The Wildhearts - Electric Ballroom

A packed Electric Ballroom set the stage for an evening of giddy rock, as The Wildhearts continued to show that after all this time they still know how to put on a cracking show.

On stage first, is Hey! Hello!, the project of Ginger Wildheart and New York-based Victoria Liedtke, which made waves on the back of a successful debut album, funded by Pledge Music. Dressed in rather dapper fashion, the band wastes no time in warming up an audience, who - judging the tour shirts and many being of similar age to myself and older - are here for the headliners. Having not seen them perform live before, Hey! Hello! do well to make an immediate impression; their hybrid pop/punk sound is of sunny disposition, with tracks conveying feel-good choruses, along with bippity-boppity dancing. There’s a spot of chatter, primarily from Victoria, whose infectious enthusiasm ripples throughout the performance.

By contrast The Von Hertzen Brothers might seem like a complete antithesis, with their classic/progressive rock, which borders on the heavy. However, don’t let that fool you. These might be some of the nicest guys working in the industry today. A humble Mikko is all smiles, accompanied by brothers Jonne and Kie (non-siblings Mikko Kaakkuriniemi on drums and Juha Kuoppala on keys respectively) whose graciousness and appreciation to be performing in the UK does well to capture hearts; a shame, then, that the lead singer trying to coax Ginger to the stage for a thank you proves to be futile. Perhaps he just wanted them to shine by themselves.

And shine they did. Formed in Finland in 2000, the brothers have gone on to become one of their country’s leading rock acts, and one hopes that from here they can leave a mark on our shores. Performing several songs from their latest studio album Nine Lives, the VHB were on shattering form, with Mikko’s vocals making as much impact as they do from studio recordings. ‘Insomniac’, ‘Flowers and Rust’ and ‘Coming Home’ are anthemic numbers, which alone do enough to showcase just why these boys are worth keeping a keen eye on. They would go on to perform tracks from their second album Approach, which I believe they said is due for a reissue in the UK in just a couple of weeks time. With songs such as ‘Let Thy Will Be Done’, it’s definitely one worth visiting.
But tonight was really all about The Wildhearts, finishing up their 2014 UK tour at a sold out Electric Ballroom.

Bookended by a couple of B-sides in ‘Nothing Ever Changes but the Shoes’ and ‘29 x the Pain’, tonight’s setlist is one which seems compiled - perhaps as a thank you - for an unflappable fan base; those who have kept loyal to a band that’s faced more than its fair share of ups and downs since its formation more than twenty years ago.

It’s hard to believe that they’ve ever really been away at all, displaying the same kind of energy as their early heady days, and it’s no doubt on account of their reunited lineup. After a five year hiatus, Ginger, CJ and Ritch welcome back Scott Sorry on bass and rattle through a 90 minute setlist which fittingly comprised tracks from each of their major releases, with a few surprises throw in. Ginger would occasionally address the audience - one moment as a result of a technical hitch - telling a few stories and at one point amusingly asking them if they actually liked album three (if we’re getting technical) Endless Nameless. Why would they? They didn’t seem to care one jot as to which tracks the band ultimately wanted to play; it was all about the headbanging. Besides, the crowd the ready for whatever was thrown at them. They had every song down pat and were taking over vocal duties at every available opportunity; highlights including ‘Geordie Wonderland’, opening up the encore.

Speaking of which was unusually lengthy at seven songs, although arguably more hardcore, with some absolutely terrific shredding taking place. Scott Sorry has settled back in nicely and would take on lead vocal duty for ‘The Only One’, leaving us with the notion that everything is fine now. The Wildhearts are where they need to be and let’s hope they stay that way for a while longer.

I wish they had performed 'Theme from Cheers' though...

Nothing Ever Changes but the Shoes
TV Tan
Nita Nitro
Sick of Drugs
Caffeine Bomb
Vanilla Radio
Someone That Won't Let Me Go
The Revolution Will Be Televised
Mazel Tov Cocktail
My Baby Is a Headfuck

I Wanna Go Where the People Go

Geordie in Wonderland
The Jackson Whites
Greetings from Shitsville
The Only One

29 x the Pain

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