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27 April 2004: The Wildhearts - Rock City, Nottingham, England, UK

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Yes, yet another Wildhearts tour so that must mean it's time for my annual trip to Rock City. At least I have a decent excuse for my rare visits now - a baby girl at home requiring my attention - rather than having to simply whinge that most music is crap these days.

Not for the first time in my life the lure of the pub proved greater than anything else which unfortunately meant I missed the support. I had expected this to come solely in the shape of Therapy, however it turns out that the lesser-known Glitterati also played a set. All I can do is report that later on Ginger suggested these new guys would be massive this time next year. How often have you heard that about a support band?

The Wildhearts arrived on stage nice and early this time and inevitably launched into "I wanna go where the people go". Within five seconds of the intro I started regretting leaving my own guitar to gather dust for the last month or two and also not trying harder to form this Wildhearts cover band I've been banging on about for ages. Listening to this stuff always rekindles my waning interest in music so I guess I need to listen to more of it.

With barely a pause the band then played "Greetings from Shitsville" followed by "Top of the world" which didn't sound quite as out of place as I had expected, despite being from the poppier side of The Wildhearts repertoire ("…Must be destroyed" album).

Coming towards the end of a massive tour encompassing Europe, the US and the UK I was a little worried before the gig as to how jaded the band would sound, especially after reading Ginger's tour diary on the interweb. To be honest, during the last few weeks I was half-expecting to hear that the band had split up again. Luckily for everyone this hasn't happened and contrary to my fears they sounded absolutely fantastic; polished, tidy and totally together.

The customary appalling bar service in Rock City restricted my drinking - thank god because, like my boss, a baby has absolutely no respect whatsoever for a hangover - but I still managed to forget the precise order of the set-list. However, I can remember that other songs played included "Beautiful thing you", "OCD", "Somebody that won't let me go", "Caffeine Bomb", and the heavier version of "Vanilla radio" which had an excellent squeally effect thrown in to accentuate the siren-like riff.

There was also a cracking song I'd never heard before which sounded like it included the line "….you're irresistible….". If only I'd had money as a student all those years ago I would've bought the cd-singles when they first came out, instead of now having to search for them on e-bay where they're currently going for thirty-odd quid each (if you own them and want a quick sale please drop this Webmaster bloke a mail).

Hearing this song for the first time I couldn't help but admire, yet again, the riffs that The Wildhearts/Ginger consistently come up with. Over the years they have written dozens of songs with great guitar work on and more often than not each song contains three, four or five catchy riffs, each one worthy of it's own individual track. When Ginger announced that the band had recently acquired a new record deal I cheered like a lunatic because (a) it means I'm going to get to hear more of them, and (b) they really do deserve all the success they get. Don't forget this is a band who have been around fifteen years or so doing the whole rock n' roll thing - drink, splits, drugs, more splits, record company fall-outs…. - and are still going loud and proud.

To end their main set the band chugged out "Caprice" before disappearing briefly for a glass of lemonade and an orange slice. On their re-appearance, I think they played "Dangerlust", "Cheers", "29x the pain", "My baby is a headfuck", "Suckerpunch", "Nita nitro", and finally "Love u til I don't". Of course, some of these songs may have actually been played earlier on in the night but my aging memory fails me. Have I mentioned that already? Anyway, the crowd seemed satisfied with what they had heard and didn't make much of an effort to ask for a second encore. It was also very kind of the band to finish in time so that us old cheapskates who object to paying a taxi-driver £12 for a 3-mile trip could hop on a bus home.

All in all, great songs and a great performance by a great band. Shocking bar service, mind.

It's a good job that no-one has been able to take the band up on their word and destroy them. The world would be a much, much worse place without The Wildhearts.

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© JimBob, livemusicreview.co.uk

The views expressed in these reviews do not necessarily reflect those of the livemusicreview.co.uk team.

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