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Stoke Memoirs And 3D Spex (Day 8)

Who knows why some gigs you absolutely love and some you just can’t get into?

The band all loved the show in Stoke, the audience were amazing, the hecklers heckled in good spirits (albeit during an announcement that our friend Tim Smith has severe health problems- I guess bad manners don’t wait for appropriate moments to spring forth, huh? Nice one mate. Your girlfriend will be so proud, if you ever get one, ha ha), the guys in the band all played like a well oiled machine and the songs flowed like easy conversation. Me? I just couldn’t get into it. By the end of the second set the onstage sound had reached such muddied proportions that I could feel myself shouting to hear my vocals, so in an attempt to keep my voice for tomorrow’s show (and the rest of the tour) I let the crowd sing the final song 29 x The Pain. It was a curious moment with Hot Steve handing the microphone to seemingly everyone in the audience that doesn’t know the lyrics. Still, it has to be said that in another venue an SM57 would have been stripped from its cable and never seen again. A fine testament to the sheer decency of the Stoke crowd.

And while on the subject of hecklers and people not realising that we were going to be playing the new album in its entirety, I would like to make certain that my intentions in highlighting the heckling was not to incite further violence or have anyone threaten to ‘sort them out’. I don’t want to see ANY violence at our shows, okay?

I understand that some people will feel short changed by the decision to play the album and this is something I’d like to clarify. This decision was made during a fraught time where we couldn’t make our minds up as to what to play: old, new, rare, popular, etc etc etc. We put the vote to the fans on the forum and you unanimously voted for us to play the album. We take your responses very seriously indeed, and so we made a last minute decision to honour the popular voice, and deal with the disapproval of the minority, in this case. We can only offer, as consolation for anyone who might be disappointed with the decision, the fact that we have a band playing at the very top of their game (playing some songs that will never be played live again), one of the worlds very best sound-men, an awesome bill and a very competitive ticket price.

It looks like we will continue to support our albums by playing them in their entirety, in the future, if we are to continue to make albums. There are tons of bands just trotting out the best of set and releasing no new music, this is fine and supporting this is also great, but that isn’t The Wildhearts. Not at all. We want to the future to be an exciting place with musical innovation as well as a nod to the past, hence the two sets, both of approx equal length.

I hope you will continue to join us on our musical journey, and for anyone who only wants to see the ‘best of’ set I hope you have enjoyed the past 15/20 years and leave with fond memories. It’s been a great ride, hasn’t it?

After the show we were invited to a private screening of Final Destination 3D, which the band and crew later decided against, favouring, instead, another night drinking on the bus. Doing the same thing every night drives me a little stir crazy so Gav and I decided to round up some friends and make the screening anyway. Walking into a huge cinema that is completely empty is a thrill that no-one should pass up if ever given the chance. We selected our seats and watched as the 3D format threw chisels at us, as well as various body parts, in spectacular fashion. A great bit of gory fun with some very inventive kills, all sadly marred by the worst ending since The Happening.

Still, the gorgeous Krista Allen appeared in the movie, which was a bit of a treat.

Back on the bus we watched Step Brothers together and took ill laughing so hard at the drum kit/bollock interface scene.

Driving through Stoke as the clubs had long closed yet the scattered, drunken debris still roamed the street looking for a final fight or a fuck, but will probably settle for a kebab, I couldn’t feel more alien.

It’s a feeling I get every now and again and one that gives me great comfort.

Sometimes I just really feel different than everyone else.


Birmingham, My Birmingham (Day 7)

We’ve always enjoyed good times in the Midlands and tonight was no exception.

Apparently there’s some kind of divide between Wolverhampton and Birmingham that forbids people from the former going to see bands playing the latter. We have sold precisely half the amount of tickets that we usually sell when we play Wolves Civic, adding weight to this theory. Still, come showtime the modest little room in the O2 Academy is literally jam packed.

The monitors on this tiny stage are so powerful that one would need to stand about 4 or 5 feet away from it to actually hear it. There is no 4 or 5 feet ‘back’ on this tiny stage, therefore no one can hear a thing onstage.

The show was the hottest gig I’ve played in a very long time. No air onstage made the experience hellish, especially for me and Ritch. Come You Took The Sunshine From New York I came so close to blacking out that I failed to notice singing the first verse in an entirely different key. No monitors and no oxygen will do that to a person.

Anyway, if the crowd noticed (which I’m sure they did) they quickly forgave me and proceeded to supply severely voluminous vocal support throughout. Their stamina was inspirational and kept the band motivated to keep rocking when there was no life left in us at all.

