WORDS WILL MAXWELL / IMAGES JOE JONES
2000s rock bands seem to be in fashion again as the 30-somethings chase that nostalgia hit. Tonight we are in Manchester to see American rock band Wheatus who formed Northport, New York in 1995 on the second night of their 2023 UK and Ireland tour.
To say it’s an extensive tour would be an understatement. They will play an incredible 47 dates in the UK and Ireland over the next few months. The Bread Shed is tonight’s host, in a late change as the original venue Gorilla remains closed.
The Manchester weather has taken a turn this week with the temperature dropping, but the heat inside the venue is borderline uncomfortable with the near 500-capacity crowd packed in and eagerly awaiting the band’s arrival.
The make-up of the crowd is interesting and demonstrates Wheatus’ cross-genre appeal. You’ve got your pop fans but also quite a few metalheads including those of us like me thinking we are clever sporting our Iron Maiden t-shirts.
Lead singer and guitarist Brendan B. Brown greets the front row of the crowd and asks them what they would like as the opening song and they choose their debut album track ‘Love Is A Mutt From Hell’
The set list for the whole gig is chosen by the fans. Most bands these days will play the same set night after night so this was a refreshing change. This genuine interaction with the crowd keeps everyone engaged and the rest of the band on their toes as Brendan picks from the requests throughout the evening.
Their debut album dominates the set list, which is no surprise given it’s by far their most commercially successful offering. The groovy ‘Leroy’ and ‘Wannabe Gangster’ has everyone dancing away.
Crowd interaction was a big part of the show, and the mention of last night’s gig in nearby Stockport was met with a mixed reaction! We were also treated to a quick Iron Maiden jam after a presumably early request for *that* song. We’ll have to wait a little while for that one…
‘Truffles’ and their brilliant cover of Erasure’s ‘A Little Respect’ has the whole room singing along. The latter was a big hit in the UK and is sometimes forgotten when the band are somewhat unfairly labelled as one-hit wonders.
They’ve also released 5 studio albums, although the latest one was way back in 2013. ‘Lemonade’, ‘BMX Bandits’ and ‘The London Sun’ go down well with the hardcore fans. They even play ‘Chan’s The Man’, a reworking of their ‘Punk Ass Bitch’ song which was used as the theme tune to the animated series Jackie Chan’s Adventures.
‘Hump’Em and Dump’Em’ is a perfect example of the light-hearted nature of the band who don’t expect you to take them too seriously. However, a heartfelt moment from Brendan thanking the crowd for not forgetting them and allowing them to still be doing this was a touching moment.
Of course, the set closes with the truly iconic ‘Teenage Dirtbag. An anthem still played at most rock nights 23 years after its release and even had its own TikTok trend last year. A sea of phones recording the moment lights up the room. Support act and friend of the band MC Frontalot joins in and drops a rap verse part-way through as the delirious crowd sing every word at the top of their lungs as they are transported back to their own Teenage Dirtbag years.
Wheatus looked like they enjoyed themselves as much as we did and put on a really fun show. They are likely playing somewhere near you soon, so if you are offered two tickets to see Wheatus baby, don’t say maybe!
Love Is A Mutt From Hell
I Am What I Is
A Little Respect
Chan’s The Man
The London Sun
Hump’Em And Dump’Em
Break It Don’t Buy It
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.