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The Wildhearts – TriBeCa Rock Club
As my truly faithful readers may remember (this means Frank!), my lovely toxic twin Elizabeth (may she rest in rock) was a Wildhearts fan and really was one of the people responsible for me going to this show. I wish she were alive to see it – it really would have been off the chain, but let me bring this back up again.
If you remember the story of her and a couple of Babies she found in her Backyard that made it into Kerrang a few years back, I kind of turned my back on that chapter – having a Yo-Yos afterparty debacle which nearly ended in a fistfight between one of my best friends Jesse Malin, and Danny McCormack, who was a former Wildheart and then Yo-Yo. His brother Chris warned me, but I really didn’t know either of them too well at the time… I walked away from that whole scene. Too much drama for me. I’m glad it’s not in my current archive…that would be too humbling. It really died with Elizabeth, so I’m going to start fresh and focus on the music.
Well, I’m not really sure what woke me up from my hibernation in the first place. How did I ever get back to The Wildhearts? I think it was through The Darkness (see my review for Coolgrrrls…no pun intended). I have been bitching for YEARS about having a FUN, tight, rock and roll band on the scene – like DLR-era Van Halen – just balls out rock, that’s not jock-rock chest-beating sing alongs, shoe-staring indie rock, whiney-crybaby emo, growling nu-metal or some crap like that. We need music by boys who might actually LIKE girls and not be scared of them or cry when they kick them out in the morning. Nope. So, enter the Darkness, and I think I have found my answer. Or have I…
Fast-forward to a trip to Atlantic City where I see The Darkness is playing. I got on Pollstar and see they are touring with the WILDHEARTS. Blast from the past. I remember the promo EP I picked up in the thrift store in Savannah, GA in 2000 while I was on tour and put in on the CD player – and it ROCKS. That will be one kick ass show. I am kind of wierded out by getting back into that scene, but find out that The Wildhearts have booted out the offending member, so I may be safe. Of course, with my luck, I find out that The Darkness are playing the New York area the same night as the Wildhearts. I make my choice. Wildhearts it is. I hate Jones Beach as a venue –Wildhearts are playing a small club. Steve from Electric Frankenstein is going and vouches for the band. I have no idea what their fan base will be in NYC AND I have a friend from the UK visiting that week, so that seems to be the thing to do.
I also did some homework being the journalist (*cough*cough*cough*ahem) that I am, and I buy Earth vs. The Wildhearts on a friend’s recommendation on e-bay. Seems like everything is out of print. I hear my friends at Gearhead are putting something out, too. Excellent. I get the CD, and it’s just amazing. The right amount of revved-up hard rock to appeal to my hyperactive, amped-up side, and the right amount of power pop for the girlie side of me. Then as I’m bopping round my pad I hear:
“Her head’s up with the stars because she knows that’s where she’s heading. The good guys think she’s different the rest just think she’s weird”
..and it hits me like a ton of bricks. “People take advantage but she loves her fellow friend..”. Story of my fucking life. And then there’s “My Baby is a Headf*ck”, which reminds me of Beth. Imagine me the sane one of that duo.
I join their message board to get more tips, facts and whatever and meet some really cool folks. And of course all I want to do is take photos – I’ve been to this venue once before and it’s really weird – they do not normally have good shows – or shows at all. I see myself getting tackled by goons who bust up my rig. Why don’t they play the Bowery Ballroom where a Hell’s Angel has my back? So I try to get in touch with publicists and all that and I think I get the right person. I buy my tickets as I really like to support the artists.
So Jenni Ramone comes from Leicester, I get invited to a party down the block form the venue with an artist/art dealer I don’t know very well. We have some beer there because the support acts are crap. I don’t know what to expect. We get to the venue minutes before the show and happen to follow in some of the band members. I really don’t even know what they look like, but Jenni points them out. Jenni and I are armed with cameras. We wiggle up front.
