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:: The Wildhearts ::
13 October 2003 / Apollo / Manchester
By Dave Himelfield

Nigel Tufnell once remarked, “Spinal Tap are like the weather. It’s always there and it isn’t always good!” Perhaps the same could be said about the Wildhearts who through whatever weather will always soldier on to entertain rock audiences the length of Britain. Their name will remain etched on the stone table of relentless, hard working rock n roll bands.

When CJ returned a couple of years ago, we thought some of original zest would return. However, while initial reunion shows were something of exhausted farce, a fresh record deal and a reasonably successful comeback record has re-galvanised the Wildhearts. Tonight they’re looking their strongest and most confident since the first major crisis back in the mid 90s.

Certainly during the early half of the last decade, Ginger and co. were a criminally underrated and overlooked band – often dismissed as crusty pub rock. Such an affirmation was quite unfair as a modicum of inspection would reveal Ginger and co. as bold fusers of punk energy, metallic weight and prog expansiveness with pop sensibilities and witty lyrics. Set closer “Caprice” is probably one of the greatest examples of this and still sounds reasonably powerful. However, The Wildhearts never really seemed make much of a departure from their sophomore release, “Phuq” and while tonight they sound as energised as they ever have been in a long while, it just seems somewhat irrelevant. Perhaps that isn’t the point. The Wildhearts will always be around to thrill but one can’t help but wish for something that would impact in the way that something like “Suckerpunch” did 10 years ago.

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