Bath Komedia was a new venue for the intrepid travellers from South Wales but we love an adventure and tonight we had to get there on time to catch the support of Janus Stark seeing as we’ve heard the new album and loved what we heard and wanted to see if Gizz Butt could knock it out live. After negotiating the Bath one-way system and eventually finding a place to park by the time we reached the venue the band had already taken the stage and were knocking out songs old and new.  they reminded me of a punkier Eureka Machines and Gizz is something of a guitar players guitarist with a great sound in the venue they were entertaining and engaging and the catchy power pop/rock sounded great. these were the perfect opener for The Wildhearts and ending the set with the best track off ‘Great Adventure Cigar’ was a bonus because ‘Every Little Thing Counts’ is just about spot on.  I can look forward to hearing a lot more of the band when the album is released hopefully in December.

When it was announced that The Wildhearts were adding another string of dates and that there would be the Renaissance Men tour part 2 I couldn’t wait to get another slice of loud rock’n’roll live-action after catching the boys in Cardiff on the first leg of the tour earlier in the year.

The nearest venue to me was the Komedia in Bath with a couple of hundred miles round trip (on a school night) I planned my latest Wildhearts action. Around 9:15 pm I heard the opening guitar riff to the lead-off track to the bands latest great ep the title track ‘Diagnosis’ and bam the band were on stage and away we go. 

The band are tight and as the glorious noize of ‘Diagnosis’ comes to an end the band launch into another Renaissance men soon to be live classic ‘let em go’ and this anthem gets the Bath crowd jumping and singing along with Cj taking lead vocals on the bridge doing the Frank Turner vocals.  Next up we have that all-time classic hearts tune ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ and Ginger is on top form with some blistering guitar work and those rough yet melodic vocals of his soaring loud and proud. Some familiar favourites such as ‘Sick Of Drugs’ is welcomed and this night is turning out to be a show and a half as both band and crowd are right up for it in the confines of a really nice tight venue tucked away in the narrow streets of Bath.

‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ sees the white album being represented and this leads us into ‘My Kinda Movie’.  Ginger announces that each band member is taking his turn in picking a track to play live and tonight’s choice is by Danny and what has mister McCormack picked, well he’s treated us to a P.H.U.Q. b-side the stunning “Mindslide” and that throbbing bass of his leads us into a rare treat and what seeing The Wildhearts on form is all about. ‘Caffeine Bomb’ is up next and this fast as lightning track showcases what a machine of a drummer Ritch Battersby is and why he is one of my favourite drummers and boy does he hit those skins hard.

‘Dislocated’ is greeted by this reviewer with a huge smile on my chops as this is my favourite track off ‘The Renaissance Men’ album and the guys blast it out with some real punk rock fury.  Great also to hear “Jackson Whites” being blasted through again at a furious pace. A real fan favourite is “Red light green light” and already this set is proving to be an excellent reason to venture out on a School night for a shot of Rock and Roll – could this night get any better?

‘Vanilla Radio’ has the Bath crowd singing “where’s my Elvis” in unison and that leads us into the 5th ‘Renaissance Men’ track of the night ‘The Fine Art Of Deception’ which is another Ginger penned classic. Tonight seems like the night for the lesser-known rare track getting a good airing as we are treated to ‘Action Panzer’ Nestled in with all the classics you’d expect to hear at a Wildhearts show.

The lights come up and with that the band walk off to a thunderous roar of appreciation from the crowd  – you’d think there was a couple of thousand in tonight by the sounds of them and shouts of “more, more, more” and as if by magic the boys walk back onstage and launch into the mighty riff of ‘Greetings From Shitsville’ and this crowd goes nuts.  Part two of the encore we are treated to the icing on this particular party cake as the band unleash the stunning earth vs b-side ‘Beautifull Thing You’ and indeed it is a glorious racket of loud harmonic beauty. It’s not quite done yet as there is one last song of the night and the fan fav ’29 X The Pain’ and with both band and fans singing their hearts out it is truly a great end to a special night.

All that is left for this reviewer to say is if you can get to a Wildhearts show please do as the band are on top form and are tight and clearly enjoying themselves and you will not be disappointed. Bring on round three and the doubleheader of the Backyard Babies slugging it out with the in-form and on fire Wildhearts Bring it on! 2020 is shaping up nicely if tonight was anything to go by.

