The Wildhearts at O2 Ritz ManchesterSupport: Massive Wagons| The Main Grains
January 26, 2017 at O2 Ritz Manchester
A show that had been rescheduled from their December tour due to illness, The Wildhearts returned to Manchester before heading off to Japan for some shows to celebrate the anniversary of the Fishing For Luckies EP. As ever, the anticipation grew even more due to the delay and Manchester was in for a wild night.
Opening up the show were The Main Grains, featuring original WIldheart Dany McCormack. Appearing to massive cheers from the crowd, the band played through a short set of tracks from their Don’t Believe Everything You Think debut. A fitting end to a rollercoaster year for frontman McCormack, seeing this band come together and record and release an album before complications saw him lose the lower part of his right leg after medical complications. Seeing him seated was very different to what I remember from the first couple of times I saw him play with tonight’s headliners, but their earnest self styled “Northern Punk Rock” really hits the right note tonight, giving you everything you would expect from someone with his resume. Definitely looking forward to hearing more from them.
Next it was Carnforth’s Massive Wagons. One of the most exciting rock bands to come out of the UK for some time. They have taken the baton from the likes of The Darkness and Black Spiders as well as the Wildhearts and run with it. Frontman Barry Mills owns the stage like rock stars used to, and obviously get a massive buzz from leading a crowd through their show. One of the best kept secrets on the British scene right now, but they may not be a secret for much longer. They seem to have been added to more and more tours and festivals and the hard work they are putting could soon come to fruition. 2017 could be there year.
Luckily Wildhearts fans are a patient lot, after all, they had to wait an extra month after the tour had finished after Ginger was taken unwell during Manchester show at the end of that run 2016. It’s good then, that that patience is normally well rewarded, and tonight was no exception. Ahead of their Fishing For Luckies shows, they threw in ‘Inglorious’ and ‘Do The Channel Bop’ into a set crammed with Wildhearts classics played loudly and sang along with louder. You get more passion with these crowds than you do at a lot of other shows, and their always feels to be a special atmosphere. This stems from the fact that as soon as shows are announced their Facebook group goes into meltdown with planned gatherings and meet-ups.
The band seem happy to be onstage finally finishing their tour, and Ginger was in a mischievous mood. Knocking over mic stands, stopping the crew from putting things back and occasionally stopping for long periods between songs to chat to the crowd. When they are playing though, they power through their set, and there are few bands that can match them for energy and atmosphere. After a whirlwind set, they welcomed Danny McCormack back on stage for a ridiculously good encore that saw them revisit some of their finest moments before ending with the obligatory ’29 x The Pain’.
The Wildhearts are like a hurricane whenever they do a run of shows, often leaving chaos and confusion in their wake, and this time round was no different, with unfortunate disagreements and arguments made very public and putting the future of the band in doubt (again). Arguably, one of the best finest rock bands that this country has ever produced, let’s hope that this won’t be the last we see from them. Rock music won’t be the same without them.
Massive Wagons set list: ‘Rising Tides’ – ‘Tokyo’ – ‘Nails’ – ‘Ratio’ – ‘Shit Sweet Death’ – ‘Aeroplane’ – ‘Back To The Stack’ – ‘Red Dress’ – ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum’.
The Wildhearts set list: ‘Everlone’ – ‘TV Tan’ – ‘Vanilla Radio’ – ‘Red Light Green Light’ – ‘Do The Channel Bop’ – ‘Mood Swings And Roundabouts’ – ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ – ‘Nita Nitro’ – ‘Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes’ – ‘Weekend (5 Long Days)’ – ‘Love U Till I Don’t’ – ‘Inglorious’ – ‘Sick Of Drugs’ – ‘Suckerpunch’ – ‘My Baby Is A Headfuck’ – ‘Geordie In Wonderland’ – ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ – ’29 x The Pain’.