Live Review : The Wildhearts + The Lazys + Last Great Dreamers @ Liverpool Grand Central on July 18th 2019

A night out in Liverpool is quite a rare thing for me, and with two of my favourite bands on the bill plus another that I’d heard good things about I was looking forward to a good night, tonight.

With 3 bands to get through, Last Great Dreamers hit the stage early, and the room was a little more empty than I think they deserved. They powered through a short but wonderful 8-song set of their power-pop-tastic songs, starting with ‘Primitive Man’ from their most recent album “13th Floor Renegades” and ending with ‘Oblivion Kids’ from the previous one “Transmissions From Oblivion”. As the set was a woeful 30 minutes long the material drew heavily from the most recent album, but that was fine by me as it’s a stonking listen, full of catchy singalong songs that grab you by the feet and insist that you dance with them. There were several other diehard Dreamers fans in attendance, and we made sure that due appreciation was given. There were also several people who obviously weren’t familiar with the band, and it was nice to hear some very complimentary remarks and see a bit of a queue at the merch stand after the set. It seems that Rick on drums and Tim on bass are going to be permanent fixtures, and that’s great. Despite the heart of the band being guitarist Slyder and vocals/guitar Marc it seems that live the four of them have bonded into a really tight and cohesive unit now, and they just get better every time I see them. Good stuff.

Next band, The Lazys are Australian. You know what? By the end of the first song I guessed that they were because like pretty much all Australian bands the AC/DC influence is there lurking. Well OK, not lurking. More sort of running up and sticking the nut on you to be fair. The band are good, the songs are good, the stage moves are good, it’s all good but, but….. well let’s be honest lads there is more than one band in the world to be like. Maybe expand your horizons a bit musically? You’ve got the chops, you’ve got the looks, you’ve got the moves so a sound of your own would work so well for you! I mean, guitarist running madly around the room still playing? Yeah, Angus was doing that before you were born. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good band. If you’ve never heard of AC/DC, they’d be a great band. But let’s be honest again, who’s never heard of AC/DC? It’s all good natured and good fun, and I did enjoy it, but I’d like to see them have a crack at doing something that isn’t quite as derivative because I suspect they could smash it if they made the effort. As it was, the assembled Scousers were appreciative but a little bit wary. They too had a queue at the merch stand though, so perhaps, it’s just me that’s a bit old and jaded?

On the other hand, old and jaded is not a term you can ever apply to The Wildhearts. Closer to dogged and persistent maybe? I get the feeling that once the earth has been nuked into oblivion and there’s nothing left but cockroaches, there will still be The Wildhearts there somewhere, still making music for them to listen to. This band’s history is an epic story in itself, with addictions and fights and illness (both mental and physical) and hate and love but somehow through it all, they have survived and each time you think it must be the end for them they somehow manage to come back stronger than ever. I’ve seen them do good shows and bad shows in the past. I’m happy to be able to report that tonight they were bang on form and played a blinding set.

They came on to an intro tape of seminal crowd singalong ‘Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me’ and once again played a fast-paced show that included old favourites, new classics and the odd unexpected curveball of a song just because some of their fans are total anoraks and fill pages of internet forums with complaints that they never play “that b-side from 1994 that was only ever released in Japan but is probably the best song you ever wrote”. I’ve cheated a bit this time, rather than do a song-by-song analysis of the setlist there’s a picture of it in the gallery if you care about that sort of thing.

It’s only a few songs different to when I saw them in Manchester fairly recently, but to be honest I could (and indeed have, at certain points in my life) happily listen to the same handful of The Wildhearts songs over and over without getting bored with them so that’s no biggie. The crowd are, as always, super enthusiastic and know all the words. I can hear CJ’s guitar in the mix (one for the anoraks *wink*) and like vampires the band start to feed off the energy in the room and get better and better as the night progresses. I’m probably not the best person to send to review this particular band cos I tend to just go all fangirl when I’m not dancing like a loon so I’ll sum it up in just a couple more lines. If you like The Wildhearts, you would have loved tonight. If you’re ambivalent this show might just have converted you. If you don’t like them you are a very strange person and you’re probably wasting your time reading this!

Words and photography by Jo Crosby