There are many ways I could write this. This is the one I am choosing and I hope someone, somewhere understands why.

“Dislocated, I feel dislocated from your world….” It’s more than a line from the first song here. It’s a feeling, a feeling that many of us understand.

Like many people, I succumbed to some mental health issues this year. The anxiety that I’d managed all my adult life became depression and I ended up having therapy, which is ongoing. As part of this, they make you keep a “worry diary”, where you write down everything that upset you.

I am writing this on Sunday and last night, I was listening to this, and it ended up in there.

How, you may ask? Regular readers will know that I never ever miss a chance to say The Wildhearts are my favourite band – they have been since 1995 and they most probably always will be. They were there when my mother died in 2009, when my depression was at its worst this summer, and at much better times too, like when my niece was born, and the first words I said to her (I was panicking in case I dropped her, let me off) “Hello sweetheart, aren’t you gorgeous? What’s your favourite Wildhearts song?” and they were a few weeks ago, when my brother text me to say that the aforementioned baby – now a toddler of getting on for two – was merrily giggling away as he sang “Caffeine Bomb” to her.

Well, they ended up in the diary precisely because they are this important. Bare with this, yeah: “30 Year Itch” was recorded on the bands tour last year. I saw them four times last year, three of which were last Autumn. One of them was a late trip to Cambridge, because Ferocious Dog opened, and a very good friend of mine who lives that way loves them as much as I love The Wildhearts.

I drove to Cambridge after work in Birmingham, went to the gig and back home. Within two months I could barely drive the ten miles home without pulling over in a panic attack, and thus began the spiral.

Which is why “30 Year Itch” represents more, so much more than a mere record. Yes, there’s 75 minutes of some of my very favourite songs, whether it’s the new ones like “Dislocated” or the phenomenal “Diagnosis” (about mental health). The old ones like “TV Tan” (which genuinely was my name on message boards in the early part of the internet until I realised the reason I got loads of odd Direct Messages was TV meant Transvestite online…Gods honest truth!), the ones that you’d forgotten how good they were, “Mazel Tov Cocktail”, and “Someone Who Won’t Let Me Go”.

This was a set that pushed the boundaries. “Urge” from the incredible – and incredibly underrated – “Endless Nameless” record, and “Anthem” were back too and The Wildhearts relationship with their fans is a special one. My story, the way I relate to the band, is I imagine, far from unique. You go to their gigs, as I have for a quarter of a century, and you see the same people, and like me, they all try and do “Caffeine Bomb” and can’t (it’s that “webbing that I am shredding” bit in the second verse, every time).

And there’s my favourite song too. “Love U Till I Don’t”, the absolute epitome of what this band – this set – is about. Harmony, a desire for something better, but the realisation that if there is going to be, then you’d best do it yourself, “The Frankenstein you tried creating to give your trust and I’m still waiting, take me as I am or not at all” seems to resonate on so many levels. But amongst all the harmony, there’s the crushing heavy. There’s never been a band like this. Never.

Then it finishes, as every gig seemed to do on this tour, with “I Wanna Go Where The People Go” – and I don’t care how many times I’ve been at Wildhearts gigs with my family and friends over the years, doing that “hey, hey, hey” bit with clenched fist defiance never gets boring. Never.

Which is why it went in the diary, because hearing these songs, this set, by this band, means way more than you, or they will ever understand. It represents something now too. It represents a goal. In the therapy I am undergoing, they make you set goals to prove you are “better”. One of my four is genuinely to drive to Cambridge the next time The Widhearts play there. Whenever that is.

So you’d best believe “30 Year Itch” brought back memories, and it offers hope too. Like one of their songs once said: “god bless The Wildhearts.”

Rating: as ever, The Wildhearts don’t get one.

More From Author


Popular Posts

Latest Gig Reviews

Latest Music Reviews


Band Of The Day