Every time I visit London the same doubts and uncertainty rise in my head. Will it be even more different than the last time? Will my own London still remain the same? Will I still be in love with the city?
I don’t go to London to see friends anymore, even though there are still some I’m in touch with, and don’t go as a tourist either, as I already know what I needed to know about the city. Beside, in the last years, London is not the affordable destination it used to be, with accommodation and public transport at outrageous rates. Shows are my current motivation. Up to date, I’ve never enjoyed live shows most but in London. Venues are cool, beer is affordable, audience is extremely livid and intense, and bands love playing there. The gig culture reigning is, in my humble opinion, the best, and I always love the vibe and the atmosphere, no matter what kind of show I’m about to see.
This time there were many factors which helped this trip to be special. On one hand it was my friend Jaume’s first trip to the old city, so I had to be some sort of cool guide, with the responsibility it implies, and on the other because the show we were attending featured Hey!Hello! and our beloved The Wildhearts, band which Jaume introduced thanks to a best of, in my life.
The stay was terrific. We enjoyed very good weather, had tons of laughs, joined my friend Ana, who is currently living and working there, for drinks, and I had a great surprise when coming out from the venue after the show, suddenly I was facing my best friend in my London years, Lukas, who is adorable, but a complete disaster getting in touch. Coincidence? Nah, I don’t think so. It was awesome, all the same.
I’d like to leave the leisure side of the trip aside, as the most remarkable event was no doubt the show. It was officially the 4th time I was seeing The Wildhearts. I remark officially, because I happened to see them in one or two festivals in UK but since I wasn’t acquainted with them, didn’t pay them attention. Anyway, one of the shows was also in London in 2007 at the disappeared Astoria club, before Christmas, which also was full.
This time it was at Electric Ballroom in Camden, a venue I had only been before for clubbing and on Sunday market. A guy told us capacity was approx 1200people, less than Astoria’s, and tickets were sold out.
We visited The World’s End pub for the previous drinks and it was then when I got my London vibe back. Classic British metal out loud, the pub packed, Ritch, The Wildhearts’ drummer was hanging with friends there, and this party atmosphere was so intense it really cheered me up.
After being warmed up enough we went to the venue as we wanted to see Hey! Hello! Ginger’s project with Victoria Liedtke. Their act featured 8 songs, included their hit ‘Swimwear’, and ‘Feral Days’, ‘How I Survived the Punk Wars’ and ‘Black Valentine’. We immediately noticed the impressive voice of Victoria, and the quality of sound at the venue, making it easy to distinguish and perceive the melodies of the different members in the band. She really looked nice, the way she jumped and danced, and the funny way she introduced the songs, making jokes all the time. A funny contrast between American and British. I liked it.
We were a bit tired after our intense morning walk and decided to chill out a bit, while the second act was taking place. Mainly because it was a Swedish prog band playing, and at that moment we needed an upper, rather than something complex, musically speaking.
When the time came, we couldn’t be more excited. The fuckin’ Wildhearts were playing and we were there ready to rock. And it was a hell of a show, damn! Never seen Ginger so happy, and the band so solid, compact and powerful. No doubt it was the best performance I had seen, in terms of quality. What a blast! They chose ‘Nothing Ever Changes’ as the starter, probably one of my top 3 favorite WH songs, and ‘TV Tan’ followed. By the third song, Jaume had already lost his voice and I was bawling all the songs as if that was my last day on Earth. The set list was perfect, hit after hit after motherfuckin’ hit, and the crowd was insane. Oh, man! It feels so good to be surrounded by unknown people mad about the band in the same way or even more passionate than you do!
It’s almost impossible a band like this comes back to Spain, when only 100 people attend their shows. It’s not worth it. We are not worthy. And it’s a pity, but we don’t have a proper rock culture and philosophy, supply/demand is nonsense here. And of course, The Wildhearts are one of the most underrated rock bands on Earth.
I feel pity for those who are not acquainted with this band, because I’m positive their lives would be much better if they could enjoy the work of The Wildhearts.
I only hope I manage to see them next time soon.
Bless Ginger, CJ, Scott and Ritch, and those who were left behind. Long Live The Wildhearts!