Friday 1 January 2021

ALBUM REVIEW: The Wildhearts, "30 Year Itch"

By: Richard Maw


Album Type: Live Album

Date Released: 04/12/2020

Label: Round Records


“30 Year Itch” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Dislocated
2). Everlong
3). Suckerpunch
4). Anthem
5). Diagnosis
6). TV Tan
7). The Jackson Whites
8). Let Em Go
9). Vanilla Radio
10). Urge
11). Mazel Tov Cocktail
12). Sick Of Drugs
13). Someone Who Won’t Let Me Go
14). The Revolution Will Be Televised
15). Caffeine Bomb
16). Love U Til I Don’t
17). I Wanna Go Where The People Go

The Review:

This double live album celebrates The Wildhearts' 30 year existence in some style. Culled from their 2019 tours, it is an extensive document of a band that really does have... songs. Great songs. Catchy, riffy, endlessly playable songs.


For even a casual fan there is so much to enjoy here. Of course, there are a fair few of the big hits from over two decades ago- “Caffeine Bomb” is here, “I wanna Go Where The People Go” closes the record- as well as mid period gems such as “The Revolution Will Be Televised” and later material from “Rennaissance Men” and so on.


The Wildhearts are a band I have seen a fair few times over the years; at their own shows, supporting Motorhead, at festivals, at swanky London venues and in a couple of smaller venues, too. They are a band I hold in the highest regard, much like Brit noise monsters Raging Speedhorn, they ventured to parts of Northern England where other bands didn't. I saw them in 1997 at The Cleethorpes Winter Gardens (supported by Doncaster's finest Groop Dogdrill). It was an incredible gig. Everyone I knew went, as this was an EVENT. There were hardly any bands that bothered coming to Grimsby/Cleethorpes but Ginger and the boys did and it was nothing short of incendiary.


I recall turning up at the venue and seeing Ginger at the stage door at the back. Tall, tattooed, lean and the first man I had ever seen in real life wearing leather trousers- that alone marked him in my mind as some kind of alien being, beamed down to Humberside with a guitar and probably a load of drugs. They were so good, so life affirming... the very essence of rock and roll. The gig has stayed with me ever since. Ginger was great onstage, a natural frontman and raconteur. I remember him praising Groop Dogdrill and wryly remarking: “Keep playing like that and you'll be headlining this place one day....” Ha and indeed ha.


That life force is still undimmed. The band and its members have had their ups and downs over the years; suicide attempts, addiction, loss of limb(!), they've been through it all and survived. Ginger is, in my view, one of the best songwriters to have come out of the UK in the last thirty years and his oevre is on full display here across these sprawling 17 tracks. The sound is big and brash- the brief given to the producer was “Loud guitars and loud crowd.” That accurately sums up what you get here- along with insanely beefy drums from Ritch Battersby.


Simply put, there is nothing wasted here, no weak tracks and nothing less than the finest rock and roll band from England since Motorhead. It's a superb live record and one that reminded me just what a force to be reckoned with The Wildhearts are and how many great songs they've written over the years. Yes, I'm biased and forever fated to look favourably on the band- nostalgia will do that to you. But, as a not so dissimilar band once said; teenage dreams are hard to beat. It's true: rock and roll of the finest vintage that reaps souls AND saves lives.


“30 Year Itch” is available HERE

Band info: facebook