 

Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

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‘Diagnosis’ Review Here

Tour Dates for 2020 Here 

‘Renaissance Men’ Review Here

 

Hey Wildhearts fans, are you feeling lucky right now?  With a critically acclaimed album in the bag, half their discography remastered and available on vinyl, and more live action than a Pornhub subscription can give you, The Wildhearts are giving their fans everything they desire and more. Did I mention the excellent solo album Ginger just dropped in the middle of all this action? It’s called ‘Headzapoppin’, you should buy it right now.

Well, if your bank account has recovered, even just a little bit, do you think you can handle splashing out a bit more? Because Ginger and co seem to think you can!  How about a six track mini album with 5 brand new songs to back up lead track ‘Diagnosis’, one of the most well received songs from the recent ‘Renaissance Men’ long player. You can even purchase this beast on 10” splatter vinyl if you are that way inclined. Are you salivating yet?

 

If you are reading this then you have probably heard ‘Diagnosis’ more times than you’ve had hot dinners already, it’s a keeper! The building AC/DC riffage that blasts into a gargantuan diatribe, aimed at a system that has fucked so many over. Totally relatable to those who struggle, from the heart of a writer who is struggling more than most of us can imagine. With the anthemic “You’re not an animal” refrain, it has already become a live favourite and it just had to be a single.

 

But let’s concentrate on the new songs shall we.

 

‘God Damn’ sees CJ take lead vocals for a power pop-tastic three and a half minute earworm that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of his own solo albums. Chugging guitars and sneering vocals lead the way. With a signature slow/fast  rifforama section, and enough time signature changes than most metal bands manage on a whole album, it’s an epic burst of sleazy noise, something The Wildhearts do so well. Guaranteed to hit the spot, is there a song more aptly titled right now?

With magnificent, urgent drums from Rich Battersby and killer hooks aplenty, ‘A Song About Drinking’ is a 2 minute incendiary burst of noise. Anthemic gang vocalisin’, fist pumping “woah-woahs” and punky melodies aplenty, all the boxes are ticked. What’s not to like here?

‘Could It Be Just Like The First Time’ starts with the chorus refrain. I feel like I’ve heard it before, and you will too, but Ginger always has that knack right? This is the one out of the five that will imbed itself in your subconscious, grab on tight and refuse to leave.

I wonder if bassist Danny McCormack had a hand in ‘That’s My Girl’? It sure has a rumbling Yo-Yo’s feel to it. Distorted power chords rule with a catchy chorus to boot. It’s all leather jackets, greased back hair and attitude.

Uneasy on the ears and not for the fainthearted, closing song ‘LOCAC’ is a wall of distortion and disjointed riffage that would not sound out of place on ‘Endless Nameless’ or even a Mutation album come to think of it. Brutal heaviness that could possibly make your ears bleed at the right sound level.

 

It’s well known in certain circles that The Wildhearts are the kings of the b sides. How many bands have (or even could) release an album of non-album tracks that can stand tall against their best albums? Oasis have one, anyone else? Well, The Wildhearts could release 3, that is the quality I’m talking about.

And that same quality overflows on this mini album that clocks in at just over 20 minutes. Short, sharp and no fucking about. That seems to be Ginger’s outlook for The Wildhearts in 2019 and who are we to argue? As he has just released the perfect companion to ‘Renaissance Men’ and given his fan base yet another essential release before the year draws to a close.

Buy Diagnosis Here 

Author: Ben Hughes

 

It’s been 10 long years since The Wildhearts released their last album ‘Chutzpah!’ If there was any justice in the world it would’ve been a massive hit album for them, and Ginger would have the recognition he deserves as one of the UK’s most prolific and constantly creative songwriters.

But lady luck has never shone down on The Wildhearts, she just threw shit in their general direction. Drugs & alcohol, in-band fights and shitty record labels got in the way. Even though they scraped the top 20 and featured on TOTP multiple times, sadly it was never meant to be. It would seem that sometimes, even the greatest bands are destined to never make it.

But the Wildhearts have a legacy, a fucking great musical legacy that will never be erased whatever the future holds. While they disbanded after ‘Chutzpah!’ (for the umpteenth time), there have been sporadic reunion gigs and anniversary tours. And with original bassist Danny McCormack back where he rightfully belongs, the classic line-up of The Wildhearts entered the studio to record the album many fans thought they would never get to hear.

It seems you can’t keep a good band down, and The Wildhearts are back in your face, fighting fit and stronger than ever before.

 

The metallic riff to ‘Dislocated’ blasts open the album like ‘Live Wire’ opened ‘Too Fast For Love’. Did I just reference Motley Crue in a Wildhearts album review? Yes, I did! But that’s where the resemblance ends, as ‘Dislocated’ goes off on a musical tangent to itself, as The Wildhearts are well known to do. Tackling mental health and alienation, the lyrics are spat with the vitriolic, reckless abandon of a man literally teetering on the edge of sanity.

