THE WILDHEARTS | Diagnosis | ALBUM REVIEW

The Wildhearts | Diagnosis | Album review

wildhearts - diagnosis

Review by: Graeme J Baty

Rarely a reformation can be justified as more than a cash grab and offer up music that lives up to the original material. The Wildhearts have managed to pull that rare feat off and have surprised many with their hugely popular return LP Renaissance Men. They’ve had a fantastic 2019 and with a bolstered by that momentum and they returned to the studio to record a handful of tracks. Those tracks have become the mini-LP Diagnosis, it’s a very welcome surprise and finds them taking full advantage of their top creative form and adding five new songs to their already impressive back catalogue.

The title track is plucked from their last LP and quite rightly deserves it’s own time under the spotlight, quite easy to miss it in an album packed with outstanding tracks. It begins as a 70s style stadium fist in the air anthem and builds into an inestimable earworm. The song has crept into my sub-conscience and I’ve found myself singing it for the last few weeks! It’s another fine example of Ginger’s songwriting skills. I really commend him for his openness with his depression battles, it certainly helped me get through an incredibly difficult time in my life. Perhaps this is why I’ve connected so much with this track, it gives you that uplifting PMA that is absolutely essential on those bad days.

God Damn offers up that unmistakeable fantastic CJ/Ginger vocal combo for a delightful pop-tinged rock song. Giving you a good feel for what is to come for the rest of the album. That’s My Girl sees Ritch taking vocal duties and it’s an absolute classic, which wouldn’t feel out of place on Earth vs. LOCAC brings things to an abrupt and brutal ending. Leaving you wanting more. Diagnosis is a short, fast-paced, no-nonsense affair it’s over in under 23 minutes but makes for a perfect companion to Renaissance Men.

The Wildhearts in whatever shape or form are a band to be reckoned with and 2019 has certainly been their year. Two stunning releases, sold-out shows and countless festivals. Long live The Wildhearts!

Out on 4th Oct 2019

FRANK TURNER | THE WILDHEARTS | 13.07.2019 | Wasteland Festival | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls | The Wildhearts | Holy Moly and The Crackers | Beans on Toast – 13th July 2019 – Wasteland Festival

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls – 12th July 2019 – Wasteland Festival

Review by Lee Hammond and photos by Graeme J Baty

The second day of Wasteland festival had also been moved at short notice, tonight though the venue feels significantly cooler than last nights sweat box. Arriving in time for local band Holy Moly and The Crackers, they set about starting the party as early as possible. A fun packed set as they entertain this exuberant early crowd with their own brand of folk punk. Bounding round the stage in enthusiastic fashion it sets a huge precedent for everyone who is to follow them.

From a local band of reprobates to a lone man, Beans On Toast slopes on to the stage to an excited reception. Straight into tearing a strip off Donald and Boris it’s clear Beans On Toast is in the mood for a party, he rattles off a plethora of his better known tracks including the chant-along MDMAmazing, which never fails to induce a brilliant reaction. He then offers it out to the audience to request tracks, only to find most of those they’re after he can’t play.

It provides a fun end to a brilliant set, completely different to those that went before him, yet still no less compelling. There is no set style or genre tonight as next up are local legends The Wildhearts, personally requested by Frank Turner to play a special hometown show tonight. They’re a band who waste very little time in chatting, instead it’s heads down for this short set as they crank out riff after riff and hit after hit.

It’s a jam packed set, early on the brilliant Everlone has a multitude of heads nodding along in unison. With the likes of Suckerpunch quickly following after, new track Let ‘Em Go sees Frank Turner hopping on stage and bounding around in suitably ecstatic fashion as he helps out with this track. They power through to the end of this insatiable set, you’d be forgiven for assuming they were tonight’s headliners with a set as tight as this.

As the lights dim for the final time at this years Wasteland festival, Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls file out on to the stage and immediately take the roof off with an astounding rendition of Get Better. It kick starts a hit filled set in which you can barely hear Frank and his band as Long Live The Queen, Photosynthesis, Polaroid Picture, Plain Sailing Weather all invoke massive sing-alongs.

There are few artists that can control a crowd in the way Frank Turner does, tonight he is on top form. Creating a circle pit, inciting deafening chants filled with heartfelt passion, for a moment it brings about that ecstatic feeling that takes you away from everything else. The odd track from Be More Kind softening the tone ever so slightly but he soon picks the pace back up.

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls – 12th July 2019 – Wasteland Festival

The end of his set is an exceptional run through some of his most angst filled work, The Next Storm, Try This At Home, Recovery, I Still Believe and finally the ever brilliant Four Simple Words. It’s insane from start to finish this crowd moving as one, bouncing up and down to every beat. All lead in song by Frank, it is truly a sight to behold as we leave hoarse wishing it wasn’t over. Once again Frank Turner proving why he is one of the finest live acts in the country if not the world.


Photos are Copyright Graeme J. Baty (Blank Slate Creative Ltd). All rights reserved.

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BLOC PARTY | CIRCA WAVES | MYSTERY JETS | 12.07.2019 | Wasteland Festival | REVIEW and PHOTOS

Bloc Party | Circa Waves | Mystery Jets – 12th July 2019 – Wasteland Festival

Review by Lee Hammond and photos by Graeme J Baty

Bloc Party – 12th July 2019 – Wasteland Festival

After moving venue at the last minute, the show must go on and tonight the O2 Academy Newcastle throws its doors open to a horde of people expecting the best in nostalgic mid noughties indie. Opening the show The Mystery Jets kick things off to a lively start, their excitable style mixed with infectious choruses has everyone up and dancing. Their set mainly filled with newer tracks but the appearance of Young Love is a welcome addition to this short set.

