I was fortunate enough to catch Wheatus on their 15th anniversary tour of their self titled debut album with Mike Doughty as support. What an incredible night!
With very little knowledge of Mike Doughty I watched a man who may be him, or maybe a roadie, amble on stage somewhat carelessly with a calm and cool presence around him. He introduced himself and the rest of Wheatus who had decided to play with Doughty that night and with very little else began their song; “Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating In The Future” during which a different man emerged.
His musical passion lit up and his eyes began to dart restlessly across the room with constant hand signals to the rest of the band whom he introduced throughout the set, one person per song. The end of the opening song for the co-headlining act came about. Cue the compliments. “Hey, sexy Brighton people, you out there?” More and more people were flocking to the front by this point. Cheers arose from the crowd proceeding the following the remark “Yeah you are, you’re sexy as fuck!” He teased. Doughty is well known for his mid performance interactions with his audience. He went on to say “I don’t really want to play a show tonight to be honest, I want to seduce you. I want to get you to invite me back to your house, I will live there, I will bake you pizzas, I will clean your kitchen countertops, I will make you so happy. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without me! I give you my word as a gentleman!”
A thoroughly entertaining set followed with a particularly moving version of “St.Louis”.
Whilst there were no pizzas involved he did make all of us “sexy Brighton people” very happy in his cool, commandeering manner. I’m looking out for any future tours!
Now onto Wheatus. On the 15th anniversary of their groundbreaking debut album, they played every song off the album plus a few extras which the crowd picked along with its order. The first two songs followed album order (“Truffles” and “Sunshine”)… however where “Teenage Dirtbag” would have gone was general teasing from frontman Brendan Brown in his friendly manner. In fact, along with Doughty, Wheatus engaged in a staggering amount of chit chat with the audience making it that extra bit more special and personal. Before “14” was played Brown reassured the 14 year old in the crowd “One day you’ll hopefully get to an age that sucks a little less”. I’m sure that very moment would be the least “suckish” moment of this whole year for him!
A spectacle of a performance was given to Brighton by Wheatus who despite their incredible down to earth ethos, had an immense stage presence with Brown going particularly mental on an ecstatic version of “Love Is A Mutt From Hell”. Grins shooting around the room in a Johnny Rotten-esque manner (if Johnny Rotten were to grin that is!)
By the last few songs, energy was rising through anticipation of the inevitable mammoth song; “Teenage Dirtbag”. As it finally came around the packed room exploded in a sheer musical state of nirvana. A roaring rendition of “Dirtbag” was performed that night at the climax of the Wheatus set, and one thing for sure is that this is a band that can say in complete truth that they play for the pleasure of playing (as they have for the past 20 years) which has resulted in landmark tunes on our musical landscape.
I’ve learnt two things from this evening; One, Wheatus can make any song amazing which was proven by the first verse and chorus of Taylor Swifts’ “Shake It Off” which occurred during Browns tuning. From someone who is not too fond of this kind of music, it was incredible! Two, anyone who previously regarded Wheatus as a “one hit wonder” have no ground to stand on. They are a band who have remained prominent for 15 years and will continue to do so for years to come.
Anyone who is unconvinced must listen to the album now and make sure they catch them on their next tour. Honestly I can say that these two acts (and the support of the support act; The Ventura Project who you should check out!) played one of the best gigs I have been to this date! Thank you!