O2 Academy, Bournemouth

The Wildhearts

The room is less than half empty when Nottingham’s noisiest open proceedings. Baby Godzilla are out to make a statement which they duly do-and some!

This quartet play a loud, brash form of screamo that is totally lost on me. They look like an early version of Twin Atlantic, all beards and floppy hair-but the comparison ends there. They have the energy of Indie/Punkers Symposium but 10% of the talent! I really want to find something to like about this band but I’m struggling. I suppose the one consolation is that the only way is up and they can only get better. They insist on covering every inch of the stage while sharing standing room in the audience. I gotta say I’ve seen it all before. The applause when they finally depart is loud if somewhat generous, I only hope they can improve as behind all the energy and screaming there is probably a decent band in there, somewhere!

Baby Godzilla
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When Eureka Machines take to the stage it is a complete contrast. This quartet choose the more melodic, cleaner sound and approach. The Power Pop/Punk/Rock crossover and clear, crisp vocal style is a breath of fresh air after what came before. Occasional “Sisters of Mercy” guitarist Chris Catalyst delivers a confident vocal throughout, particularly on set highlight “The Story of My Life”. The band choose the tried and tested attire of black suits and white ties but it’s their musical output that makes the greater impression. Great basslines and guitars and hard but not over-bearing drums make this (almost) chart-friendly sound very appealing. Chris engages the audience midset while “offering” us the chance to indulge in some merch! If I’m gonna pidgeonhole them at all I’d say they are reminiscent of the Wildhearts in their mid 90’s pomp, but there are a smattering of influences all round. All in all Eureka Machines are a rounded, tight 4 piece I expect to be seeing more of if this performance is anything to go by.

Eureka Machine
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And so to main event. The Wildhearts stride onstage for this their 20th Anniversary Tour of the LP “Earth versus The Wildhearts”. They open with the very impressive live favourite “Greetings From Shitsville” while we respond with the singalongs. “TV Tan” is excellent as is “Loveshit” but this crowd really start to move during “My Baby is a Headf*ck”. The band are smiling throughout, as are we-this show has been a long time coming. Ginger swaps ocasional banter as they carry on with another live fave “Suckerpunch”. They complete the LP before leaving for a short break. When they return it’s showtime as we; prompted by large headerboards adorning song titles, get to choose the songs for the second set. It’s an interesting format that appears popular-we nominate the songs with the loudest cheers! “Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes” is an early highlight. There’s a brief pause as two punters have a dust-up, whereupon Ginger says “oh no, people fighting-just give each other a kiss and lets get on with it!” They do with a rip-roaring “Red Light, Green Light” among others. I for one am revelling in hearing the old songs, punctuated by some newer ones I’m not aware of. “Schitzophonic” is another highlight and when we get to the final choice it’s a toughie between “29x the Pain” and “I Wanna Go…” At this point Ginger is heard to say who wants to hear both? Huge roars abound. They duly oblige. The icing on the cake comes in the form of an “I Wanna Go Where The People Go/Pretty Vacant” mash-up. This really gets the crowd jumping and is the perfect ending. Ginger once again thanks us and after this two hour set we leave extremely happy. If this is a template for a proper Rock show then one hopes others will follow suit. The Wildhearts-Geordies in Wonderland!

The Wild Hearts
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Review by Ross A. Ferrone
Pictures By Robert Whetton

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