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.

Please credit if re-posting thanks 🙂 Image usage FAQ

For prints or licensing requests please contact us

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

Click a thumbnail to view fullscreen


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

CJ WILDHEART | April 2019 | Talking about Renaissance Men, UK tour and more | INTERVIEW

CJ Wildheart from The Wildhearts talks to us about the new album ‘Renaissance Men’, their UK tour and more!

Graeme had a chat with CJ while he rehearses for the upcoming tour. If you follow Blank Slate you’ll know that a good proportion of the staff are Wildhearts fanatics, so it’s always fantastic to have a band you look up to taking time to speak to us. And, as is becoming a tradition with The Wildhearts we’ve asked the fans to help out with some questions too! Huge thank you to everyone that sent questions in. We didn’t have time to ask them all as the standard was really high! Hope you enjoy…

Hi CJ what are you up to today and how are things going? 

Just running through stuff for the tour because I hardly ever play the guitar if I’m not working so I do a bit of prep, it’s kinda like getting back on a bicycle I suppose, I’m not one of those annoying guitar players that just play all the time, I have other things to do. Well, any musician that does it professionally you get into it because of the lifestyle and I’d be lying if I said I became a musician just because I wanted to play the guitar, there are other things as well that enticed me into the profession. As I’ve got older there’s other things, I need to look after my parents as they’re elderly and I’ve got a 4-year-old son and there’s other things I like doing, I don’t wake up every morning and wanna rock, I save that for when I’m on tour.

Playing live shows is what it’s all about ultimately, any musician that makes music wants to be able to replicate the recorded sound on stage. So yeah playing live is the goal. But I don’t drink to excess anymore, I don’t do drugs anymore or party like a headless chicken but you know I enjoyed my times as a complete and utter fool (laughs).

The reaction to the new material is rather positive thus far. How are you finding the reaction?

How could anyone not like that sort of reaction and I haven’t read a bad review yet and there is a bunch of other reviews that haven’t come out yet and I’ve been privileged to see already and they’re stacking up, we haven’t had a bad review and you can’t complain. It’s been a while since our last album Chutzpah came out in 2009 and the fact that it’s been that long you do get nervous, you don’t know how people are gonna receive a new album after a decade.

To be honest, as we’ve haven’t actually made an album in ten years when we approached this album we spent a bit of time in the rehearsal studio and we did demos too and we deliberately stripped down the sound as well and kind of approached it like a band doing their first album again. We didn’t double track any of the vocals or rhythm guitars, it’s got a bit of a stripped down punk rock ethic about it and a band that has been around for as long as us, we could have spent months layering up stuff and big harmonies but we wanted people to hear the band as we are live and that’s two guitars, bass, drums and some nice harmonies and some screamy shouty bits!

Where was the album recorded? 

It was recorded in a place called The Treehouse in Chesterfield out in the countryside. What happened is we were approached by one of the engineers there to do some demos and we loved the sound we got, so we just carried on and did the album there.

Where are you based at the moment?

Well our management are based in Saltaire just outside Bradford and I live in Harrogate, Ginger and Ritchie live in York, so kind of Yorkshire but Danny still lives up in Newcastle.

Does that make practising releasing difficult?

Well, I live 18 miles away from Ginger and Ritchie then Danny is like an hour away by train, so we’re all kind of in the Northeast again. I’ve been here for about 6 years now and Ritchie’s been here for about 15. I dunno how we all ended up so close together. Flat caps and pork pies all round!

Was it a full band effort for songwriting?

Well, I’ve got a song on the album, which I wrote at home. What we do is; Ginger comes up with acoustic ideas, brings them on his dictaphone sends them over to me and Ritch, we have a listen, go to the rehearsal studio and build up from those parts where it’s just him and an acoustic and his voice and we build up a song and dissect it. Then we record the rehearsal and then we go home, learn the rehearsal and we end up demoing the song and from the demo, we have an idea of how an album is going to turn out. But we don’t all sit in a room and write songs together, we bring a strong idea to the table and we all work on it as a band.

