Twenty years since releasing Earth vs… (twenty! I’m so old), the Wildhearts do a four-date tour to celebrate. The first date – Glasgow. The crowd there – damn near sold out.
Sadly, we had babysitting issues (my awesome mother-in-law is our in-house childcare, but wasn’t well) so Gillian had to stay home to look after the kids. We couldn’t find anyone on such short notice to take the spare ticket, so I offered it to our eldest. Only her second proper gig and her first non-seated one!
We got there about halfway through Eureka Machines‘ set, which was a shame as it meant we’d missed Baby Godzilla. Partly this was due to spending time trying to pass the ticket one, and partly it was due to the O2’s usual policy of opening the doors stupidly early so they can kick everyone out to make way for the kiddies’ disco later on.
Regardless, we caught about four songs by Eureka Machines and I was impressed enough to look them up when I got home. Nice, bouncy songs and a decent stage presence made them a good band to have on before The Wildhearts. Expect to see them feature in a “New Band of the Day” post sometime soon.
But 8:20 rolled around and our birthday boys (complete with very teddy-boy style quiffs) were on. Twenty years after being voted Kerrang‘s “best album of the year”, Earth Vs… remains a classic. Not a bad track on it, and the guys proved this by playing each one in order.
The crowd were well into every song, especially a hard core element front and centre of the stage. Bouncing to the rhythm, punching the air to the songs, they frolicked like loons to the ‘Hearts punktastic rhythms.
One of the best things about The Wildhearts is the variety of their back-catalogue. This was well illustrated tonight, even just during the initial segment, as catchy choruses gave way to yells of “Headfuck! Headfuck! Headfuck!”. It’s not often you know the set list before the band come on, and songs were being chanted for and cheered before they even began.
“Caffeine Bomb” was skipped as – Ginger pointed out – it wasn’t on the original 1993 release of the album. Unsurprisingly, this got a few boos. However, the issue was rectified in the second “half” of the show where the audience got to choose the songs the band would play.
First up was that actual track versus “Someone Who Won’t Let Me Go”. In honesty, most “choices” were obvious ones; popular classics versus lesser known ones. This was fine by me, though, as pretty much every choice I went for got selected!
Between pointing out how awesome the mirror ball on the ceiling was (“It’s fucking huge! Can we get some lights on it? Fuck me, it’s Christmas!”) and telling the audience how great they were (well, we were) the band managed to plough through another eight tracks before the enforced 10pm curfew.
By this stage, Little Miss was a bit tired but had definitely enjoyed herself. As well as the sense of humour, very friendly crowd (thank you to the couple who helped us get perched on the comfy seats at the side) and great music there was a damn fine light show which impressed her. And me.
Overall, a top show celebrating one of the best rock albums of the last – well – twenty years. A band fronted by one of the hardest-working men in the rock world, supported by a great crew.
I also have to mention the merchandise. Baby-grows and bibs? Check. “Sexy jackets” as advertised by the roadies? Check. Pricing wasn’t too bad, but I still didn’t get anything. Slightly kicking myself, but I’m trying to be good with cash at the moment. I’ll stick to my 2001 shirt from the Newcastle gig where Ginger kicked a fit and walked off-stage halfway through!