Review by Steve Bruty for MPM
Exactly 18 Months to the day since I attended my last gig,before the world went crazy,and the offer to review The Wildhearts was the perfect excuse to get back into the swing of things.
On our arrival we were greeted with the same smiley staff and familiar faces in what is fast becoming a stand out music venue.
Tonight The Wildhearts should be playing a few hundred miles away but with the venue having a devastating fire the group decided rather than sit on their collective arses with 20 Regal and a four pack they would hastily arrange another show to keep themselves fresh.
Kicking things off and getting everyone warmed up for the main act was local band, The Melbies and honestly these 4 lads put in a cracking shift with their hard edged punk and and full on assault of the the ear lobes.
Digging deeper into the songs they had some good melody and not only a fine lead vocalist / guitarist but a equally talented Bass player who not only backed up with his own singing but actually took the lead role on a couple of occasions. The drummer deserves a mention due to him pounding the kit to within a inch of its life. So remember the name because The Melbies have the material and stage presence to possibly go onto much bigger things.
With the release of their latest album…21st CENTURY LOVE SONGS only the day before and the group performing to less than 150 people who knew what lay ahead. Old songs,new songs,deep cuts, anything can happen tonight nothing is off script with The Wildhearts.
With the usual intro tape playing.. Don’t Worry about me, the group step foot on the small stage and with a crystal clear sound roar into RENAICANCE MAN which on the face of things really is the perfect set opener with slow building boogie riff before the lid blows off the place, in a instant the gathered crowd are singing at the top of their lungs, and my jaw was scraping the floor seeing the guys so damn close.
The group have played on so many stages over so many years they just purr along with Ginger swing his hips and CJ trying to hop, skip ,jump in the confined area, VANILLA RADIO comes and goes and Ginger has his first good hearted banter regarding his in ear monitors saying he needs to change them because they are crap !”SICK OF DRUGS” another all time classic gets everyone smiling and getting into the occasion,
First new song of the evening”REMEMBER THESE DAYS is a instant classic with its drawn out soloing and exchanging of riffs before it oozes into SPLATTERMANIA and then returns to the main song.
This worked very well and whoever thought of mixing the two songs into one should be honoured or knighted, simply stunning. Ginger then lets everyone know that not only does he need a piss but he also needs to tune his guitar, have a drink of water but because he cant do that and talk to the crowd he lets Danny say a few words, so the nicest man in rock dishes out his usual cheeky grin and asks if everyone is having a nice time and then apologises to everyone about his small paddy when he stormed off stage last time they played these parts, what a top bloke he is.
Next up we get the familiar frantic intro of “CAFFIENE BOMB” which Drummer Rich slightly messes up which is greeted by Ginger turning his head to the drummer and giving out a smile as if taking the piss, “DISLOCATED” has Ginger pushing those vocals to their maximum range with no holding back.
SPLITTER” from the new release is just plain savage with lots of slide guitar and its evident that the group are on top of their game not only with studio material but as a live act.
The songs just keep spewing forth “CAPRICE” and “SUCKERPUNCH” rolling back the years and a rabble rousing “LET EM GO” to remind us that the group are still current. “I WANNA GO WHERE THE PEOPLE GO” is just mental total bedlam as Dover gets a moshpit and people try and get carried in the air.
What a rousing way to end a evening of huge entertainment and a memory that will be etched in my memory for many years to come. Fast forward 24 hours and everyone will be returning to The Booking Hall Dover to watch The Quireboys
I can think of venues in London, Manchester, Birmingham who would love to be able to have a weekend of music like were witnessing down here in Kent.
Photography by Darren Smith for MPM