Inner City Overture

The Wildhearts rollercoaster thunders on with the next chapter in their ever colourful career. The release of the long awaited new album has seen them become the darlings of the alternative press once again and coupled with an army of loyal long term fans it's little surprise that the Academy 2 is packed out.

Those loyal fans could be forgiven for approaching tonight's gig with some reservations, the memories of the shambolic 'Endless Nameless' tour live on, despite it being ten years ago now. Broad grins are the order of the day however when the opening chords of 'Vanilla Radio' herald the arrival of a re-energised Wildhearts and it's a crowd pleasing opening salvo with 'Caffeine Bomb' and 'TV Tan' following. Ginger is on fine form and interacts with the crowd at every opportunity but the real star tonight is new bass player Scott Sorry, he just exudes energy from start to finish and sings along constantly. Making full use of the stage he jumps, whirls and leaps in all the right places and it gives the band an extra edge that was missing a little when John Poole was holding that role.

The first of the new material aired is 'The Revolution Will Be Televised' and it bears all the trademark elements of a classic Wildhearts track and the chorus works far better live than it does on record, where for me at least it's too slow and lacks punch. Fancy a classic trio of songs to follow that? Well how about 'Suckerpunch', 'Nexus Icon' and 'Sick of Drugs'? The latter in particular being sung by the whole crowd who recognise the special relevance that the song has to this band. Great though it is it's eclipsed by the masterpiece that is 'Everlone', the delivery tonight is note perfect and the elongated musical break at the end is simply stunning.

CJ seems a little reserved in his stage craft but it doesn't affect the quality of his playing and indeed the whole band are impressively tight, which is not always an easy task given the complexity of some of the songs. It's hot, sweaty and altogether glorious! The crowd are fantastic and the band clearly respond, everyone's smiling and singing along and it's on nights like this that you realise just how good and how important The Wildhearts are. They burst onto the scene in the early 90s, kicked British rock music firmly up the backside and remain peerless to this day. Finishing up with the opening track from the new album 'Rooting for the Bad Guy' and the total classic 'I Wanna Go Where the People Go' it's been a classic Wildhearts performance.

If you had to make criticism tonight it would be that there was only one song from the seminal PHUQ album played but when The Wildhearts are this good there's really nothing to complain about.