Fuck me, that chorus! It builds and builds and keeps on giving. Then there’s the welcome return of Danny’s unmistakable bass rumble, as much a part of The Wildhearts sound as anthemic choruses and crunchy guitars. ‘Dislocated’ is a song for the outcasts in an age where Ginger’s lyrics are more relevant than ever.

Next, we are straight into ‘Let ‘em Go’. Classic, anthemic Wildhearts at their finest. A football terraced style anthem with an uplifting chorus you will be singing on first listen, and long after the needle has lifted. “Let ‘em go, let the shit-filled rivers flow”  the whole band chant, as you wonder how you have survived for so long without this melody in your head. A future live favourite for sure. No one does it better…no one.

The following title track is a weird one, not sure about this yet. The almost tribal beats and backing chants bring to mind the film ‘Madagascar’ for some reason. With a cool riff and a great euphoric chorus, it’s a song about the band being back in your face, and hopefully, they are here to stay.

‘Fine Art Of Deception’ is a song I first heard Ginger and CJ play acoustic at The Fulford Arms in York last year. This is a tune that could have been lifted from the ‘555%’ sessions, I feel. The “bullshit” refrain stands out as pure Wildhearts fodder though and harks back to their early days.

‘Diagnosis’ builds on an AC/DC style riff before morphing into classic Wildhearts crunchy goodness. Air guitar and goosebumps (see Pilo Erection below) come hand in hand as Ginger and CJ’s vocal harmonies intertwine to create the magic we love and crave from The Wildhearts. It builds to a euphoric, killer chorus set to be a mainstay at hot and sweaty future gigs.

 

‘My Kinda Movie’ will kick off side two (if you are listening on cassette or vinyl). It comes on like a classic Wildhearts B side, and we all know how good those are, right? A metallic, staccato riff makes way for intense, urgent drums from probably the most underrated drummer in rock music, Ritch Battersby. Chugging, dampened guitars match the rhythm of the verse that makes way for a gang vocal chorus, a wild as fuck wah-wah solo and a section that goes up the musical scale again and again. Holy shit, that’s a workout!

‘Little Flower’ is again, a song I heard previewed acoustic last year and one of the most instant songs on the album. CJ penned I believe, it certainly has his knack of pop sensibilities stamped all over it. A hook as catchy as anything out there, it will bury deep into the subconscious on first listen and threaten never to leave, job done.

That signature Wildhearts dampened, crunchy regimental riffage introduces ‘Emergency (Fentanyl Babylon)’. The subject matter is pretty self-explanatory, here Ginger even name-checks Tom Petty and Prince before laying waste with a brutal chorus that will incite the listener to shout the “emergency” refrain and bang their heads until the beats abruptly cease. Glorious in all the right places.

‘My Side Of The Bed’ is disjointed riff-o-rama in god knows what time signature, with sublime vocal harmonies that suck you in on first listen. There is so much going on in this crazy song it’s hard to describe, but imagine Cheap Trick jamming with Primus for starters. So much love for this tune already.

The “one-two-fuck you” count in signals the closing track ‘Pilo Erection’. Crunch, bang, wallop! We are up and running for the final time as the band get a full-on workout, riff after riff and chanting gang vocals aplenty, a powerhouse performance especially from Ritch as his skills are tested to the max.

If you are wondering what Pilo Erection means, Google the fucker like I did! Let’s just say The Wildhearts give me a Pilo Erection everytime and you can quote me on that.

 

The arrival of a new Wildhearts album has always been an event. Call me biased, but it makes me realise that most other bands pale in comparison and it has been so long that I nearly forgot that!

I was expecting this album to be a cross between ‘Earth Vs’ and ‘Chutzpah!’, yet surprisingly it sounds like neither, in fact, it sounds like no other Wildhearts album that has come before it.

Like ‘Fishing For Luckies’ and the self-titled ‘White Album ‘, ‘Renaissance Men’ takes multiple listens to sink in and every time I listen, something new jumps out. My favourite track is changing on a daily basis and even though it’s early days, I can’t imagine I will hear anything better this year.

Hopefully, this is as much a resurgence as a renaissance and we can expect more from this band in the near future. But for now, bask in the glory that is the new Wildhearts album and come back in 6 months when it’s all sunk in and tell me how great it is.

 

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Author: Ben Hughes

Buy Renaissance Men Here