Twenty years ago, we were in the midst of the triumphant days of Britrock with a plethora of epic UK bands, carving out an entire scene that was very much all our own.
Colourful and varied artists such as Therapy?, 3 Colours Red, Ash, The Almighty , Joyrider, Headswim and Terrorvision occupied the rock consciousness and curveballed their way into the charts as a feisty alternative to Britpop.
However, the crown of the whole mid-nineties movement belonged to The Wildhearts. The song writing was in a different class, and Ginger Wildheart never fell into the predictability or complacence that some of the other bands were guilty of.
The 1995 “P.H.U.Q.” album that they treat us to tonight in its entirety demonstrates a marked evolution from the iconic first album, “Earth vs” with a feverish amalgamation of The Ramones, The Cardiacs, XTC, 1967 era Beatles, and a side order of crushing Metallica style riffingtons.
The band is on form, with the addition of Random Jon Poole on bass this time around, they chop out the album in short order, and the hardcore loyal crowd responds with blissful enthusiasm.
Highlights for me were the rarely heard “Just in Lust”, “Caprice” with its chorus that delivers like rainbow powder contrasted with a belligerent and twisting groove, “Jonesing for Jones”, and the highly emotive “In Lilly’s Garden”.
For some reason, the curfew at Rock City was ridiculously early again so the encore, certainly compared to Manchester the following night, was not as plentiful. However, the “Cheers” theme tune was something of an unexpected apogee, as was a fiery version of “Vanilla Radio”.
- I Wanna Go Where the People Go
- Just in Lust
- Baby Strange
- Nita Nitro
- Jonesing for Jones
- Woah Shit, You Got Through
- Cold Patootie Tango
- Be My Drug
- Naivety Play
- In Lilly’s Garden
- Getting It / Don’t Worry ’bout Me
- Vanilla Radio
- Sick of Drugs
- Mazel Tov Cocktail
- Cheers (Gary Portnoy cover)
- My Baby Is a Headfuck
Twenty five years on, The Wildhearts are still a force to be reckoned with. Past glories aside, one would be optimistic for a release of new material. Here’s hoping Ginger’s unbridled creativity will allow for this in the not too distant future.