They say don't play a gig on a Monday night, but as The Wildhearts proved here, if you have good enough songs then the punters will come as hoardes of fans piled into the O2 ABC as the bell struck seven on a warm Glasgow evening.
When the lights went down at around 9:30pm, the atmosphere was tangible as a huge roar went up and the band sauntered on stage with Ginger recording the wild crowd with his video camera. Without wasting a moment though, the band are straight into 'Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes' as the venue really bursts into life.
You can tell the universal appeal of The Wildhearts as fans young and not so young jump up and down wildly throwing their arms in the air and singing along to every word. Despite playing two sets tonight (see Hey! Hello! review below) Ginger looks thoroughly overjoyed to be onstage and as the band career into 'TV Tan', he orchestrates the first community sing-along of the evening.
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'Nita Nitro' has some of the audience launching their pints of beer (from all directions it seems) and they jump around in between shouts of 'Yeah!' at the appropriate moment much to the joy of Ginger and bass player, Scott Sorry, who makes his return to the band after a twelve month absence and makes his first appearance with the band in Scotland for nearly five years. The band have only been on tour for week so far but as Ginger comments that “(the) Glasgow audience is always the best” which, of course, gets a rousing cheer from the audience.
As if the crowd needed any encouragement to have more fun, they're treated to a double-barrel shot of two of arguably the bands biggest hits, 'Sick Of Drugs' and 'Caffeine Bomb' which has the venue erupting as pockets of fans at the back dance around whilst the faithful down the front head bang or try to squeeze their way closer to the crowd barrier and it's during the latter song when the first of the crowd surfers make a bid for freedom only to roughly manhandled out of the way by the security team placed between band and audience.
Ginger has a bit of fun with the audience as he announces that it's his guitar tech Dunc's birthday and orchestrates a chorus of 'Happy Birthday' before a pair of pants previously thrown onstage during the Hey! Hello! set make a re-appearance and are placed on the drum kit by Ginger. 'The Revolution Will Be Televised' has Sorry jumping about like a loony whilst drummer, Ritch Battersby, shows incredible dexterity as he pounds out the drum beat.
Sing-along number two of the evening is orchestrated by both Ginger and Sorry with the latter telling the audience that "last night (Newcastle) was good but Glasgow would beat any everything!"
The band finish the first part of the show to an end in fine style, with a triple whammy of 'My Baby Is a Headfuck', 'I Wanna Go Where the People Go' and 'Suckerpunch' with the latter benefitting from some strobe lights to give the venue some extra atmosphere.
The band reappear after a short interval as Ginger grabs the chance to give his take on the current Independence debate saying that "if you vote for it, we'll still love you" to warm appreciation before 'Geordie In Wonderland' has the venue jumping once again. Towards the end of the set, Ginger's son Taylor is announced as a guest vocalist and walks on stage to a rapturous welcome.
Taylor, who can't be much over ten years old, is an instant hit with the crowd as he walks on complete with ear defenders tightly clutching a mini-flying V guitar and he's genuinely taken aback by the reaction but still manages to perform credible vocals and guitar on 'People Who Died' and 'Nexus Icon' only occasionally looking at his dad for some reassurance.
The band's set ends on a high with the ever popular 'Greetings from Shitsville' and '29 x the Pain' but it's clear that the audience would have happily stayed there another few hours if they were allowed. As the security team try and clear the venue in record time, the feeling amongst the audience is one of hope that it isn't be too long before the band return to Glasgow – let's just hope eh?
The Wildhearts Set List:
Nothing Ever Changes but the Shoes
Sick of Drugs
Someone That Won't Let Me Go
The Revolution Will Be Televised
Mazel Tov Cocktail
My Baby Is a Headfuck
I Wanna Go Where the People Go
Geordie in Wonderland
The Jackson Whites
People Who Died
Greetings from Shitsville
The Only One
29 x the Pain
The Wildhearts are:
Ginger Wildheart – Vocals/Guitar
Christopher Paul Persaud-Jagdhar (CJ) – Guitar/Vocals
Scott Sorry – Bass Guitar/Vocals
Ritch Battersby – Drums
The Wildhearts Online:
Apart from playing with The Wildhearts, Ginger also played a set with his off-shoot project, Hey! Hello! which features Victoria Liedtke alongside him on vocals.
Liedtke has an engaging personality and a great voice which comes to the fore on 'The Thrill of It All' and when she's not singing, she's more than happy to dance along with vigour.
'Burn the Rule Book (Fuck It)' has Ginger taking over the lead vocals before a set of knickers are thrown stage-wards which Ginger duly attaches to his microphone stand before a credible cover of 'Wacky Women' by The Sparks gets a good response from the audience.
Before 'Lock for Rock (and Other Sporting Cliches)' Liedtke addresses the crowd again but you get the feeling that Ginger just wants to get on with the music, but then again, maybe that's part of the fun of Hey! Hello! – it's a bit of theatre but in a Rock N' Roll type way.
'Swimwear' brings to an end a short but enjoyable set and the band receive warm applause as they vacate the stage with a quick plug for their album which probably shifted a few extra copies tonight.
Hey! Hello! Set List:
Burn The Rule Book (Fuck It)
Lock For Rock (and Other Sporting Cliches)
How I Survived the Punk Wars
The Thrill of It All
The third band to appear on stage were Finnish rockers, The Von Hertzen Brothers. Having heard of the band before but not having seen them live, I was keen to see how they performed and the quintet didn't put a foot wrong during their bluesy set.
Keen to plug their newly released EP, 'Flowers and Rust', we're treated to two songs here – 'Let Thy Will Be Done' which receives warm applause from the band and the title track, with its slow pace whilst it still manages to retain a heavy overall sound thanks to the work drummer, Mikko Kaakkuriniemi and vocalist Mikko Von Hertzen working together really well before keyboard player Juha Kuoppala comes into his own making this track a real highlight in their set.
It's not all slow number here though, as the band prove with 'Writings On The Wall', which has Mikko Von Hertzen almost going into a Chuck Berry like duck walk across the stage before his vocals really kick in and the number becomes a high energy rock n' roll number that sees him going from one side of the stage to the other trying to get the crowd involved.
'Coming Home' from the bands last full length album, 2013s 'Nine Lives' manages to get the head bangers going down the front as lead guitarist Kie Von Hertzen does his best to get some feedback from the guitar, but much to his chagrin, he doesn't quite manage it, unfortunately.
All in all though, a great performance and like Hey! Hello! before them, I think the band may have made some new fans tonight.
The Von Hertzen Brothers Set List:
Writings On The Wall
Flowers And Rust
Always Been Right
Let They Will Be Done
The Von Hertzen Brothers are:
Mikko von Hertzen - Vocals/Guitar
Kie von Hertzen - Guitars/Backing Vocals
Jonne von Hertzen - Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
Juha Kuoppala - Keyboards
Mikko Kaakkuriniemi - Drums
The Von Hertzen Brothers Online: