An unfeasibly early curfew time of 10pm meant that the Rock City doors opened at 6pm. This contributed to me missing virtually the entire first support act, Superreal, so unfortunately I can’t say anything about them. The second support, The Loyalties, came on stage soon afterwards and were OK on first impressions with a sound similar in some ways to The Wildhearts which, of course, is great. Plus it’s always a bonus when a band gives away a free demo CD of their music in an attempt to spread the word.
At this point I should add that this gig was surprisingly taking place in the (apparently sold-out) smaller room downstairs in Rock City. I don’t know if this was due to low ticket sales, wanting to keep the main room free for nightclub action after 10pm, or whatever but it was certainly the first time The Wildhearts had not been given the main room as far as I’m aware. Either way, I sincerely hope it’s not a sign of a decreasing fan-base because this band is still too good after all these years to go out with a whimper.
Ginger, CJ, Rich and Scott appeared on stage to a rapturous reception around 8.30pm. This was the first time I’d seen Ginger without his trademark dreadlocks and I must say he looks older now, possibly even a little chubbier – but don’t worry, that’s as critical as I’m going to get.
The band launched into a classy start with old tunes, such as ‘Greetings…’, ‘Vanilla Radio’, ‘TV Tan’, ‘Caffeine Bomb’, and ‘Everlone’, which always gets a gig off to a flyer. The songs continued to come thick and fast with Ginger only briefly pausing between songs to say that there wasn’t going to be much time for chat. As a result it was a full-on, intense, fire-cracker of a show.
The Wildhearts seemed up for a great time, full of energy and enthusiasm which bodes well for their American tour. Song selection was also top class with possibly even a better mix of old and new than usual. As a huge fan of the golden-oldie, ‘Weekend’, it always greatly enhances my appreciation of a gig when it’s played. The newer songs, ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’, ‘Destroy All Monsters’, ‘Rooting For The Bad Guy’, and in particular ‘The Hard Way’, all went down really well with the heaving and sweating crowd, the latter surely to become another classic.
The only significant pause between songs came when Ginger announced he’d been having a clear-out prior to moving house and had found a pack of playing cards featuring ‘freaks’ of the world which he proceeded to throw into the crowd; “Here’s another one for you – the bearded lady…..yeaurgh…..a three-headed snake…..Jesus……and I don’t even know what the f*ck that is……”
Other highlights were ‘Sick Of Drugs’ and ‘Love U Til I Don’t’, two timeless classics which I could listen to on an endless loop. And to finish; ‘29 x The Pain’, ‘Headfuck’, and ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ – it doesn’t really get any better than that.
Aprrox set-list; Greetings From Shitsville / Vanilla Radio / TV Tan / Caffeine Bomb / Everlone / The Revolution Will Be Televised / OCD / Nita Nitro / Suckerpunch / Destroy All Monsters / Sick Of Drugs / Love U ‘Til I Don’t / The Hard Way / Weekend / Rooting For The Bad Guy / 29 x The Pain / Headfuck / I Wanna Go Where The People Go