The Wildhearts/Sign/G.U. Medicine Live @ Zodiac, Oxford (UK) - 28th April 2007

Within the last month, I've been laying a simple slide rule across the new bands that cross my path in my capacity as a reviewer. Now fellow Glitziners, this is a simple rule, and I would implore you to also try it as it not only saves you valuable time to get on with your life but means you get less shit music in it as well.

OK, here it is, my golden rule.

If a bands guitarist balls can be seen "below" their guitar in a live environment then they are going to be shit and not worth your time.

Think about it for a minute and then I'm sure you will thank me for this, no more Indie shit like "The View", "The Arctic Monkeys" or "Kings of fucking Leon", and your world is one more sweeter place as a result.

Casting this rule over tonight's proceedings I am happy to report that all bands passed "Indie negative" with flying colours. Thankfully then my night spent rammed into a venue on the latest "Wildhearts" comeback tour was not going to be a waste of my time.

Barnsley tykes "G.U Medicine" hit the stage to an almost totally empty venue at smack on 7 O'clock and yes indeed (as Gingers old paymasters would have said) it was time to party. Coming over somewhere between "QOTSA" and "The Almighty", my foot was stomping along to the tracks from new second album "Saints of Excess" right from the off. If they could drop the screamy interludes this band would simply be head and shoulders above a majority of the new bands in the UK right now, as it is they are simply peaking "chadlike" over the parapet. I'll just leave you with the thought that singer "Lee Medicine" looks like the long lost brother of "Paddy Maguire" from Channel 4's "Shameless".

So it's up to Icelandic glam rockers "Sign" to give the night a seismic kick start both in image and attitude terms. Singer and rock god in the making "Zolberg" simply won't let the now rapidly filling venue stand and watch. You're simply either with him and his band or you can fuck off. I've raved about these guys before, and again they deliver full force new age glam with songs from their debut English speaking album "Thank God For Silence" (this is still one of my favourite albums of last year). The partisans left in the crowd during their thirty minutes on stage were seemingly all won over by the time "Sign" launched into a cover of "Youth Gone Wild" and it really is all over much to quickly for me in the shape of the epic prog glam of "When Demons Win". I know I've said it before, but with the right backing "Sign" will be fucking ENORMOUS.

Taking to the stage to the strains of "Locked In" by antipodean granddad rockers "Crowded House" certainly shows Ginger's troops very varied taste in music. It also did have me sort of worried that my recent disappointment with El Gingo ones solo output might just have extended into The Wildhearts repertoire. However as the opening riff to "Vanilla Radio" cut through the PA my head was quickly tilted skywards and I, along with what seemingly felt like half of Oxfordshire, let out a howl, the like of which had not heard since Fangface was last seen on TV's in the UK.

As "G.U Medicines" Lee had said earlier "They just don't make bands like The Wildhearts anymore". So when you as a punter get a set that featured songs like "TV Tan", "Nexus Icon", "Sick of Drugs", "Head Fuck" and "Everlone" it gets really hard to be anything other than…well… very pleased really.

Of course this latest version of "The Wildhearts" is yet another to add to the (Pete Frames worst nightmare) family tree, and in new bassist "Scott Sorry" I do think Ginge, CJ and Rich have found a near perfect foil. He not only looks the part but also is a little bass dynamo, not unlike a Danny Zuko version of Pete Way. Bounding around the stage like the whippersnapper he is whilst adding some welcome depth to the as usual spot on harmony vocals.

Two new era songs were aired within the set in the shape of "Rooting For The Bad Guy" and "Revolution Will Be Televised", and this is where some people in the crowd did seem to lose a little interest. I'm still undecided on the new album, but live these muthas really did speed past and seemed to complement the anthems on offer such as show closer "I Wanna Go Where the People Go" perfectly.

It is simply staggering to think that after something like 15 years since "Greetings" first hit the shelves of our local record shops. And now in 2007 that there is such a plethora of Wildhearts songs that weren't played that most bands would have killed to have in their sets. On this form, long may "The Wildhearts" continue? Who knows?

by Johnny H.

Visit the Wildhearts Website

Visit the Sign Website

Visit the G.U. Medicine Website