Gig review: The Wildhearts (ABC)

The Wildhearts
The Wildhearts

You wouldn’t blame rockers The Wildhearts for feeling hard done by when it comes to the hand dealt to them by the fickle world of fame.

More than 20 years after forming, the Geordie band have released eight albums of high-quality, and seemingly commercial, heavy rock. But their big break never came, with LPs making only brief forays into the charts and singles stalling in the lower reaches of the top 40.

While contemporaries have benefitted from multiple reunions the Wildhearts - led by charismatic frontman Ginger - have doggedly stuck to their guns, much to the delight of their hardcore fanbase.

In the process they have become one of the most thrilling live acts in Britain - a point they demonstrated once again last week at a raucous gig at Glasgow’s ABC.

From first track ‘Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes’ to closer ‘29 Times The Pain’, it’s a suitably crowd-pleasing set of hook-laden catchy sing-along rock.

Such is the general bonhomie present in the room that even the potentially mawkish appearance of Ginger’s young son Taylor to sing a couple of songs is greeted with roars and chants. The fact that the youngster is already a dab hand on guitar at the tender age of five certainly helps.

Every album is represented by at least one track, but it’s classic debut ‘Earth Vs The Wildhearts’ which provides several of the best moments. Songs like ‘TV Tan’ sound like they should be filling stadia. Their only crime? To be released when Britpop was at its all-conquering peak and rock at a grunge-addled low.

Here’s hoping for another two decades.