Continuing on a theme of insatiable groove ridden choruses and spritely Indie Rock, Circa Waves hit the stage next. The relatively young band sandwiched between two stalwarts of the indie scene, they put on an excitable set. They appear to be as excited as everyone else, it’s not long before they have the ever-swelling crowd in full verse. Frontman Kieran is quick to get everyone clapping and singing as best as he can.

The likes of Fossils and Stuck in my Teeth are instant highlights in this energetic set, but they save the best until last. Finishing off in style with a riotous rendition of T-Shirt Weather, which has this entire crowd in song. An impressive way to finish any set, as they set this now packed out crowd up for Bloc Party.

As the lights dim, the band make their way on to the stage to a rapturous reception from this packed crowd. The heat inside the venue is soaring as outside the rain continues to pour (I bet you’re glad it’s been moved inside now). Opening with Compliments, the band have opted for a different take on playing their debut album in full, where most bands would play from start to finish.

Bloc Party decide to play from the end through to the beginning, it’s a slow build as the first few tracks lack the energy of the hits that otherwise litter the album. However, they hit their stride during This Modern Love and from there they’re firing on all cylinders. Hit after hit follows, you really cannot fault Bloc Party on this occasion, Blue Light, Banquet, Helicopter, Like Eating Glass everything sounds exceptional.

There is the obvious miss of the fact that this isn’t the original lineup but that matters less and less as Kele’s signature style permeates throughout the venue. Leaving the stage after the main event they return for a few tracks mainly those from Weekend In The City, all of which are welcome additions to this blistering set. Hunting For Witches and The Prayer are obvious favourites as they cap off an incredible set in style.

THE WILDHEARTS | MASSIVE WAGONS | TOWERS OF LONDON | 12.05.2019 | Newcastle Riverside | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Wildhearts | Massive Wagons | Towers Of London – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

The Wildhearts - 12th May 2019 - Newcastle Riverside
The Wildhearts – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

Review and photos by Graeme J. Baty from Blank Slate Creative

Well what can I say about this gig? The final night of The Wildhearts triumphant tour for the launch of their 2019 album Renaissance Men and some might say (not us at Blank Slate we’ve always been massive fans!) unexpected return to the big time.

Towers of London – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

There was tremendous showmanship on display from the support acts. In fact, both Towers of London and Massive Wagons proved an absolute hoot to photo. So rather than just share a couple of pics from their sets I will add full photo galleries of each band’s set in separate features 🙂

Towers of London have also reformed and are enjoying themselves immensely by the looks of things. They ended their set with members of Massive Wagons joining them onstage for underpants dances and backing vocals on Fuck It Up. MW followed with their own set of high kicking rock anthems to a packed Riverside crowd, fans clearly here in numbers nice and early to see all of the bands.

Massive Wagons – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

It’s my first time seeing The Wildhearts live in about 3 and a half years, although I’ve interviewed and covered solo shows during this gap, this is the first time I’ve been able to get to one of their gigs due to gig clashes, ill health or general bad luck!

The Wildhearts – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

It’s a privilege to get the chance to photo and review a band that I’ve followed since I was about 14 years old when I heard Suckerpunch for the first time. They will always have a little spot in my heart with their catchy and timeless back catalogue of classics and barrage of riffs that send shivers down my spine each time I hear them.

The outro of Everlone is a great example of that, one of the finest pieces of rock riffage I’ve ever encountered. Which is no mean feat when you break down that song riff by riff, it’s shear quota of classic riffs eclipses many bands entire careers in just one song. It appears tonight second song in, nice and early. There was the expectation that they might not play some of the Earth Vs Material prior to the tour since they’ve played that material very heavily for its 25th-anniversary last year.

The Wildhearts know how to deliver a setlist with a selection that is sure to keep the diehards happy and entertain the casual fans. I haven’t bee able to get Dislocated out of my head for nearly a week now. It’s a pure slice of 2019 perfection, ‘I feel dislocated from your world’ is a sentiment I can relate to far too much. The world needs The Wildhearts. It’s a brutal barrage of a song that slides effortlessly into singalong choruses that only The Wildhearts can pull off. The more I hear it the more I adore it.

The Wildhearts – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

It’s an ecstatic night and the whole band appear to be having the time of their lives. It was great to see Danny back there and grinning away. It truly is a remarkable sound that this gang of four chaps can make, the love for them is on clear display from the sold-out Newcastle crowd. Singing and dancing away for the entire set. Including the new numbers which gain a rapturous reaction.

The Wildhearts – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

Renaissance Men will feature on many rock albums of the year list and quite rightly so. The Wildhearts were always super popular in Newcastle but now there’s an air of excitement and maybe some ‘I told you so’ smugness from the fans who have followed them religiously for years since they’re now getting more attention from media and a wider audience.

The Wildhearts – 12th May 2019 – Newcastle Riverside

The Wildhearts in whatever shape or form have always been brilliant and will always be one of Britains best rock bands. They deserve every ounce of praise they’ve earned from this tour and album. What a gig!

PHOTO GALLERY

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Photos are Copyright Graeme J. Baty (Blank Slate Creative Ltd). All rights reserved.

Please credit if re-posting thanks 🙂 Image usage FAQ

For prints or licensing requests please contact us