Ginger Wildheart has alluded to the fact that plans for The Wildhearts to hit the studio have been shelved for personal reasons and with that in mind I think that a great deal of fans approached these dates, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of second album P.H.U.Q., as perhaps their last chance to catch one of the most under appreciated and greatest live UK Rock And Roll bands ever.

The man himself was on double time tonight as he appeared with the band that he is putting a lot of faith and time into,Hey! Hello! have been resurrected with the pocket dynamo Hollis Mahady taking over vocal duties from Victoria Liedtke and the world is a better place having Hey! Hello! back.In an era full of “Woe Is Me” dour faced,shoe gazing crap cluttering up the air waves it’s refreshing to hear up-tempo,perfect,pop rock played full of piss and vinegar by a band that know that they’re onto something here.Energetic with hooks and melodies that a 16 year old might describe as “lush”,Hey! Hello! blast through their 30 minute set winning scores of new fans who greet the news of an impending new studio album and a December tour with loud approval.Special mention must go to their version of “Honour”,the track that Ginger recorded with Courtney Love for his G.A.S.S. project,3 minutes of pure perfection that was criminally overlooked by mainstream radio.

Making a long overdue return after 17 years were local band Baby Chaos who were greeted like returning heroes by the vociferous home crowd.This is not merely a nostalgia trip,this is the return of a band refuelled and recharged with a sound that’s as fresh today as it was mid nineties.New album “Skulls,Skulls,Skulls Show Me The Glory” sounds incredible considering it is nearly two decades since their last album “Love Your Self Abuse” was released.The songs grow and develop in the live setting with “You Can’t Shut Us Up”, “P P P Peaches” and “Blackbirds” being particularly impressive,massive almost punky riffs,soaring vocals,direction changes all over the show,Baby Chaos could easily fit in supporting Faith No More or Muse as they would say Kings Of Leon or Franz Ferdinand.It’s also fair to say that fellow Scottish Rockers Twin Atlantic were perhaps more than a little inspired by Baby Chaos.

After a quick turnaround the stage is set for the headliners to absolutely batter the crowd into submission with a run through,start to finish,of their 1995 album P.H.U.Q.So although it was obvious what was going to open the show,when the first bars of “I Wanna Go Where The People Go” are peeled off,the crowd surges and mayhem ensues,chants of “Oi Oi Oi” fill the air in between verses and there’s no chance to catch a breath as the band slam straight into “V-Day”.Ginger is beaming,which considering the hints at discord between himself and other band members is a welcome sight,constantly bopping around on a platform extended out from the stage over the crowd,he is buzzing. P.H.U.Q. is a perfect album for playing in its entirety,a great blend of riff heavy anthems such as “Nita Nitro”,poptastic tracks like “Just In Lust” and heavier,speedier moments like the manic duo of “Woah Shit You Got Through” and “Cold Patootie Tango”,all different from each other but all unmistakably have that Wildhearts bite throughout them.”Jonesing For Jones” is gorgeous,as is “In Lilly’s Garden”,”Be My Drug” still sounds amazing even after twenty years and before long “Getting It” is bringing the main set to a close.

The encore begins with a solo Ginger onstage strumming his guitar,playing melancholic chords that ring some bells,but it’s only when he sings “Ma Heart Was Broken…” that the penny finally drops and the crowd recognize the opening lines to The Proclaimers classic “Sunshine On Leith”,Ginger manages to perfect the Edinburgh brogue and in a word it is Braw.Ginger also introduces another cover by calling it “A song that I consider to be the best ever…” and the band blast their way through “White Lies” by the much lauded American outfit Jason And The Scorchers,sheer perfection.Only one way to end the show and that is of course “Greetings From Shitsville” which prompts some frantic pogoing from the crowd and then blam the band are saying goodnight and off the stage like a shot.If these dates turn out to be the last hurrah of The Wildhearts then at least they went out kicking and screaming.


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Review Dave Stott

Images Ritchie Birnie


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