The live album these days has a strange place in music, is it redundant? Does anyone care? Or does it now sit as a mere memento of a show or a tour? In truth it should be none of these, a real live album should be a calling card, the reason to get out there are gorge on as much live music as you can, it’s the essence of rock and roll, with if you’re lucky your favorite band taking what it created in the studio and getting more real, more in your face and more irresistible!
The Wildhearts are a great live band, and though based down here in Australia it’s been a while since I’ve managed to get in more than a one off show they did at least come down to see us a few years back, and since then Ginger has been again in Courtney Love’s band. It doesn’t make up for seeing them live on a regular basis though at some sweaty venue like Rock City (where the 2014 live album Rock City vs The Wildhearts was recorded, their last and 5th live album) or The Borderline where they put on many a great show.
Recorded on the ‘P.H.U.Q.’ 20th anniversary tour from last year, ‘Never Outdrunk, Never Outsung’ is sadly not the document of a single show, but rather taken from a number of dates, which I guess makes it more of that ‘tour memento’ rather than true live document. As such it’s of course nice to have for a fan, with the entire P.H.U.Q. album (number 6 in the UK charts back in the day) getting a run out (with the exception of the ‘hidden bonus track’ ‘Don’t Worry ‘bout me’ that rounded out the original CD).
‘P.H.U.Q.’ was of course a classic, The Wildhearts at their commercial peak and untouchably catchy, an album meant to draw in through all the orifices and sing along to till your lungs burst or the next round beckoned. 20 years later it’s as if nothing has changed with the entire crowd singing along to all the songs and the band are on absolutely top form.
If you’re not a fan then this isn’t necessarily the first of their live albums I’d recommend but if you love P.H.U.Q. then the run through is a great reminder of that great album and the days when The Wildhearts even got on TOTP! Of course opener ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ will always be ‘that’ track that made us realise these guys really were special, but you’ve gotta love the crowd chant that underscores the song! In truth every track is gold – I always loved the simplicity and melody of ‘Just in Lust’ and ‘Caprice’ always made the mix tapes too, but ‘Baby Strange’ and ‘Nina Nitro’ are just as essential and even the mess about tracks – the ‘Metallicary’ ‘Cold Patootie Tango’ and the aforementioned ‘Up Your Arse You Fucking Cunt’ are worthy. Ginger is on fie form too of course as are the audience.
If you like it grab it from PledgeMusic and you get the bonus of a selection of encores as well as the opportunity to buy a ‘PHUQ Live In Japan’ DVD. Cool.