Dislocated is easily the heaviest thing you’ve released in a long time. Is that a deliberate statement of intent for the record?

I think with The Wildhearts we can go either way, we can go really poppy or go really heavy and on this album, we found a middle ground. I’ve heard people compare elements of the album to Endless Nameless but I think the band has always had that kind of sound in them, a really dirty sound. Endless Nameless kind of pushed it too far because for me that album has some beautiful songs on it but they’re buried a bit too much under noise. We had elements of that noise on this album but we’ve always had a bit of punk, a bit of rock ’n’ roll, a bit of metal, I think we all make a noisier sounding album but it’s really important that those melodies shine through and they do! You know they’re not buried under dirt or layers and layers of distortion. When we need to be melodic we’re ridiculously melodic and when we need to be heavy we’ll take your face off!  We’re doing what we do best and that is confuse people.

The UK tour is imminent. What can we expect on the setlist for the tour?

Well, that’s what I’m rehearsing at the moment. We’re not gonna go out and do all brand new songs and stuff. Fans might wanna hear the whole new album back to back but you’ve gotta create a vibe, you’ve got to balance a set-out. Obviously, we’re moving away from the set we did last year which was heavy on the Earth Vs stuff. We’ve been around a long time so we’ve got a lot of songs but you know we’re still gonna do Everlone and Suckerpunch we’d be crazy not to do those songs but we’re gonna pad it out with old stuff and some brand new stuff too but we’re not gonna kill the vibe. I’ve seen a lot of bands fall on their swords by going out there and just playing terrible new stuff and fans although they look and listen you want them to go crazy as well as sing along so you know we’ve put together a really good well-paced set. If you don’t like it fuck ya! (laughs).

Recorded with the original Earth Vs lineup. How did the lineup reunion come about?

With Danny back in the band he has such a distinctive bass sound, it’s almost like having two bass players in the band. For what he lacks in legs he makes up in sound. Well, Danny was kind of out in the wilderness for some time, he’s healthy now, well everyone knows the reason why Danny wasn’t in the band, if old habits hadn’t died then he wouldn’t be back in the band. So the timing was right and we’ve been threatening to make an album for a long time but it just didn’t happen. It just felt right, after we did that Brit Rock tour last year and we didn’t know how it was gonna go down and we didn’t know how we were gonna get on but it just seemed to click, we just kind of fallen on our feet again and the result is this new album. It’s great hearing me Danny, Ginger and Ritch together we seem to have a chemistry, the minute we fire up we make that really good tuneful racket.

If you had one word to describe how you feel about your musical career what would it be?

Urm! Disappointed? No… Chaotic! Yeah, there’s been far too much chaos really. If I could change things I would but I’m thankful I can still bring home a little bit of bacon from making music.

On that note what would you see yourself doing if you hadn’t chosen a life in music?

When I hit 40 I gave up music for three years, it was the end of the Chutzpah tour and we had really shit management at the time and at the end of the tour I got paid and was like “is this it?!” And I went “fuck this!”. So when I hit 40 I stopped smoking, stopped drinking, stopped doing drugs and I ran a little cleaning crew in London for a couple of years, we ended up cleaning like really big mansions and cleaning after suicides and stuff like that. So for a couple of years I completely forgot about music and did this really strange other job and it really helped me appreciate how lucky I was to be able to make money from playing and then what brought me back was Mable. When I recorded Mable that was me, I moved up to Yorkshire and I thought right I either start another business or I go back into music. So Mable was the outcome of me going back into music which led to me becoming a professional musician again and just thanking my lucky stars that I can still do this. I’ve been a musician all my life, I had a job when I was about 18 but I signed my first record deal when I was 18, so I always consider myself a musician. My Dad, he has dementia and Parkinsons now but he always used to say to me “you’ve chosen this path and you really need to stick to it” and “I know you’ve had ups and downs with your health and money”. Being a musician isn’t plain sailing, I think you’ve got have something seriously wrong with you to want to live that sort of lifestyle but I’ve stuck to my guns and I’m still doing it so I feel lucky.

