The Wildhearts  :  Gramercy Ballroom  : New York City : live review

The Wildhearts

Gramercy Ballroom

New York City

June 1st 2013

Live review

The Wildhearts are a curious band – they ostensibly deal out a punky take on rock n roll but are far smarter and more varied than that narrow niche. They have the songs stuffed full of hooklines and enough good time timebombs of  brooding bonhomie to be a 21st century Faces but they are also slashed with some darker and fiercer moments that defy the good time spirit that oozes from frontman Ginger.

Back in a time when rock n roll was simpler it was all just rock music but in the complex new century a band like this should not exist – they could easily open for Oasis or Guns n Roses and not cause any contradictions in that the modern divide and rule world of rock n roll. This is proper old school rock n roll without sounding dated, this is the rock n roll of the pubs and the clubs and good times and heartbreak and the perfectly crafted songs with  the good time all chaps together boogie of the choruses fitting seamlessly with the neo industrial clipped chugs of the verses that show the band’s cool diversity.

Tonight they play their breakthrough debut album….Earth Verses the Wildhearts and the songs have not dated, they still  sound as warm and embracing as ever. The packed audience in the large Gramercy ballroom are singing every word, many of them are British ex pats but there are enough Americans here to underline that the band’s support tour with the Darkness five years ago was not a waste of time. Rock n roll bands like this are the staple in America but few come with a frontman with charisma and arms around the audience warmth of Ginger and it feels that the Wildhearts could easily return to play even bigger halls if they really wanted to.

With a fiercely loyal following the Wildhearts are in for the long haul. They could be massive but are happy being themselves – a bunch of cults surviving in a sea of sharks and chancers with a big enough following that lets them be creative and move int heir own direction. Tonight was an exercise in archaeology- a chance to show that they were creating a new space in rock’s fabric and it was great to hear those old songs again and enjoy the fact that they have never dated.

Earth verses the Wildhearts?

Earth lost…

Previous articleKRS One / Immortal Technique: The Ritz, Manchester – live review
Next articleTom Odell: Long Way Down – album review
Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Maybe when the Large Hadron Collider has finished unravelling the mysteries of space and time we can use it to explain why The Wildhearts weren’t the biggest band in the world. They’re certainly the best.

  2. One of the greatest albums ever. Why don’t they realize that there is a large country west of New York City?

  3. JIm, if you can find bookers in cities outside of LA and NYC who want to book ’em, they’ll play ’em! Its also worth mentioning Ginger’s recent projects (Mutation and Hey! Hello!) on Pledge Music too for those for you who don’t already know…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here