Where to start? Right at the start, I guess. The journey to Scarborough from most places is a long one but it’s made much more enjoyable when you go by a place called Wetwang.
Once through the queue at the entrance to the grounds – which was moving surprisingly fast for once, despite a full body and bag search – it was a short walk up a hill, past the castle and out into the field where a large festival arena had been set up. The first thing to hit you was the noise from the main stage. It was loud. VERY loud.
The Tap proved a great choice of meeting place with the loud pumping rock music easily getting us in the mood for the gig to come. After playing spot the tune you recognise for twenty minutes (and coming out with a total of two – showing my age here) we ventured up to Rock City for the first band.
Shortly afterwards the second thing to hit you was the queue for the beer tent (£3 a pint) which was soon taking more than an hour. While I’m at it I must also mention the lack of vegetarian food on sale which was diabolical bearing in mind that you weren’t allowed to bring in any food yourself. On a cold day I need much more than a cheese sandwich and a Mars bar to get me through.
If you’ve seen the advertisements for this gig you’ll know that there were a lot of bands lined up. Due to a combination of laziness, apathy, old age, and not being prepared to cart several pints of lager in flimsy plastic glasses around the place I only saw from a distance most of the bands in the second tent. Bands that played here were; Kid Ego, Robochrist (too many samples of 80’s TV shows), Jackdaw 4, Plan A, Shortcut to Newark, Planet of Women, Days of Worth, and Hurricane Party.
On the main stage there was Johnny Panic (punky), Tokyo Dragons (very good, must buy the album), The Glitterati (OK but had hoped for better), Hanoi Rocks (shambolic due to microphones and guitar leads going AWOL but at least they freely admitted to it), InMe (too much nu-metal angst for my taste), and the Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster (absolutely effin awful, less said the better).
Finally it was time for Terrorvision and reportedly their last-ever gig. I’ll come clean right now and say that I’ve always loved TV. Of all the bands I’ve liked over the years I think that TV have got the lowest percentage of ‘poor’ songs in their back catalogue. Even what I consider to be their worst album, Shaving Peaches, has a lot of great songs on it and only a couple of duffers. No matter what mood I’m in I can always listen to TV which isn’t something I can say about many bands. The songs may not be ground-breaking classics but they’re nearly all very good.
The boys bounced on stage and opened up with Discotheque Wreck which, like so many of their songs, is perfect for festival pogo-ing. The crowd responded really well and carried on dancing throughout the set which included; Dog Chewed The Handle, Friends And Family, American TV, My House, Alice What’s The Matter?, Pretend Best Friend, Oblivion, Middleman, Some People Say, If I Was You, Josephine, D’Ya Wanna Go Faster, Fists of Fury, Tequila….and, finally, Perseverance.
This was a great set by a truly great band. Tony is an unpretentious down-to-earth front-man who dances around only slightly better than you or I might do if we ever had the opportunity to get up on stage. Musically they were brilliant, everything together and note-for-note perfect. Put simply, I can’t praise them highly enough. Well worth the entrance fee alone.
Next up on the main stage was the headline act, The Wildhearts, with Danny back on bass and Rich Battersby on drums. As this was being recorded for a DVD they predictably started with I Wanna Go Where The People Go. Once again, the crowd went mental which may actually have been a symptom of hypothermia setting in because it had been a long, cold day and some of us had only eaten a cheese sandwich all day.
Banter from Ginger between songs was at a premium, possibly because they were late coming on stage and had to be finished by 11pm, but there were pyrotechnics throughout which was unusual. It was also unusual to see Ginger smashing up two of his guitars before hurling them into the crowd, not to mention the electro-acoustic that was chucked in unbroken. The things you have to do for the cameras….
The set list was also made for television in that it contained all the classics with very few surprises in, most unlike any Wildhearts show I’ve seen before where there has always been a rarity dusted off; Sick Of Drugs, TV Tan, Caffeine Bomb, Suckerpunch, My Baby Is A Headf*ck, Everlone, Greetings From Sh*tsville, Nita Nitro, Stormy In The North Karma In The South, Geordie In Wonderland (the whole thing was sung by the crowd, it’ll be interesting to see how the wrong words/lines sound on the DVD), Vanilla Radio, Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes, 29 x The Pain, and Love U Til I Don’t.
All good songs and played very tightly but there was still something missing for me. It could have been the loss of a cosy atmosphere or sound quality that you get indoors, or maybe it was hypothermia once again clouding my judgement. Maybe seeing the band members walking around and signing autographs during the afternoon had got me too excited and built up my expectations unreasonably high.
Whatever the answer, my overwhelming reaction was that it was a good show but not one of their best. Despite this, every show/album by The Wildhearts is still worth catching and this was no exception. Hopefully there will be many more shows to follow and with any luck one day they might even play at a vegetarian festival in the midlands during the summer.