FAN QUESTIONS

I’ve asked some Wildhearts fans to contribute some questions. I’ve never known a band have such a dedicated fanbase. How do you find the fans and their devotion to the music?

A lot of people say that yeah, I mean they are kind of like family as much as some of them scare us (laughs) we appreciate having such a loyal fanbase!

Andrew Holmes asks… Is there a long term plan for The Wildhearts (more albums after Renaissance Men maybe?) Or is it a case of one small step at a time and see how things go?

Well we’re celebrating our 30th anniversary so I mean you don’t get much more long term than that and the fact that we can still talk and get on stage together and you  know as much as people I the band and the people around us “well you’re never gonna have another album again” but we’ve managed to make another album. Me and Ginger formed the band in 1989 so if that isn’t an indication of how long term this band is then nothing is. You never know with this band people come and go but I’d like to see this as the lineup that carries us on to our late 50s and early 60s, who knows!

Gary Davidson asks… have you read Gary Davidson’s Wildhearts book Zealot in Wonderland yet? If so what did you think of it?

I skirted through it, yes. I read it although I’m not a book reader anymore. When he gave it to me I did have a leaf through it. Personally, I never read books about other musicians or bands and stuff, all bands kind of have the same story… started out young, got a record deal, got into the charts, toured a lot, took too many drugs, fucked too many women, hated each other and then reluctantly reformed the band again and they only do it for the money, that’s what all bands are like, us included (laughs).

Adam Hayes asks… When are we going to get a Jellys tour?

I almost reformed the band but really honestly I don’t have the time to do the Jellys. If I had the time to do something else I’d have to do another solo album, it’s really important to me because I have another solo album in me that I just haven’t recorded yet. With my Wildheart commitments and the fact that I have to frail parents and a four-year-old, it’s like I just don’t have that much free time to do the Jellys stuff but if I had the time to do something else it’d defiantly be a solo album.

Tim Croydon asks… Any chance of a solo tour soon?

Definitely. I wanted to put out a solo album this year but it’s not gonna happen it’ll probably be next year and then I will put a band together and tour again.

Neil Vary asks… Any plans to relaunch Devil Spit hot sauce? My food just ain’t the same without it.

Yes! The other thing I had to stop because of the time thing, I just couldn’t commit to it, so I wound down everything on the solo side. But the minute the next solo album is out I’m relaunching the sauce. It all goes in cahoots it all goes as a package so as soon as I get that solo album record then the hot sauce is coming back! I love it, I actually love the sauce and I haven’t got any of the bottles anymore, I do miss it. There is a demand out there but I’ll have to wait a bit longer.

Which leads nicely into Maree Thompson’s question… Madame Jeannette, Wiri Wiri or Carolina Reaper?

Oh Carolina Reaper all the way! It’s my favourite chilli the Carolina Reaper. I’m a sadist when it comes to chilli, I like to be hurt!

Austin William Hale asks… what is your favourite cheese?

Cheese?! Good question I like that! God, there’s so many cheeses. Erm. I am gonna have to go for a cave-aged cheddar. There’s a really really good one that has truffles running through it.  The only place I used to get it in is Selfridges when I was in London. I do like a really good vintage cheddar cheese, I really do! Not Dairylea!

Paul Radford asks… what is your favourite Red Dwarf episode?

Oh brilliant. I think it is either Polymorph II or Quarantine with Mr Flibble! And I like Dwayne Dibbly the Duke of Dork!

Peter Harding asks what do you think of the current state of the UK rock scene and are there any bands who he would recommend listening to?

