THE WILDHEARTS, REEF, TERRORVISION and DODGY | Britrock Must Be Destroyed | 20.05.18 | Newcastle O2 Academy

THE WILDHEARTS, REEF, TERRORVISION and DODGY | Britrock Must Be Destroyed | 20.05.18 | Newcastle O2 Academy

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.

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THE WILDHEARTS | Ginger Wildheart | INTERVIEW

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

MUTATION – October 2017 – Newcastle Riverside – REVIEW and PHOTO GALLERY

MUTATION – October 2017 – Newcastle Riverside – REVIEW and PHOTO GALLERY

MUTATION – October 2017 – Newcastle Riverside

By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)

I remember a graphic novel I read (Hellblazer/Sandman I’m not sure) where a guy does a devils deal to be creative and one of the last panels the twist is the guy going mad because he just can’t stop writing down his constant flow of ideas on paper, walls floor etc. I sometimes think Ginger is like this to a lesser extent. The number of projects he sometimes has on the go and the opposite ends of the spectrum that they fall in. This year he has released a solo country album and with Mutation a black metal power trio a new album called Dark Black from which most of the set is taken.

MUTATION - October 2017 - Newcastle Riverside
MUTATION – October 2017 – Newcastle Riverside

The band are made up of Scott Lee Andrews (exit Internation ) on bass and vox, Denzil (Young Legionnaire) drums, vox and Ginger guitar bass and vox. This is their first tour as Mutation but you’d think they’d been doing it for ages the way they gel together. Ginger paces the stage in front of his amps between tracks like a fighter waiting for the next round. Not sure if it’s nervous energy or just the brutal riff he is about to take everyone’s face off with!

The stage set is a huge back line of mismatched amps and cabinets and stage front and centre is the drumkit no riser or rear position, Denzil is on the lip of the stage flanked by the other two following his every lead. The man is a monster behind the kit I walked past in the pit and just the air from the mic hole in the kick drum (not the volume just the air) felt like a punch to the chest! His drumming is just ferocious which is totally fitting for this METAL that is being played at an incredible volume but not distorting.

MUTATION - October 2017 - Newcastle Riverside
MUTATION – October 2017 – Newcastle Riverside

I’m not gonna lie, I went to the gig not really knowing what to expect other than it was “Gingers black metal” project but by the 4th track I was totally hooked by the energy and almost hypnotic effect of it. Don’t be thinking it is all just a noise though there are still melodies and hooks in each of these head kickings (‘Friday Night Drugs for example),

MUTATION - October 2017 - Newcastle Riverside
MUTATION – October 2017 – Newcastle Riverside

It’s the last two tracks and album closers ‘Dogs and Deterioration’ that absolutely just put you through the wringer. With only a quick “thanks ” through the set it’s over and the sadly small crowd were left wondering what had just happened (in a good way). No idea why a lot of the fanbase didn’t turn out tonight for this it will remain a mystery to me especially as it was home ground but those that were there saw a band on fire and even in his tour diary Ginger says the band will possibly never play as good together as they did tonight.

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THE WILDHEARTS – September 2015 Newcastle O2 Academy – PHOTO FEATURE

THE WILDHEARTS – September 2015 Newcastle O2 Academy – PHOTO FEATURE

The Wildhearts – 19th September 2015, Newcastle O2 Academy

The Wildhearts return to Newcastle to play their classic PHUQ album in full. Fantastic night, great sound and great lighting!

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