p.a. turned up to 11 they hit the stage to a storming version of “Dislocated” from the new LP Renaissance men, and the drive and energy of the band hit you straight away, what an aural onslaught! Every time I catch the Wildhearts live my thoughts is always how clever the band is, how catchy the songs and how huge they should be, maybe this LP will put them right on the top of the pile.
Rolling into “Suckerpunch”, leading on to “Sick of Drugs” you could feel the paint peeling from the wall’s, this was one of those performances that made a statement. Without going into every song, I don’t think there was a weak track played or performed tonight, standouts in the main set for me? “Urge”, “Caffeine bomb” and “Love you til I don’t”.
But the band weren’t done we had a monster encore with “The Renaissance men” followed by “Someone that won’t let go”, “You took the Sunshine from New York,” “Mazel Tov Cocktail”, “My Baby is a Headfuck” and the evergreen” I Wanna go where the people go”.
The Earth definitely needs the Wildhearts/ Rock and Roll needs the Wildhearts, especially a Wildhearts, flat out, throttle down, focused and delivering an LP as consistently powerful as this newbie. Happy days!!!!!
Author: Nev Brooks
Buy ‘Renaissance Men’ HERE