To be honest I don’t really follow the UK rock scene. I have tinnitus so I try not to listen to loud music when I don’t have to, so I don’t go to gigs. When I’m I the car I listen to a lot of classical music as it kind of calms me, if I listen to rock I have road rage. So I don’t really follow the UK rock scene. But the two bands that are out touring with us. The Towers of London are good, it’s great that they’re back together and Massive Wagons are really good and I love the singer Baz, he’s such a great frontman. That’s when I normally get to see bands when they’re opening up for us but I don’t really follow the rock press. I tend to hear bands from Ginger’s recommendations as he really has his finger on the pulse of all new music, so does Ritch as well but he’s like me, he likes a lot more dancier stuff and dub and I like melodic hip-hop, I mean the whole band we have quite eclectic tastes when it comes to music.

Catch The Wildhearts in May around the country, including a stop at Newcastle Riverside on the 12th May 2019!

THE WILDHEARTS, REEF, TERRORVISION and DODGY | Britrock Must Be Destroyed | 20.05.2018 | Newcastle O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Wildhearts, Reef, Terrorvision and Dodgy – Britrock Must Be Destroyed – 20th May 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy

Review by Kevin Burdon, photos by Gordon Armstrong 

While I don’t recall “Britrock” ever actually being an actual thing back in the 90s and 00s, the label serves as a canny promotional tactic to package up four of the most prominent rock acts of the era on a single tour. Let’s face it, if the banner has brought together a lineup consisting of The Wildhearts, Terrorvision and Reef (rotating as headliners across the tour) with support from Dodgy, who’s complaining?! The strategy seems to have paid off nicely, with a very healthy turnout in the Academy on Sunday night.

On paper, Dodgy seemed to be a bit of a lightweight addition to the bill when compared to the rest of the lineup, but they performed well and got the night off to a good start.  It certainly didn’t hurt that they have a couple of classic hits (Staying Out for the Summer and Good Enough) in the arsenal to kick off the nostalgia vibe and get the party started and they got a really warm response from the steadily growing crowd.

Terrorvision frontman Tony Wright is probably one of the most energetic performers you’re likely to witness. He never stopped bouncing around the stage for the entire set, never seeming out of breath even when delivering the rapid-fire lyrics of Perseverance. The band were on great form and the audience were in fine voice too, assisting Tony heartily with the likes Alice What’s the Matter, Celebrity Hit List and Josephine. They powered through a set of hits (plentiful enough that they were able to leave out the chart-busting pop of Tequila in favour of some of the more hard rocking tracks), before spectacularly bouncy rendition of Oblivion brought a close to their phenomenal set, which on any other night would have justifiably worthy of the headline slot.

There had been a few critical voices in some online communities when Reef had been announced for this gig, and there was a sense that in certain quarters they had been written off before playing a single note. While they might not have been everyone’s proverbial cuppa at the start of the night, a confident performance of their groove-laden alt-rock certainly seemed to win over their doubters and the band got a great response from the crowd. The old songs Place your Hands and Come Back Brighter were very well received, but also the new material such as Revelation was impressive, with a much more straight up classic rock kind of vibe to it. Even some of the slower songs like My Sweet Love went down very well with what was a predominantly hard rock crowd, with frontman Gary Stringer impressing with his versatile vocal abilities throughout the set.

