It’s Friday night, spirits are high and most importantly… The Wildhearts are in town.
This is a one of a kind (for the UK, anyway), limited edition and unique show; we are all here together to celebrate the 20th (ish) birthday of ‘Fishing For Luckies’ and reliving a mighty fine period in musical history. The mid-nineties spawned a lot of legendary music on these British shores; but for a certain corner of society, tonight will see the kings of that era take to the stage for another hair-raising nostalgia trip.
The Wildhearts may not have been major household names as other bands of the time were, but for us here at CackBlabbath and the rest of the folk in this room tonight; they were the best. And they still are…
This magical gig is also at a venue steeped in Wildheart history and it just so happens to be one of our favourite dark and dingy rooms in the country. Rock City is the perfect venue for the album to be blasted out live and a grand old place for us to sing along to it.
We’ve already got the commemorative t-shirt on… let’s do this!
First on the bill are The Main Grains. Led by ex-Wildheart and all round bass legend Danny Mccormack, the inclusion of this bunch of punks makes the occasion as a whole, feel even more like a family affair. We were in Leeds last year to see Danny and Ginger put aside their differences on stage and it’s good to see them out on tour with The Wildhearts proper this time.
There is of course one little difference from that Leeds show… Danny is missing a half a leg. It doesn’t stop him belting out the bass lines to our new favourite tunes… ‘Unscrewed’, ‘Happy Round Here’ and our favourite newbie ‘Spend You Money’ are all corkers from the latest E.P.
‘Teenage Kicks’ suits the band’s uncomplicated approach to business and set closer ‘Keeping On, Keeping On’ ensures that The Wildhearts are not the only ones who can pull on our nostalgic strings tonight.
The Main Grains are a great start to the night and the beers are officially flowing. Apart from Danny who “Feels weird to be sober in here”!
Another band that were out with Ginger last summer were Massive Wagons, and they’re also back for more here tonight. The band have been making a lot of friends with The Wildhearts camp, winning over plenty of new fans with every show. Now, not to show off or anything but we’ve seen Massive Wagons more times than we’ve had hot dinners… sometimes twice a day, so we already know that we’re in for a treat.
As usual, Barry is the awkward, shy and retiring frontman… whatever!
He bursts out onto the stage dressed in his best white trousers and high kicking from the start, the rest of the band are welcomed like heroes too. Sandwiched in between two Wildhearts on the bill may not be ideal, it makes you the odd one out. If anyone was worried about that, then the thought was soon blasted away by the ‘Wagons.
The band belt out some of our favourites such as ‘Red Dress’ and ‘Tokyo’ but for something a bit different, a song dedicated to Rick Parfitt and the Quo given recent events, ‘Bach to The Stack’ was some marvellous entertainment. There’s lot’s of headshaking going on all of a sudden…
A short break and we’re underway again with the main event. The lights go down and the intro to ‘Inglorious’ kicks in on the tape.
The band hit the stage under the cover of blue smog and belt out that glorious riff that we’ve been waiting for since this show was announced. As much as we love photo’ing gigs, we really wish we were out on the dancefloor bouncing around to this one. A ‘difficult’ yet utterly brilliant pop rock song that we could quite literally listen to all day…
Next up it’s the one-two punch of a couple of big hits from the era. ‘Red light…’ and ‘Sick of Drugs’ are common in the Wildie’s setlist; but we’re not complaining, there’s plenty of rarer stuff to come!
If we told you ‘Moods, Swings & Roundabouts’ was one of our favourite songs ever, would you belive us. A bit of an odd choice… but it is. To hear it live is always a joy. Similarly, ‘In Like Flynn’ is an oddball preference from The Wildhearts catalogue, but we love it!
The band appear in high spirits and Ginger limits his banter between songs but still has time for some chat. He also has time to organise a whip-round which culminates in the crowd throwing money onto the stage.
“Okay, can you stop throwing sharp metal objects onto the stage now…”
To finish up the ‘Fishing For Luckies’ business, it is of course ‘Sky Babies’. An epic fan favourite that has been played live before but not nearly as many times as it has been requested… to witness it in all it’s glory is just brilliant with all the chops and changes clearly engraved into our memories. All there is to do is raise a pint glass and sing along in our slightly drunken state for the full twelve minutes worth.
As the band say their farewells and ‘Nite Songs’ loops over the PA, we’re pretty sure that this encore is going to be a special one…
As Danny hobbles back out on stage and plonks onto his stool, special status is confirmed!
It has to be said that not all of the Wildhearts get on that well for one reason or another, but when they are onstage – and we’ll include Danny in this one – they look and sound like the tightest band of brothers out there. Smiles beam around the stage to match ours in the crowd and when you have just played one of your biggest albums in full, but still have: wait for it…
My Baby Is A Headfuck
Geordie In Wonderland
I Wanna Go Where The People Go
29x The Pain
(and The Duck Song)
for the encore… well, you have a special band indeed!
We went to a couple of the ‘PHUQ’ anniversary shows last year and we went to a couple of ‘Earth Vs…’ album birthday shows too. By our money, they are probably both better, more complete albums than ‘Fishing For Luckies’. However, the very fact that this album has a few more curveballs and the fact that the air just brimmed with celebration on and off stage all night long; it all just seemed to make it a one-off very special occasion.
That was one of the best Wildhearts shows we’ve seen in ages, and there have been a fair few good ones to clock up!