19 September 2009: The Wildhearts + Black Spiders + No Americana – Rock City, Nottingham, England, UK

First support was provided by No Americana; 4 young fellas, sounded alright, not really my bag though. The second support act was Black Spiders; loved this lot, whiffs of Sacred Reich, Motorhead and AC/DC which is meant as a compliment, rocked hard and heavy without resorting to the just-need-to-be-fast-to-be-heavy angle – highly recommended. They’re supporting The Answer (a.k.a. poor man’s Black Crowes) soon and I might go along just to catch the Black Spiders.

Rock City had filled up by this stage and I’d guess wasn’t far short, if at all, of being a sellout. It’s great to see people coming out for The Wildhearts once again after a brief lull in their apparent popularity (or marketing).

The Wildhearts came onstage just after 8pm and played the new Chutzpah! album from start to finish as the first half of their set. Even though it’s relatively new, the crowd seemed well into it and helped out with choruses where required. Personal favourites were The Jackson Whites, The Only One and Mazel Tov Cocktail. As on the album, vocal duties were shared by usual singer Ginger, Scott Sorry on bass and CJ on guitar.

The whole band really seemed to be enjoying themselves and appreciating the response of the crowd. Ginger in particular was in a great mood with a huge grin barely leaving his face. Later on, he was so happy that he even necked the best part of a pint of red wine with a little encouragement from Scott.

If I had to be slightly critical I would say the live performance of the songs didn’t really add much to the album versions; sometimes a track can seem to get a life of it’s own when played live. Don’t get me wrong, they were all played superbly – very tidy musicianship, great singing and thoroughly enjoyable. Perhaps it’s because their album performances are so polished these days that it’s not easy to improve on them live.

A special quick mention must go to Ritch Battersby on drums. I’ve been a lifelong fan and he didn’t disappoint tonight. Hard and heavy but always controlled, quick-fire but always tidy, a perfect drummer in other words.

After a short break, the band appeared back on stage to begin a more typical best-of set. Yes, it was the same old songs we’ve heard hundreds of times before but I, and the rest of the crowd, loved every single minute of it. How to pick a highlight? With great difficulty. These are all Brit rock classics which perfectly show off what The Wildhearts have always done best; effortlessly catchy riffs, great harmonies, sing-a-long choruses and destined to get any crowd going. New additions to the set were verses of Living On A Prayer (thankfully only brief) and Peppa Pig (don’t worry, if you don’t have kids you probably won’t have heard this).

Shame they had to be finished by 10pm as it was a club night at Rock City. Even so, The Wildhearts packed enough into the previous 2 hours to satisfy everyone.

Loved The Wildhearts, loved Black Spiders, loved the gig.

Set list; The Jackson Whites/Plastic Jebus/The Only One/John Of ViolenceYou are proof that not all women are insane/Tim Smith/Low Energy Vortex/You took the sunshine from New York/Mazel Tov Cocktail Chutzpah/Break/Nothing Ever Changes/I Wanna Go Where the People Go/Nita Nitro /Sick of Drugs/Caffeine Bomb/Suckerpunch/Headf**k/29 x The Pain