New York City
June 1st 2013
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?