Marking the launch of their fresh EP, Just A Dirtbag Christmas, along with a seasonally themed reissue of their chart-topping hit from 23 years ago, Wheatus kick off an exciting new tour that will take them across the United Kingdom.
Wheatus – MC Frontalot – Tribe Friday
Chinnerys, Southend – 18 October 2023
Words and Photography: Lawrence Potter
While they skyrocketed to fame with their Teenage Dirtbag anthem, Wheatus have continued to produce a rich and diverse discography, consistently impressing fans with their melodic sensibilities and relatable lyrics.
This was perfectly shown by their third-ever show at Chinnery’s in the heart of Southend in what would turn out to be a truly unique evening.
The band assembled on the stage with a huge cheer from the audience. Vocalist Brendan B. Brown takes to the mic to ask the people which song they would like to hear first. It’s an unorthodox way to start a set, but as Brendan explains, the whole set will be picked by the crowd tonight. So, to kick tonight off is Leroy from their Platinum-certified self-titled debut album.
Over the years, it’s no secret Wheatus have been pigeonholed as a bit of a one-hit wonder. But that could not be any further from the truth, as this night certainly proved. They are one of the more underrated bands around, and their debut release back in 2000 served as the soundtrack to a generation.
Even for a stormy Wednesday night in Essex, the fans still turned up in the hundreds, singing along to all the songs.
At one point in the show, Brendan gives a shout-out to Chris Bourne, a fan who has attended all their Southend shows in the past, and proceeds to invite him on stage to play guitar in the song BMX Bandits. Talk about crowd participation, huh?
Two covers were thrown in tonight in A Little Respect, the Erasure song, where Gabrielle Sterbenz and Joey Slater shone, and AC/DC’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation.
This was a truly unique show from Wheatus and a fantastic way to give back to the fans by letting them pick the entire set for the show.
Brendan’s voice has not let up in the slightest. The man has some incredible pipes on him after all this time, and he put on a sublime vocal performance. There were many highlights tonight, with American In Amsterdam and Lemonade standing out especially.
And to end the night was the song that continues to stay as popular and relevant as it did 23 years ago, Teenage Dirtbag.
Wheatus have, over the years, maintained a dedicated following, and their recent EP, Christmas Dirtbag, showcases their enduring creativity and relevance in the music industry. You should check it out.
Visit here for more information about Wheatus, Just A Dirtbag Christmas.
Opening the evening were Tribe Friday, who travelled all the way from Sweden to play a select number of dates on the tour. The four piece enter the stage and go straight into Andy to kick off the evening.
Tribe Friday are a compelling mix of pop punk with Emo elements thrown in, and these guys sound huge live, and it only helps their cause that they bring plenty of stage presence to match.
A fantastic first act to kick off the Southend leg of the tour. The band finishes on And All My Friends and into Little Fish to end a great set. Hopefully, we will see some more of these guys in the near future.
After a brief interlude, our next act of the night, the hilarious MC Frontalot, emerges from plain sight, armed with only a laptop, a mic and a flashlight attached to his head.
Dressed as your pissed-off maths teacher, Frontalot introduces himself and informs the crowd for the duration of his performance, they will be taking a ride into all things nerd-related.
I admit I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first nerd rap show, but any doubt that entered my mind was shortly put to bed. This was an absolute class act, whose light-hearted act and some fun fan engagement proved to be a fantastic addition to the evening.
For the ending segment, bassist Matthew Milligan and drummer KC Marotta from Wheatus join the fray as the set ends on the tongue-clucking Grammarian.