There are some people who are just destined for greatness, and despite the fighting, the drinking and the drug abuse, The Wildhearts are just such people. Kings of the British rock scene throughout the nineties, they ruled the roost with a fine blend of rock’n'roll anarchy, crisp harmonies and crushing riffs, until inevitably reaching self-destruction point. Now, with past problems seemingly behind them, The Wildhearts are back, and, as at the time of writing they sit at number 26 in the UK singles chart (the only independent release in the top 40), they’re seemingly as potent as ever.
It’s a crying shame that tonight’s support, shouty female munchkins Sugacoma, don’t show any potential to become future rulers of the British metal scene. In fact it’s almost a mystery what they are doing here at all. Growling through a tepid set, they come over more like a school band playing in the village hall than the next big thing. A grim, token cover of Britney‘s Crazy just about wraps things up, and it’s not a moment too soon.
While Sugacoma breed apathy, The Wildhearts are greeted like long lost heroes. Ginger and his motley crew make their triumphant entrance to battle hymns on the PA, and as the first notes of “I Wanna Go Where The People Go” sound out, the madness begins. Tonight’s set is a real mixed bag, old, new, B-sides, classics such as Sick Of Drugs and Caffeine Bomb, complete with spot on vocal harmonies and violently distorted guitars, inspire mayhem in the adoring fans, with new material proving just as effective.
It’s as the first crunching chords of current single Vanilla Radio come in, that the gremlins strike and the stage loses power, but whereas some bands would have simply walked, consummate entertainers that they are, the band get a sing along going whilst the problems are dealt with.
They may be slightly older, and considerably more weather-beaten, but tonight The Wildhearts have proved they’ve still got what it takes to be one of the best bands around. With mesmerising stage presence, great tunes, a fantastic attitude and, most excitingly, new material, if they can just keep themselves together long enough, they might be able to do it all over again. Sugacoma et al better start bucking their ideas up.