As a hometown show for Ginger & Danny, the Wildhearts were the obvious choice of headliner for the Newcastle date and as such got an additional 15 minutes of stage time. In an interview prior to the gig Ginger had promised to “only play the songs that will make the audience sing and dance”, and true to his word the next 75 minutes were stacked with the riffs and infectious melodies the band are renowned for. Hit followed hit followed hit without reprieve, and even the double whammy of Suckerpunch straight into Caffeine Bomb didn’t tire the crowd, who bounced and sang along loudly to every word throughout the set. The band have recently reformed after a few years’ hiatus, during which they’ve had to overcome several of their own individual personal battles (while still finding time to record some superb solo projects), and they seemed to be reinvigorated with renewed enthusiasm on stage. If this energy can be carried over into the recording of the new album then it promises to be an absolute belter. It was also a pleasure to see original member Danny McCormack return to the fold on bass duties, and he seemed to genuinely love being back on stage with the band. The hits continued, before finally the band closed out the superb set with fan favourite 29x the Pain and the anthemic I Wanna Go Where the People Go to a raucous reaction from the crowd. The Wildhearts have never been a band where you can predict what will happen next in their story, but you can guarantee that when they’re on stage and firing on all cylinders they’re unassailable.

Overall, the strategy of combining all of these bands paid off; it got a lot of punters through the door and made for a hell of a gig for those in attendance. Yet while there was an element of reminiscence and a nod to the 90s heyday about the tour’s marketing, there was nothing to suggest that any of these bands are mere nostalgia acts; They are all still exceptional live performers with plenty of new music still to offer.

PHOTO GALLERY
Click a thumbnail to view the image slideshow

 


Images Copyright Gordon Armstrong. For permission to use these images please contact us


View more photo galleries via our Music Photography Library

music-image

THE WILDHEARTS | Ginger Wildheart | INTERVIEW

The Wildhearts – Ginger Wildheart talks to us about Britrock Must Be Destroyed tour and questions from fans!

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

Back in 1994, I saved up my pocket money and I bought a tape after hearing a crazy song on (probably) the Radio 1 Rock show. That song was Suckerpunch and the Tape was Earth Vs The Wildhearts. I think I played that bugger to death! Many years later I still love that album and the band. Local legends they are!!

It’s always great to see The Wildhearts and side-projects in any form. However, this tour is something of a different beast! The classic lineup is back in action and ready to tour the UK in May. Britrock Must Be Destroyed Tour brings not only the Wildhearts but other 90s favourites Reef, Terrorvision and now Dodgy have now been added to the bill. Something for everyone!

BRITROCK-MUST-BE-DESTROYED

Graeme caught up with Ginger Wildheart for a chat about the tour and other things, with some help from the lovely folk at All About The Wildhearts Facebook group!

How did the whole Britrock Must Be Destroyed tour come about? 

Our manager, Andy Farrow, invented it. He’s a canny businessman so he thought up an idea that none of the bands would have. It’s a killer bill, and The Wildhearts needed no more prompting than to just be asked.

Will the tour feature full Wildhearts sets? What material will be performing? Just older 90s stuff or a mix from all periods?

On this tour we will only play the songs that make the audience sing and dance. We want to win the prize for best crowd of the tour, and I’m pretty confident it’s in the bag.

The Wildhearts - Newcastle O2 Academy Sept 2015

Which band (other than yourselves) are you really looking forward to seeing?

All of them, it’s going to be a great evening of music.

What is the last gig you went to as a punter?

I don’t get a chance to go to half the gigs I’d like to, or I have some days off and don’t hear that one of my favourite bands just played my town. The last gig I went to was Sparks, which I took my little boy to. I want him to see all my favourite bands, while they’re going, to have something to compare current music to, for purposes of quality insurance.

What album or band are you currently listening to and just can’t get enough of?

I play music every day, usually all day. In the car and at home, my world is never silent.

The last CD I really became obsessed with was the latest Fratellis album ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’, which is fucking astounding. I had to start listening to the last Scaramanga Six album ‘Chronicle’ again to ween myself off that one.

The last vinyl album that blew me away is the last Bokassa album ‘Divide & Conquer’, which is just a relentless riff fest of magnificent proportions.

I also play a lot of older music, and right now I am listening to ‘Mock Tudor’ by Richard Thompson. A spectacular collection of songs, as are most of his albums.

