Released: June 3rd 2016
Label: Round Records
Genre: Punk / Hard Rock
Ginger Wildheart, vocals, guitar,
CJ Wildheart, guitar, vocals,
‘Random’ Jon Poole, bass, vocals,
Ritch Battersby, drums, vocals,
1 – I Wanna Go Where The People Go
2 – V Day
3 – Just In Lust
4 – Baby Strange
5 – Nita Nitro
6 – Jonesing For Jones
7 – Up Your Arse You Fucking Cunt
8 – Woah Shit, You Got Through
9 – Cold Patootie Tango
10 – Caprice
11 – Be My Drug
12 – Naivety Play
13 – In Lilly’s Garden
14 – Getting It
Celebrating 20 P.H.U.Q’ing years of the seminal second album from The Wildhearts, it is worth considering for a moment how this album came to be.
Via the medium of time travel and access to the history tab on The Wildhearts web page, we journey to New York and April 1995.
With CJ no longer in the band, the band had relocated to the U.S. and flatly refused to return to England. As well as looking for a new ‘local’ guitarist and attempting to torch the Chelsea Hotel thanks to Ritch deciding to sleep around lit candles, there was no denying the band had made their presence in America known.
It was a prominent time for the band and April 1995 also saw ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ released as a single and became one of the most recognisable songs they would release.
The accompanying artwork for the album, released later in May 1995 (charting at Number 6 in the UK) attracts some ‘criticism’ from the authorities as two of the drawings (a man having his anus held open and a young boy performing fellatio on an elderly gentleman) are deemed obscene in the UK. Strangely Danny Deen’s artwork remains untouched on the Japanese version of the album.
Combine the controversy of their record label refusing to allow them to release the album as a double (the longer songs appeared on the fan club release, Fishing for Luckies), more turmoil in the band with the vacant guitarists spot being filled \ not filled \ filled…. It’s a miracle that the band, who would see Danny McCormack depart in later years as well, ever made it to 2015 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album.
The anniversary shows saw CJ, Ginger, Ritch and Random Jon Poole on bass playing to packed houses up and down the country and it’s these shows that form the content of the 14 tracks on offer. 14?? I hear you cry. There’s only 13 on the album you know, what gives….?? Well, we’ll come back to that one!
The album plays faithfully in track order and with no extras on the standard release [bar the extra 14th track], what, therefore, is the draw for the paying punter? Why should this, a live version of a cracking studio album, be of interest to people?
The simple answer is energy, enthusiasm, crowd response and above all, volume. The studio album, whilst energised and full of classic Wildhearts songs, is crisp and clean. This, is the older brother, weathered by life experience, the bit of rough that the girls crave and the one that has built tolerance to numerous potions and substances through years of experimentation.
As such, this is an album that describes exactly what it is like to enter a venue and witness a Wildhearts show. Loud, gritty, thundering bass, guitars that rise to the top of the mix (yes, that includes CJ’s !) and Ginger’s wholly recognisable vocals wrapping the present up in fine saw blade edged ribbon.
They roll straight into V-Day before turning the house lights on to allow Ginger to admire the “good looking crowd” present in the venue before deciding that actually there can be too much of a good thing and requesting the house lights to quickly be dimmed once more.
What makes the tracks special is the crowd noise. They whoop, cheer and sing along like a well-oiled machine. Given that The Wildhearts have a fan base that knows each other intimately, the oiling had started earlier in the day and everyone met up in the local hostelry and by the time the band arrived on stage a ‘sing a long’ was an absolute certainty. Check out ‘Nita Nitro’ for proof positive that David Coverdale isn’t the only artist with a choir at every show!
It’s no surprise that the tag line for the album is “Never Outdrunk, Never Outsung”. Fans of the band will know that the phrase come into being thanks to one of their own and it sums everything up about a night out with The Wildhearts and is captured perfectly here. No more so than on Track 7 [the fascinating extra 14th track]. In the same way that DILLIGAF has a hidden meaning, so too does UYAYFC. I’ll let you find it when the disc lands on your doormat but suffice to say everyone to a person is more than happy to sing along to this one.
As the album thunders on and draws to a close we get Caprice, Naivety Play, In Lilly’s Garden before closing on Getting It. Again the members of the choir come into their own before the surprise of the show comes in the form of the lady who yells “Shut Up” at the end of the studio album. It’s a neat touch to have found her and convinced her to repeat that iconic vocal and a perfect way to round out the release.
In June 1995 Felix, Ginger’s pet rat, also died. Metal Hammer ran an obituary for him… I just thought you should know.
The Wildhearts next show is the Download Festival on June 10th
Review by Adrian Hextall