The Wildhearts, Chester, Oct ‘19
The Wildhearts & The Professionals, Chester Live Rooms, 7th October 2019
I’ve never been a fanboy and cringe slightly at the idea of meeting bands and ‘stars’ etc but my gf Lucy loves it so off we went to HMV in Chester to get my 10” Gatefold ‘If Life Is Like a Lovebank’ record signed by the band they couldn’t kill – The Wildhearts.
Since releasing one of THE best debut albums of all time, Earth vs The Wildhearts, back in 1993, this band has been through enough line up changes, break-ups and hiatuses to confuse even the most ardent of their fans. But the quality of their music keeps us coming back so here we are, on a chilly Monday evening in Chester, to see them promote a mini album off the back of a track taken from their first new full album in a decade, Renaissance Men.
It would be unfair to review openers Janus Stark based on the two songs we saw them play, but we enjoyed what we did see. For me, the real excitement began when The Professionals took the stage and kicked into Join the Professionals. Born out of the demise of the Sex Pistols in ‘79 and still featuring founder member and former Pistol Paul Cook on drums, a 40 minute set of classic punk was just what was needed to set us up for the headliners. Silly Thing got an airing and they rounded things off with 1,2,3, their second single from way back in 1980.
Ginger Wildheart & Danny McCormack started riffing by the sound desk prior to bouncing onstage to join C.J. & Ritch Battersby for what is considered the ‘classic Wildhearts line-up, and kicked things off with the title track of the aforementioned mini album, Diagnosis. This went straight into arguably the most accessible, anthemic song off Renaissance Men, Let ‘Em Go. Judging by the volume of the singing along, this one is likely to become a setlist staple for the foreseeable future.
I Wanna Go Where The People Go and Sick of Drugs took us into greatest hits territory and a further ten songs followed spanning the life of The Wildhearts including the breathless brilliance of Caffeine Bomb in amongst the new material.
A brief break and a fantastic crowd inspired vocalisation of Don’t Worry ‘bout Me saw the guys return to the stage for Top of the World, Anthem and, of course, timeless Wildhearts classic My Baby is a Headfuck, leaving a happy crowd to head out into the night looking forward to the next time they might get to see this fantastic band doing their thing.
What we got tonight in Chester was four guys who, over the last couple of years, have rediscovered their enjoyment at playing together and not only rebuilding, but also adding to, The Wildhearts legacy as one of THE great British rock bands, doing what they do best. With plenty of tour dates still to come both this year and next, I highly recommend you get out and see them.