I often look to your Twitter posts and feel inspired. It’s great to see a real person with passions and battles of their own. For the last 6 months or so I’ve battled severe depression and have found being open and honest is a great help personally and for those around me. You often touch on your own mental health issues. I find music is a huge lifeline when times are bad, what keeps you going and what advice can you give to those of us who struggle?

I use music as my medication. I also try to eat healthily and exercise, but I also drink, so that can be a bit of a grudge match.

I try to stay busy too, as isolation will put me straight back into my own head.

And as long as I have a guitar around I can write my feelings into song. Writing songs has saved my life countless times, and continues to do so.

Do you find your illness affects how you write and perform music?

I think it makes me more prolific, as I have plenty of emotional information to work with most of the time. Writing as much as I do can be a drain on some, if you’re my manager or a casual fan, but you have to understand that I have to do this. I don’t write music just to sell it, I often write to help myself through a bad patch. That’s when I find myself at my most prolific.

Fan questions!

Lee Foster asks…
Can you turn up CJs guitar?!

If he had to stand next to Danny’s bass cab he’d fucking turn up too.

The Wildhearts - Newcastle O2 Academy Sept 2015
The Wildhearts – Newcastle O2 Academy Sept 2015

Andrew Holmes asks a few questions…
Are you surprised that you have a very loyal following after all these years?

I’m very, very honoured. I’m not surprised because I never stopped working, making music and playing live, and that was always a sign of a career musician as far as I was ever concerned. Full-timers don’t get proper jobs, we make this work. I treat my supporters with respect too, so while I feel very lucky and I don’t feel surprised.

After the new album is released next year, is the intention to tour the hell out of it and its a success will there be more albums in future?

For The Wildhearts? I hope to record a new album every year.

Any plans to record ‘Stop us if You’ve Heard This One Before” Volume 2?

Nah, I don’t think so. I mean who knows, right? Maybe someday we’ll discuss it and thinks it a great idea, but for now the plan is to get ourselves back on the map, and we need fresh, new music to do that.

How are songwriting duties tackled for the new album? All Ginger or are the others involved too?

Everyone is contributing. Obviously I’m contributing more than the others, but that’s just because I’m a workaholic and I shit songs out every day. I can’t expect anyone else to maintain that kind of pace.

Scott Turnbull asks…
What colour packet should cheese and onion crisps come in?

Green.

Steve Clark asks…
Is it harder to come up with cracking tunes after all these years of knocking them out, or do they still flow out?

They still come thick and fast.

I dunno how, but I don’t run out of inspiration, and if I’m inspired by something then it sounds like music in my head. It’s a very fortunate curse to have.

Steve Dodd asks…
Is it awkward at festivals when you’re on the same bill as bands/band members you have bad blood with?

I’m not sure I have bad blood with any band members anymore. I sometimes can’t be around extreme drinking and threatening behaviour, being a father, but my concern always comes from a place of love. I have people who don’t speak to me anymore because their partner doesn’t get along with me, and that’s just loyalty, I get it.

But there’s no musician I wouldn’t walk up to and say hello.

Lewis Sellers asks…
Will SG5 ever be resurrected?

I honestly don’t think so. It’s something I did at the time, and I enjoyed it, but it was an age thing. Wanting to wear funny gear and blow things up. I’m very much more basic these days.

Niall O’Conner asks…
The new album you’re starting work on will be the first full album recorded by what most fans consider to be the ‘classic lineup’. Any pressure? Or is it exciting?

No pressure at all, the songs are already written, for the most part. And we’ve rehearsed them, and they sound fucking great.

There is only excitement. I honestly can’t wait to see what our album sounds like with these four elements. It’s a supergroup of extreme people, perfect for times as confusing as these.

The Wildhearts - Newcastle O2 Academy Sept 2015
The Wildhearts – Newcastle O2 Academy Sept 2015

The tour arrives in Newcastle on the 20th May 2018 at the Newcastle O2 Academy!!

Britrock Must Be Destroyed