So do we need yet another Wildhearts live album? Phuq yeah we do and it just so happens that 30 Year Itch : Live is not just my album of 2020, it’s also one of the most intense live albums I’ve heard for many years!
Wildhearts gigs are a lot more than just a gig. They are a release of energy from the band and their rabid fans who bellow out the lyrics until we’re hoarse and I’ve woke up with many a sore throat over the years.
Clocking in at over the hour mark, 17 anthems are blasted out with their usual flair and an in your face mastering job by Dave Draper who was told by Ginger for “Loud guitars and loud crowd” which he has certainly done. This double CD recently released by Round Records comes from The Renaissance Men and Diagnosis tours of 2019 and literally kicks off with ‘Dislocated’, the main riff of which gives me chills all over. Ginger grinds out the lyrics with a lung busting delivery over 6 minutes of red hot riffing as his and CJ’s guitars are lethal.
A mighty roar greets ‘Everlone’, treating it like an old friend, not just a song. Snare and kick drumming from Rich Battersby rattled through my headphones and the “Fuck it” cues from the fans are loud and lewd as the outro still has me headbanging. ‘Suckerpunch’ is still dispatched with Motorhead power to test the metal mettle of any in house P.A system.
A drop in pace but not power sees ‘Anthem’ sung by the very welcome return of Danny McCormack on bass guitar and vocals. It’s pounded out in style with a chorus to die for. They channel their inner AC/DC for the bombastic ‘Diagnosis’, totally overwhelming especially from the shout them out loud and proud choruses.
The earworm intro riff of ‘TV Tan’ is power and precision personified and the melodies could melt the coldest of hearts. ‘The Jackson Whites’ is a welcome surprise as well as being a full on crusher, highlighting how hard it must be to choose a setlist from all these classic studio albums. ‘Let Em Go’, my favourite track from The Renaissance Men album is a crowd pleasing fist in the air epiphany with Rich hammering out a snare driven midsection.
‘Vanilla Radio’ with its earworm riff always gets the fans fired up and chanting the “Where’s my Elvis?” refrain. ‘Urge’ is a monster here as a cathartic vocal and multi tempo time changes keep up the anger of the studio version. ‘Mazel Tov Cocktail’, the second song lifted from the Chutzpah album has a driving groove full of “Whoa oh oh’s” which the band and crowd sing as one.
Another mighty crowd chant comes from the intro to ‘Sick Of Drugs’ which has one of my favourite choruses. ‘Someone That Won’t Let Me Go’ is a gnarly punk rock rant and a heavy metal hoedown comes from ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ that still reminds me of ‘I Fought The Law’.
We’re into the final straight as the title of ‘Caffeine Bomb’ speaks for itself as they take a deep breath for a blistering bluster, a true force of nature and I’m sure most of us must still beat our chest for the “Fay Wray, King Kong” line. ‘Love You Till I Don’t’ is headbanging heaven as they thrash it out in full on riff mode with more wrist snapping snare work from Rich.
All good things must come to an end as this scintillating album closes with ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’, the only way to end a Wildhearts gig as you can tell by the crowd response here. Dynamics are off the richter scale here and the last words of “Thank you very much, what a fucking pleasure. Fucking brilliant, nice one”, come from Ginger.
30 Year Itch : Live track listing :-
The Jackson Whites.
Let Em Go.
Mazel Tov Cocktail.
Sick Of Drugs.
Someone Who Won’t Let Go.
The Revolution Will Be Televised.
Love You Till I Don’t.
I Wanna Go Where The People Go.