The Wildheart’s @ Bowery Ballroom (3/14/2009)

Every now and again I like to take a breather from the pounding Metal and indulge in some good Ole Punk Rock with a dash of Hard Rock tossed into the blend. My chance would come when the legendary Wildheart’s arrived in NYC for the second of two regional shows and did their thing at The Bowery Ballroom. Opening the show would be Russo (who we missed) along with Scott Sorry & The Sinatras and J Roddy Walston & The Business. We made sure to take photos of all the bands that we caught and if you want to learn more just scroll on down past the logo to be taken to our article.

Logo - The Wildhearts

Artist: The Wildhearts
Venue: Bowery Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: J-Roddy Walston & The Business, Scott Sorry & The Sinatras, Russo
Date: 3/14/2009
Label: Round Records

I don’t find myself getting to many of the area Hard Punk shows and that’s a shame because there are so many amazing bands that deliver this kind of stuff right here in the City. Of course tonight would be an exception when I learned that there was going to be one of two regional shows by the UK’s The Wildheart’s. I was interested because I had recently received a release from the band and while I had never followed them during the heyday found some real appeal in the way that they do things. The band was formed by Ginger (aka David Walls) who was originally a member of The Quireboys way back in the late 80’s and with my being a staunch Metal head by that time I was not listening to anything that resembled what they delivered. Tonight’s gig would follow a show in Hoboken that was held the preceding night and as I wandered around the crowd it seemed as though many of the attendees here this evening had also got themselves to that show as well. The gig was being held at The Bowery Ballroom, which is a venue I love based on its layout and overall sound. The night was set to be jam-packed with Rock and Roll as well, with three opening bands that featured Russo, Scott Sorry & The Sinatras and J. Roddy Walston & The Business getting things started. Here is how the night went down.

Russo: We would miss the set by Russo entirely and it seemed as though we were not the only ones who had that happen since the room attendance was rather sparse. I am sure that I will hear their name on a bill sometime in the future and from that I will get some live coverage down for the readers. After the show I checked the band’s MySpace and found them to be a more Modern Rock type of outfit that seemed slightly out of place with what else was going on tonight. Sorry & The Sinatras were coming up next and I had heard good things about these guys.

Scott Sorry & The Sinatras: These guys hit the stage with a great level of energy and proved themselves to be a very accessible brand of New Punk. I was a new listener to their sound tonight and was really getting into what they were doing. At times they reminded me a little bit of classic bands like Rancid or Social Distortion and interestingly enough the band featured two former members of Trashlight Vision in drummer Roger “Rags” Segal and bassist Lenny Thomas which I found to be rather cool. Scott plays the guitar in this lineup and handles the main vocal lines with Lenny doing backup. He spoke to the crowd a couple of times and seemed rather congenial and I was impressed to find that he would be doing double duty this evening as it is also his musical job to be the current bass player in The Wildheart’s. The downside of their set was that there was no music to purchase around the venue and I am not sure if the guys actually have a deal or not. I am sure that someone will realize this is a good thing and snap them up. As they closed up their set I noticed Acey Slade wandering about, and it was nice to see him supporting his former band mates on a night when he is not performing himself. J. Roddy Walston and The Business were coming up next.

J Roddy Walston & The Business: The four piece group surprised me because of the keyboards that were present on stage and I was expecting something entirely different from what happened and when they hit the stage all I could say was “Wow”. The band delivers a very conventional brand of Rock that at times had me thinking of Jerry Lee Lewis based on the maniacal delivery of he who the band is named after and while the musical style was more 70’s Classic Rock at times, there was also a sense of Modern Rock going on. Really cool stuff and I did manage to get a copy of their CD “Hail Mega Boys” which was available for the fans they made tonight to purchase. They hail from Baltimore, MD apparently and I would really like to see them once again when they are more in control of the night and have openers getting us ready for them. Good luck guys, you really impressed many people with this gig. Now it was time for The Wildheart’s to close the whole night out in style and I was rather excited by this point since it was thus far satisfying and treating me to a number of bands I would not normally see.

The Wildhearts: According to some of the people who were pushed up against the front of the stage where I actually was for a change, The Wildheart’s were returning to NYC after what appeared to have been a few short years absence from the region. This was partially the reason for the now packed house and also as mentioned some of the folks had been hitting the other shows the band was doing. One particular group really impressed me when I found out that they had traveled all the way down from Canada to see this NYC show. Just think about that when you complain about a show being in Queens and you are from Coney Island. It was rather interesting to do this show coverage with little background on the band because one never knows how it is going to hit you but from the first chord that they band played I knew I was going to like this. Joining Ginger in The Wildheart’s are Scott Sorry on bass who we saw only about an hour or so before with his band and CJ on guitar and vocals along with Ritch Battersby on drums. They are not the original members of the band as the group has had a number of lineup changes across its history and still pushes forward with Ginger at the helm.

I snapped a shot of the set list and showed it to those folks near me who wanted to see what they would do and from this I learned that it was going to be an enjoyable night. I had only recently received a copy of the bands covers album called “Stop Us If You’ve Heard This One Before” and really liked how they reworked a number of classic Punk songs, but beyond that I was checking them out with no background on the material. Ginger is a solid guitarist and a great live singer for this kind of material and he was very in touch with the crowd who was here tonight as he engaged them a number of times with relevant banter about the band and his goings on. One of the first tunes I recognized was “Understanding Jane” from the covers album. The tune was originally done by The Icicle Works and since I had never heard their version I could only assume that the energy The Wildheart’s were finding as response to their version was doing it some justice. As the night progressed the crowd was getting a little more active near where I was positioned and I decided to move out of the way and let those fans that were much more hard core than I am into the space. I loved hearing Scott Sorry sing the Warren Zevon classic “Carmelita” and under the bands direction thunders with a new life that I think would make the late great Rock genius smile down on them. The guys had a guest star come out during the show who was apparently the lead singer of the band Caprice and he would also play the bass during the tune.

As a new observer I definitely took Ginger’s mannerisms with the crowd as being humble and appreciative and that’s always cool to see happening at a show because too many “rock stars” are far too full of themselves and are hardly stars in the first place. This dude was coming off to me as a first class rocker who loved doing his thing for his fans and any other new people who are interested in hearing his stuff. I really felt as though I was part of the bands community as opposed to an outsider looking in on a fun time. In the end there was a whole lot of great Rock ‘N Roll that was delivered tonight and I would totally check out an appearance of The Wildheart’s again when they come back around. Having seen a number of interesting shows in this room such as HIM, The 69 Eyes, Blackfield and The Hellacopters, I could easily say that I was proud to add The Wildheart’s to an already impressive list of memories in this room. Check out that covers album when you can and watch your listings for a return go round of the band in concert. You will not regret doing so.

Set list:
1. Karma
2. Nita Nitro
3. Top Of The World
4. Understanding Jane
5. Just In Lust
6. Rootin’
7. Carmelita
8. Jackson Whites
9. Weekend
10. Caprice
11. Red Light, Green Light
12. Beautiful Thing
13. 29x The Pain
14. Everlone
15. I Wanna Go Where The People Go

We caught guitarist/singer Acey Slade in the venue tonight giving some support to his friends in Scott Sorry’s band.  Both drummer Roger “Rags” Siegel and bassist Lenny Thomas were at one time members of Acey’s band Trashlight Vision.

Acey Slade and Lenny Thomas

Official Website: http://www.thewildhearts.com

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