The Wildhearts & Amen Live in Manchester, UK

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Friday, May 16, 2003 @ 9:18 PM

The Wildehearts and Amen Live

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REVIEW BY: Danielle Adamson

Dey certainly wasn’t expecting no resurrection stunt, these blacked-up goths queuing for the Wildhearts at Manchester Uni’s gig-bowel last Thursday. As a publicity stunt, coming back from the dead takes some beating – just ask the Nazarene, fer Chrissakes!

Even The Cross-man wouldn’t have given a prayer for the Hearts bassist who checked into drug rehab a fortnight ago on the end of a terminal line. Turning tricks, getting fixed back on Boogie Street can make you headline history.

Danny didn’t make the bill but his crew miraculously did with a stand-in. Along with spesshul Gastarbeiter crew Amen fresh their field of fame and glory tearing up the Academy two months ago. Who said living with your mom ‘til you’ve turned 40 was good for your sex life? The same shit-arsed journos who’ve been peddling their mayhem trash about this tour to all your God-fearing folks, that’s who!

And they wuz giving the gig a miss ’case they ran across something unexpected – like the warm-up crew, Darling. Darling? What sort of dumb-assed tag is that? We hardcore folks is sure broadminded, an all. But this had kamikaze written all over, ‘til they stepped out. They sure convinced the main attraction crowd they weren’t there just for the ride – or they’d have been toast. It helped that they wuz Dixie chicks – as far as anyone could see ‘em. But all four were takin’ no shit, and they should trash their smoke machine operator who must have bein’ doing a line or boosting Jack Daniel’s bottom line. (Hey, eat your heart out Lennie Cohen).

The reality check kicked in 20 minutes late, and it was time to leap headlong down the rabbit hole with Amen. The whole place lost its grip, and everyone let it slip into the masterpiece.Much maligned monsters came and were blown away – Casey Chaos had some serious beef about global greedsters and the Battle Hymned Republic which had its star spangled banner despoiled with “COMA.”

The Amen front-man’s T-shirt was emblazoned with “Torn,” a hint to the record company hyenas who’ve kidnapped their unreleased material and are demanding a bank-breaking bucks ransom for it back.

“The Price of Reality” was the perfect kicker to a set of utterly brutal energy that was equally matched by the crowd. Amen is a tornado who sweep you into their pits, where you either violently ride or die.

The blood was up next – luckily not for real. As “Whores of Hollywood” swallowed the place, a deranged fan hurled a bottle of ketchup at Amen’s unfortunate drummer, spewing crimson spunk all over his kit. I later found out the sticks man thought Casey had hit him with something again and that he was bleeding his heart away. But hey, you live your life as if it’s real.

Lucky! But the winning streak was done and the set didn’t end without injury as the guitar and bass in a playing frenzy collided and slammed each other into the floor. The epic “Mayday” switched little ‘ol Casey on to his usual “I’m going to self-destruct by jumping off the highest, most precariously stacked speakers” antics. And yet again at the anthem’s deadly climax the invincible Casey, still not having grown wings, throws himself headlong down on to the rest of the his band Fear and Loathing style to bring the song to an awesome close.

The Casey coda came next, just as night follows day: “If I could you know I would, kill the president and your queen, If I could you know I would, butt-fuck Tony Blair every day of the week.” Sure, Case, sure. But they’re not listening.

Then it was request time and the band skipped into an all-round favourite, “Here’s the Poison” – a gut-gasping end to their set that neatly paving the way for “The Main Attraction.”

The Wildhearts, with dread locked singer/guitarist, Ginger centre stage in front of a surreal city landscape backdrop, waste no time and power into “I Wanna Go Where the People Go.” The crowd surfers emerge as if subliminally entranced. Welcome to the end of the world. You’ve consented to be wrecked.

Wildhearts were awash with charisma and angst – from “Sick of Drugs” to “Vanilla Radio.” The ritualistic double-shot of Jack downed by the front-man pre-show was a big wind-up, and the ghoul groupies lapped it up – some too crazily for an edgy security crew who got in some slapping practice.

Ginger made no apologies for keeping the crowd waiting for their favourites as the band revelled in newly recorded material, and even hinted to Ebay fanatics to get their recording equipment out

The Wildhearts paraded their schizophrenic rock with both energy and style. Ginger lost his bandana during “Caffeine Bomb,” letting his snake-like dreads loose to the music, while replacement bassist Jon Poole turned his guitar into a machine-gun for “Stormy in the North”… winning over younger Amen fans with driving, relentless pace.

Later came “My Baby is a Headfuck” and “29x the Pain” which chewed out every motherfucking brain from the front row to a pit drenched with the stench of sweat and adrenaline. Next exhausted morning, it will all have been a fitful dream.

Suddenly the night had grown colder, as the band quit the stage, leaving the huddled masses waiting for the end to a prolonged pre-encore break that seemed to go on forever. Then they were back, drawing jauntily on their ciggies.

That marathon “Skybabies” was followed by “Love You ‘Til I Don’t” for a flesh-curling finish that left exhausted devotees gasping for more.

Too bad, you saddos! Ginger and his merry men had shot their bolt – and exited to the bar to kick back a cup of absinthe 1000 kiss-asses deep.

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