At one point in the final song I moved to CJ’s side of the stage in order to stop myself slipping on the swimming pool of my sweat in the middle of the stage. His side? Dry as a bone. That guy is way too cool.

All in all, possibly the best show of the tour. At least on a par with Nottingham.

Later we all ate at the Koh-i-Noor, a superb Indian restaurant that plays 80’s rock ballads at the behest of their manager. You won’t find a more surreal soundtrack to an extra spicy King Prawn Ceylon. It’s directly opposite the front of the venue. Check it out next time you’re at a gig.

Birmingham, we love you. Still and always.


Etiquette Exeter Style (Day 6)

After a wonderful walk around Exeter we remarked how chilled out this place is and how few arseholes there seems to be in Exeter.

Sure enough, come showtime, they all crawled from beneath their rocks to attend our gig.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a LOT of awesome people there too, presumably, also, having their evening ruined by meat heads.

What do I have to do to get rid of these people from our audience? Answers in the comment section below, please.

What kind of person pays to attend a show only to talk over the singer every time he tries to introduce a song? I will never live long enough to understand this logic. I mean, fair play if you have something funny or constructive to shout but these people aren’t even hecklers in the classic sense of the word. These are folk who consider any crap whatsoever to enter their brain to be of cultural importance. And will rudely cut off a public speaker in order to address their point of view. Manners, it has to be said, have not been taught to some people, unfortunate, then, that the least mannered appear to be the loudest mouthed.

They spoil your evening, they spoil ours and no-one wants them around. They wouldn’t be missed if they disappeared. So please, if you know anyone who enjoys shouting random insults when a hard working band are trying to introduce the next song they’ve spent ages rehearsing, if you know anyone who enjoys shouting over the singer because they get so little attention in their normal, dull lives, could you please ask them nicely to stop coming to our shows? We don’t want their money and we definitely don’t want their company.

I’m so sorry for the idiots of Exeter spoiling what should have been an amazing, warm, funny, informative night. We will play places on this tour, full of people who want to listen to us, and this desire goes so deep that they will actually shut their mouths at the appropriate times in which to do so. Unfortunately you have had your one evening spoiled slightly.

Having said that the band played a faultless set and Ritch split two snare heads due to excessive battering. No one else on this tour got that, so all was not lost.

Exeter, lovely place. Not as keen to play there again, though, as I am to come back for a visit.

Day off today. Get to see my family and chill out for an entire 24 hours. Tomorrow we play Birmingham. I love playing Birmingham. Bring it on.


Portsmouth Is Love (Day 5)

Who’d have thunk it? The best show of the tour, so far, I think, took place in Portsmouth, last night.

The audience were welcoming, warm and responsive, the band played a faultless set, the Black Spiders rocked big time (and later joined us on the bus for drinks) and me ‘n Gav decided to keep growing our beards until the end of the tour. They’re itching like hell but a deal is a deal.

After walking around Portsmouth, or Pompey or Southsea or whatever else they call this place, checking out the awesome shops of Albert Road it’s a treat to see such a myriad of eye watering expenditure dens peppering the street. Culturally valid accessory shops rub shoulders with semi-antique bric-a-brac stores in a bid to tempt visiting consumers into coughing up readies for essential items that they will ultimately lose interest in on leaving Portsmouth.

We have the smallest and most stifling dressing room in the western world, so in an attempt to rid myself of the claustrophobia based migraine steadily gnawing at my sense of well being I go and eat a fish by the seaside, approx 1km away. There’s nothing quite like a walk along an English beach to fill a person with equal feelings of happiness and sadness. I mean any walk along the sea can make a fellow feel a little insignificant, but something about the English seaside makes me think of the people on the other side of the water, baking in the sunshine, bronzed, naked and not think of the people on the other side of the water wrapped in multi layered protection to ward off the freezing gales of the North sea.

Anyway, the fish was lovely and the mushy peas burnt the living fuck out of the inside of my mouth.

All in all a lovely day. Lovely place. I love Portsmouth, and I didn’t even know it.


Pictures From The Fifth Day

Our monitor man for this evening, Deano.

Our monitor man for this evening, Deano.

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Norwich, Nice Place, Next! (Day 4)

Sunday night and all is seemingly well in the sleepy hamlet of Norwich, paddling ground for the mighty Nicholas Parsons. We take the stage to rapturous applause and sizeable grins. They like it. Great.

