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'London, Camden, Koko, 2 December 2018'   

-  Genre: 'Rock'

Our Rating:
Time for a Sunday night sing along with The Wildhearts to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their legendary album Earth V The Wildhearts. No need for any song sheets or screens with prompts as everyone in the place knows all the words and sings them at the top of their lungs. What more could you want for a Sunday night out?

Well, another couple of great bands actually. I managed to get into Koko in time to hear the last 3 songs of The Amorettes set and considering how I had been feeling decided I'd be better off upstairs on the second balcony where I had a great view and less chance of anyone spilling beer over me - something that was almost guaranteed on the main dancefloor.

The Amorettes were the fifth trio I've seen this week and the only Female one. They are a trio of Hard rocking Lasses who were singing about Whatever Gets You Through The Night when I walked in and I'd guess that would be a good dose of The Runaways and AC-DC on the stereo and some alcohol as they Rocked like hell.

Bull By The Horns was both good fun and hard as nails as they rocked like they were a very young Status Quo or more likely Rock Goddess or Girlschool style band and damn they nailed it and had the place going by the time I'd arrived.

They closed up with current single Everything I Learned I Learned from Rock & Roll that totally nailed the band's AC-DC tendencies and sounded pretty monumental from where I was stood looking down on them. It also made me wish I'd got there in time to hear the whole set.

After the break and a far longer wait than was really necessary the lights went out and a Didgeridoo came on the PA at top volume to vibrate the place and Hail Ferocious Dog to the stage, who I last saw as one of the first bands on at Rebellion a couple of years ago and had been wanting to see again since then. Once the 6 of them were onstage, the Didgeridoo gave way to the bands opening romp through Gallows Justice: a rather serious song about what could lead you to be hanging from that Gallows Tree.

Yes, they play proper Irish rebel songs throughout with Mandolins, tin whistles and a ferocious punk attitude as Ken Bonsall gave it everything he has while singing Spin and telling our politicians to stop giving us shit and lying. A great song, basically. They then had a technical issue or two that once resolved meant Alex Smith the drummer could stop marking time and they could get on with sounding like an angrier Flogging Molly.

For a band as angry as they are, they write some damn fine catchy songs and it feels like a party even when they are singing about Taking Them All away or about having No Place to Live as social issues are always at the forefront of their lyrics.

The song they do based around Johnny Comes Marching home was a real highlight that I think was about the criminal Justice act. They also had a great rallying cry that Together we are strong before they dedicated the final song to Jeremy Corbyn. That was about a relative who took to the bottle after losing his job and this was a perfect rousing support set and I think I need an album or two to help me learn the song titles.

After the break It was time for The Wildhearts' classic line-up to make their grand entrance. In all honesty, it wasn't as grand as Ferocious Dogs, but was still greeted with an almighty cheer as they came on and launched into Greetings From Shitsville. The entire audience right up to the gods launched into the lyrics right on cue and sang the first verse and half the chorus before Ginger and CJ joined in almost as backing vocalists both with big grins on their faces as they knew this was going to be a riot.

TV Tan was a rampage with Danny Wildheart giving it his all on bass and it was great to see him standing up for a few songs such have the ravages of the last 25 years taken their toll on Danny but he looked in much better shape than a couple of years ago and as everyone was screaming about that crack pipe I could see the beer flying below us on the dance floor that was hotting up a bit.

Everlone was an adrenal rush to the senses that seemed to go pogo manic in the pit below as everyone in the place sang along as one. Shame On Me Kept up the pace and the sheer joy in the place as we all re-lived 1993 once more in what now looks like a golden era in many respects - post grunge noise and Grebo made some great music and The Wildhearts just nailed it, all that was missing in Koko was the fog and haze. Oh, and that back then the headline act at The Camden Palace never went on before 12.30 am. Ah the good old days.

Then as they blew into Caffeine Bomb it was like the place exploded and the audience sang louder than the band for most of the extreme shot in the arm. As they crashed into Loveshit, there was no let-up in the pace and the general happy vibe no matter how bad things might get this party is on.

Like in the old days Danny Wildheart could often been seen with any number of Miles Away Girls on a Sunday night down the Rock Garden at Big Bob's 20 something years ago now, but these anniversary shows open up the memory banks and shouting along to Miles Away Girl was always great fun.

As For My Baby Is a Headfuck, the whole place went mental for the women of the early 90's those wild heart years and beer was flying downstairs while we all sang along, chanted and danced along. You couldn't possibly be standing still by this point, not unless you were almost comatose from a Suckerpunch. Ginger certainly wasn't hanging around or he'd end up in the News Of The World back in the day when that was a fine purveyor of fake news back in simpler pre-internet days.

Time for more beer to go flying on Drinking About Life which was pretty much the band's hard living mantra back then and it still seems to be for much of the mosh pit below me as they reach the finale of Love U 'Til I Don't that has CJ and Ginger really going for it as they bring this mass sing along to a close and they say good night.

Then, as everyone knew they were coming back for an encore, the applause and singing from the audience was less than I was expecting but of course they came back out to play another 7 of the bands greatest hits. After thanking us all, they were properly Sick of Drugs, one which went down a storm as did a great version of Vanilla Radio that was shouted from the rafters on down.

Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes was about the only song that had anyone looking like they didn't expect to hear it but it only had slightly less singing along to it than the rest of the encore.

Anthem really got things going for everyone to go properly nuts to Geordie In Wonderland: a place Ginger has now been in for a long while and we're thankful they are all still having this good a party on a Sunday night.

29 Times The Pain just seems to amp things up a little bit more before some more thanks and the obligatory romp through I Wanna Go Where The People Go to make sure most of the audience had no voice left by the time they walked out of a now very hot and sweaty venue, extremely happy indeed at the end of a truly great whirlwind of a set. I am already looking forward to the 30th Anniversary tour.
  author: simonovitch

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