They start and I think that a jet is taking off in the venue. What a powerhouse. Just amazing. I think they opened with “Greetings from Shitsville” which I sing all the time walking down the streets of New York (ha ha). It also is the first song off the only album that I own at this point. Just killer. I am getting in there with my camera and I feel a bottle hit the back of my head! Oh no! This is the chickens coming home to roost! This is karma for taking the photo of Hank from Turbonegro after he got hit in the head with a bottle after 2.5 songs! Hey! Deity of the universe! I didn’t exploit that! I gave it to the band! I didn’t sell it to SPIN! See their web site! I also took them to peep shows after! don’t punish me! Please! But my trademark leopard-print cowboy had saves me from stitches…
They have a CD out there called Riff After Riff after Motherf*cking Riff” and guess what – the show is just like that It seems as though minutes pass and they are doing an encore – they do “Suckerpunch” and “Headf*ck” which I know from my little EP. This is like Cheap Trick if they still wrote good songs. I am just floored. A fellow New York rocker says to me, “We just got a lesson tonight”. No kidding. This should be required viewing.
The Electric Frankenstein posse from NJ is hanging around and we talk to them for a bit. They are waiting to talk to Ginger and co. Jenni tells me the new bass player is from a UK band called The Cardiacs that is one of her favorite bands. Cool. I go to buy merch form them – more support of the rock. My and my guitar player made a pact – he would buy me a darkness shirt and I would buy him a Wildhearts T-shirt. I buy a tank top for myself – the last one – and the “Must Be Destroyed” album. More kismet? Isn’t that form Turbonegro?
I run into the drummer, who was posing for me during the set and being an otherwise good sport (until by futzing with my brand new digital camera he shouted “Take the FUCKING PICTURE!!”), and tell them how much I enjoyed the show and I asked his name. “Stidi”, he says, to which I respond, “I’m Kitty”, and I blurt out, “Hey – – Kitty and Stidi! It sounds like a kid’s cartoon show”. I swear I have Tourette syndrome. I say, “Well, Danny and Chris McCormack turned me onto you guys”, and the vibe changes, “I haven’t talked to Danny since he’s been out”, so I’m guessing that’s the WRONG thing to say and maybe their last experience was like mine…
I get downstairs, and see Ginger. I thank him for the show, and tell him that Chris was the one to turn me onto the band, and as we chat, I mention his wife Angie, and he tells me she’s HERE! I have not seen her since maybe 1998 or so at Coney Island High, and just kept in touch with her former bandmate from Fluffy, Bridget. So we chat on and we talk about some mutual friends and then the guitar player introduces himself, “Hi I’m Cornelius”. “I’m Kitty” This is sounding like another TV show. “Like Planet of the Apes?”, I ask. He says his friends call him Monkey Boy. I somehow wind up telling Angie the story of Coney’s famous crash-and-burn tale of a losing battle with the Authorities. “We Did It Our Way”, I muse. Angie asks if I will take CJ to the after-party at Manitoba’s. Anyone who reads this knows I love “afterparties” and “Manitoba’s” as much as I throw afterparties at Niagara. I was just there for the MC5!
We go there, and everyone from the show is piling in. Who do I see locked in conversation but two of my favorite people – Handsome Dick Manitoba and Little Steven Van Zandt. My irrepressible self busts in like the Bull in a China shop that I am. I introduce CJ and tell him about The Wildhearts. I am giddy. It’s like the first time I heard the Sex Pistols. And given that I shot over 100 rock and roll bands live last year, which means a lot. I should be completely jaded. But people like Steven keep me inspired – there is always some thing new to discover out there – and I have. I am glad my past wacky experience didn’t taint me, but I am an open book, really. Up for anything. For better or worse. “People take advantage but she loves her fellow friend.”. sigh
Anyway, the crew have bus call, and we say our goodbyes. I am going to Canada this week and find out they are, too. CJ promises to put me on the list. I go to the confounded Pollstar site again –and they are with The Darkness! So I guess I do get my wish. I get to see The Darkness and The Wildhearts AGAIN, and I really don’t think it gets too much better than that. This time, I also get to listen to the new CD beforehand to heard the new songs and it’s just the kind of thing I love. I wear my vintage Cheap Trick tour jacket in homage. The Wildhearts made a stressful day at work with a 6 am wake-up call to be in mind-numbing, all-day meetings in Quebec another great night in rock and roll.