Uh oh, we appear to have a few people who cannot, and dammit will not, grab hold of the concept of this being a performance of our last album, and continue to shout Suckerpunch, throughout the set. For you, my friend, we will not play Suckerpunch at all, even in the second set, where it stands third song in.


I’ll tell you why. Imagine the scenario. You’re talking and someone appears to have something more important to say, and they loudly interrupt. You accept that you aren’t the most interesting person alive and so graciously concede to the interrupter. Except the interrupter, hiding within the darkness of a crowd, decides not to continue their line in ignorance and clams up when asked what it is they want. Leaving, in place of a mildly interesting monologue of varying importance an awkward silence that serves no purpose other than to wind up the person talking and leave them pondering the vast level of ignorance and bad manners of someone who’d stop you talking in favour of saying nothing themselves.

I can’t get back into the gig for wishing that people like this would stop coming to our shows. There must be a thousand other bands you can follow? Look on the internet. Although there is a strong likelihood that you can’t operate a computer. Suffice it to say that you bring nothing to the event and you spoil the atmosphere for people who are genuinely enjoying themselves. Your absence will be welcomed.

All in all a stunning performance by the band. Probably the best we’ve played the entire tour. I’m very glad that those who actually wanted to listen in Norwich heard a band at the absolutely peak of their ability. I don’t know why the ignorance of others winds me up to such a point that I find myself losing my own balance and wanting to exact my rising anger. This is my problem. Balance is work in progress, a road with quite a few road blocks and falling rocks, a mode of transport rather than a destination.

Hope Portsmouth has fewer idiots in attendance and I pray that the people that didn’t enjoy it last night never come again.

Over and out of patience.


Gonna Lose Your Mind In Nottingham Rock City (Day 3)

Kerrang! came to review it, lots of friends came down to hear it, more than 700 advance tickets were sold for it and they even managed to turn off that awful air-con during it.

What? You might be asking yourself.

Nottingham Rock City, god dammit. One of the finest, most legendary gigs on the planet and when it’s full to the rafters, as it was this evening, it’s a place of awe inspiring lunacy. You could hear the crowd cheering like crazy when Black Spiders were churning out their motor fuelled dirt rock. Man, how loud are they going to be for us?

Answer, VERY. Although Bristol had set the standard pretty high the previous night Nottingham eat standards with chips. Absolutely astounding reception from this wonderful crowd, and one that I was so honoured to have Kerrang! present at. If this doesn’t get a 5/5 review then at least everyone there knows it was, in fact, easily a 5/5 gig.

I live for nights like this, when the band and the audience are so tuned into each other that any night could have been Saturday night. Nice, then, that this was, in fact, a Saturday night.

Especially great to see Pikey Dan looking so happy with his beautiful new girlfriend.

Gig of the tour, so far. We love you Nottingham.


Pictures From The Third Day

Gav appears stern as he awaits the falling bricks through this evening's volume.

Gav appears stern as he awaits the falling bricks through this evening's volume.

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Bristol Creams (Day 2)

Walking around the cobbled streets of Bristol, twisting alleyways alive with Victorian memory¬†and impregnated with vivid history, one can’t help but feel a sense of pride for the architecture that our strange little country boasts. The excited chatter of visiting tourists pepper every exquisitely ornate gateway and cul de sac. And as I marvel at my own heritage I can’t help but think that Bristol, as picturesque as it plainly is, has a serious challenge in the shape of last night’s Brighton crowd. Will the Bristol massive stand up to Brighton’s awesome welcome?

Well, it has to be said that Bristol were more than up for the challenge. As the uproarious cheer urged us into the album set the very vocal Bristolians showed their wonderful support in in voluminous fashion. And the show was amazing.

The sense of the performance turning into a party by the end of the evening was tangible. By the second set we were neck deep in the celebratory atmosphere of the 02 Academy and feeling no pain. And by the end the dressing room was alive with the boozy pats on backs of the band that continued onto the bus where we enjoyed the first collective listen of our new album.

It was a religious experience.

Today we play Nottingham Rock City, a venue that has traditionally stood up to any audience on the UK rock circuit. It’s going to be a devastatingly awesome show today, but Bristol will not be easy to match.

We got website of the week in The Sun yesterday. Sweet.

Man, this merch is awesome. I’m in love with my football shirt.


Pictures From The Second Day

I customised Ritch's bass drum today. I'm happy with the results.

I customised Ritch's bass drum today. I'm happy with the results.

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