The Wildhearts - O2 Institute, Birmingham 04.02.2020
In what has no doubt been one hell of an epic run of Europe & UK shows, Backyard Babies and The Wildhearts bring their co-headline tour to an end with the final show at the O2 Institute Birmingham. Also joining up to open as support are CKY to complete a mouth watering line up.
Up first are Pennsylvanian hard rockers CKY. After bassist Matt Deis parted ways with the band last year, Chad Ginsburg and Jess Margera carry on as a two piece, with a backing track used for the vacant bass position. The performance is decent, but I can't help but feel that it doesn't have the same punch as it does as to when I have seen them previously as a full band. Chad is definitely a character, and does a stellar job of keeping the crowd entertained, bouncing about the stage like a lunatic to the killer opening riff of '96 Quite Bitter Beings'.
It's worth mentioning that CKY have got there fair share of fans here tonight too, as plenty of T-shirts are sparsely dotted around the venue, it just comes as a shame that the band are kind of in a difficult point in their career right now. That being said, as far as opening acts go, no complaints at all!
Now it's time for the co-headliners and it's Backyard Babies who are up first to take things up a notch. If you've ever seen this crazy Scandinavian export before you'll know full well that they never disappoint. They open with 'Good Morning Midnight' off of the new album 'Silver And Gold' but it's not until the cowbell heavy following song 'Th1rt3en Or Nothing' until the party really gets into full swing.
The band as a whole are on top form here tonight, with vocalist Nicke Borg and lead guitarist Dregen almost doubling up as co-frontmen, and not just because they share the vocals either, they are both full of so much energy and to put it simply - are just amazing performers. Quite often throughout the set Co2 machines engulf the pair in giant burst of smoke, making them look ridiculously cool.
The sound is raw and dirty, they are exactly what proper Rock n' Roll is about. Now eight albums into their career, they have quite a back catalogue to pick a setlist from, and tonight it really is all killer, no filler, with a few personal favourites being; 'Highlights', 'Abandon', 'Brand New Hate' and 'Minus Celcius' just to name a few. The set is capped off with 'People Like People Like People Like Us' and rounds off a spectacular Backyard Babies performance, I hope to see this bunch back in the UK very soon.
Last and certainly not least it's time for The Wildhearts to bring the curtains down on what has been a great night of live music. They lead out on to stage to a backing tape of their very own 'Don't Worry 'Bout Me', which gets the crowd straight into party mode, before kicking off with huge opener 'Everlone'.
The setlist tonight is almost a reflection of their greatest hits, as we continue on with 'Vanilla Radio' and then 'Caffeine Bomb'. One thing that the Wildhearts aren't afraid to do is include songs that were nor originally put in the setlist, as midway through the set one fan yells for "Geordie In Wonderland!" Other fans start to catch on and join in too, Ginger takes a good look at his band mates, start teasing the opening riffs and sure as that, they're playing exactly what was requested from them.
Like Backyard Babies, the Wildhearts are also on top of their game tonight. The musicianship really is at a top level here, one hell of a special mention has to be made of bassist Danny McCormack, who it is really great to see standing again, after losing his lower leg after an aneurysm a few years back.
The main set comes to a close with 'I Wanna Go Where the People Go' which sees Dregen and Johan from Backyard Babies join them onstage. After the encore the night is brought to an end with 'My Baby Is A Headfuck', 'Suckerpunch' and finally 'Love U 'til I Don't' to cap off an amazing show.
It's hard to pick between the two co-headliners tonight, to tell the truth we were just treated to two fantastic bands who know how to put on a great Rock show. That's what it's all about!
The Wildhearts - https://www.facebook.com/TheWildhearts/
Backyard Babies - https://www.facebook.com/backyardbabies/
Photos & Review - Sam Robinson Photography