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21 December 2006: The Wildhearts - 'Christmas Vs The Wildhearts' - Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, England, UK
This might be brief because I’m writing it two weeks after the show and am – almost unbelievably - still feeling the after-effects of too much festive cheer lately. Some might say this brevity is a good thing because my Wildhearts reviews are probably becoming quite tedious for all concerned by now.
A combination of dense fog, Wolverhampton ’s barmy one-way system and the box office being located in a pub instead of inside the Hall itself meant that I missed a good chunk of the God Damn Whores, one of the support acts for the night. From what I did manage to see, Jon Poole and chums played a typically punky, rocky, bonkers set with all tracks taken from their recent album, ‘We Are The Lucky Thirteen’. (There are rumours that The Loyalties opened up proceedings but as I was probably on my fifth lap of the ring-road at that time I’m unable to confirm this)
Next up were Beat Union who reminded me of a cross between The Clash and The Jam which was a shame because I’ve never been a huge fan of either. Very ska, a bit punky, a bit of reggae……and possibly a bit of a strange choice to support The Wildhearts. They didn’t really rock my boat but, to be fair, they did put on a good show with lots of energy, enthusiasm and volume.
By now the Wulfrun was pretty much packed. It was nice to see that even after all these years The Wildhearts can still prove to be a popular draw, even if it was for a one-off Christmas special.
The start of the show was fantastic with 5 mostly golden-oldies; TV Tan, Caffeine Bomb, Vanilla Radio, Sick Of Drugs, and Nita Nitro. This was what I’d come to hear so I was absolutely loving it. New bassist, Scott Sorry, while looking a good 10 years’ younger than the rest of the band seemed to fit right in and played a blinder. Ritch Battersby on drums was being as tight and powerful as ever (having said that though, I do prefer a more raw, looser style for The Wildhearts, such as provided by Stidi). And Ginger and CJ just did what they always do, i.e. go a bit mental and pose respectively.
However, the next few songs – Everlone, Greetings From Shitsville, OCD - seemed to take some of the momentum out of the gig, possibly because they’re long numbers. It was at this point that I started looking around the stage (just a dull skyscraper scene for a backdrop, been used before I believe) and hoping for something else to excite me which was unusual. Maybe the pyrotechnics at Scarborough Castle had spoilt me and raised my expectations too high.
Either way, it was a relief when the opening bars of ‘My Baby Is A HeadF*ck’ were struck up, swiftly followed by the thrashy ‘Suckerpunch’. Back on track once again. To conclude the main set ‘Caprice’ was chugged out before Ginger and co left the stage promising to see us in a minute.
The encore began with Ginger on guitar accompanying the crowd who had started singing the old favourite, ‘Don’t Worry About Me’. This naturally segued into ‘Geordie In Wonderland’, again with Ginger leaving most of the vocals to the punters. The next number was a first, as far as I’m aware; ‘29x The Pain’ with Ginger still on guitar on his own but leaving the crowd to do the singing. It’s always nice to see the boys do something different but I don’t think playing one of their best, if not their best, song in this way was a creative turn worth making. Played properly with the full band this can be a show-stopper, make no mistake.
A new song (taken from their forthcoming album - woo-hoo!) followed which sounded as good as all of the rest before proceedings were closed off in flamboyant style with ‘Love U Til I Don’t’ and ‘I Wanna Go…’.
For me it was a great gig, slightly let down by a few songs halfway through. Regardless of this I’d still recommend that anyone with an ounce of musical taste in their body goes to see The Wildhearts or Ginger solo……but you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?
Set-list; Tv Tan / Caffeine Bomb / Vanilla Radio / Sick Of Drugs / Nita Nitro / Everlone / Greetings From Shitsville / OCD / My Baby Is A Headf*Ck / Suckerpunch / Caprice / [Break] / Don't Worry 'Bout Me (With Audience Participation) / Geordie In Wonderland (With Audience Participation) / 29x The Pain (With Audience Participation) / New Song / Love U Til I Don't / I Wanna Go Where The People Go
© 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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