The Wildhearts – Manchester Academy 1, 5/4/2013.

gingerIs there such a thing as a perfect gig? Well after going to them for over 30 years then this one was as close as you can get. A packed venue, a near perfect setlist ( The Wildhearts played the whole of their debut album Earth Vs The Wildhearts for the 1st set) and the band were 100% into it judging by their smiles as at times the crowd were singing the lyrics back to them as loud as they were. No rock star egos here with frontman Ginger addressing the crowd as if they were old friends and i’m sure a lot of them were over the course of The Wildhearts 23 year existence.

The Manchester gig was the 2nd of 4 UK dates also including Glasgow, Nottingham and Wolverhampton to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the aforementioned debut album. It was self produced and is a bonafide classic to this very day so after 2 highly charged sets from support bands Baby Godzilla and Eureka Machines at 21.15 The Wildhearts strolled onto the stage, with no intro music needed to get the crowd charged up and as Ginger hit the opening riff to Greetings From Shitsville, all hell broke loose with the Manchester Academy  transformed into a heaving mass of jumping and singing ecstatic fans as the band crashed straight into TV Tan which is so strong it could have been used as an encore. The p.a system was deafening but crystal clear allowing every melody and crushing riff to be heard. One minute the band can be as heavy as Motorhead then switch to Beatles style harmonies with telepathic precision.

Song after song was blasted out and absorbed by the crowd, personal highlights for me being My Baby Is A Headfuck, a song thats always brought to mind classic Cheap Trick with its pop/rock crossover appeal which lead into a turbo charged, heads down rendition of Suckerpunch. After the closing barrage of riffs of Love U Til I Dont the band left for a well deserved break during which the crowd roared a deafening rendition of Dont Worry Bout Me until they returned.

So it was time for the 2nd set of the show and after thinking they would be playing a greatist hits one i could not have been more wrong as Ginger announced that 2 roadies would each come on holding  a board with a song title on and whichever song got the loudest cheer, that was the one that would be played and the band had no idea in which order they would be brought out. There were as many rarely played songs as well as more often played ones so Caffeine Bomb was chosen over Sick Of Drugs, Schizophonic over Heard It On Tuesday, Beautiful Thing You over Red Light Green Light, Dangerlust over Naivety Play, Mood Swings And Roundabouts over Now Is The Colour, Turning American over Deep In The Arms Of Morpheus, The Duck Song (with vocal from drummer Rich Battersby) over Hate The World Day, Geordie In Wonderland and final song which was probably the hardest choice of the night, 29x The Pain was chosen instead of I Wanna Go Where The People Go.

So that was it, the band left the stage all smiling and waving leaving an ecstatic crowd with almost 2 hours of a performance they will never forget and was easily the best i have seen the Wildhearts play over many years!

The Wildhearts band line up :-

Ginger – Lead vocals/guitar.

C.J – Guitar/backing vocals.

Jon Poole – Bass guitar/backing vocals.

Rich Battersby – Drums/backing vocals.


1st set :-

Greetings From Shitsville.

TV Tan.


Shame On Me.


The Miles Away Girl.

My Baby Is A Headfuck.


News Of The World.

Drinking About Life.

Love U Till I Dont.


2nd set :-

Caffeine Bomb.


Beautiful Thing You.


Mood Swings And Roundabouts.

Turning American.

The Duck Song.

Geordie In Wonderland.

29x The Pain.


I award the gig an easy 10/10.

Thanks to Mike Perry from Oswestry for the use of his photo! \m/


About Dennis Jarman

Full time downtrodden album/gig reviewer and part time rock God!