Not a lot of interesting things happen in Grimsby don't you know?, in fact I think the last big thing was the guy who thought he was funny dancing on the top of the shopping centre - maybe that gives you an idea of what this town really is like. So when the announcements hot the paper that Wheatus had agreed to do a live concert at our Auditorium on the 16th June 2002 there was a furore running through the town. Once I'd found out about the gig and confirmed that I had 2 tickets, there was one question on my mind - was there going to be a support act and if so - who? Finally last Wednesday in an e-mail from a mailing list I'm on I got the confirmation I needed - 'Halo' had mailled all the members on their list who were in Grimsby or surrounding areas to inform us all that they were the supporting act - a good night was well and truly set up then. On arrival at the Auditorium 2 things hit both myself and my house-mate, No.1 was how old we felt compared to most of the rest of the crowd (I'd put the average age at 17) and second how slack the security was for the gig - nobody was checked for weapons and the presence of staff was virtually none, needless to say of that fact we weren't impressed. Anyway onto the gig itself - after standing around an hour waiting Halo came out and launched into a total of 4 tracks, with a little bit of inter-action with the crowd, but thats more suited for another review, as it was Wheatus we were there to see. After waiting for another half an hour after the opening act it was finally time to get down to business when Brandon and the rest of the group came out on stage to what can only be described as a rapturous welcome. *Play List* 1. Truffles: It was a bit disconcerting to see as the opening bars of Truffles were being played more than a few people in the crowd looked confused at what they were playing – but that didn’t matter to the more ‘dedic
ated’ fan, as Wheatus started to show themselves as more than just a pop band with a one-hit wonder single, and the 2 female backing singers were doing a grand job of getting the relatively small crowd excited at what was happening on stage. To say that Truffles is one of my least favourite songs from their album is an understatement, but even I had to ‘take my hat off’ to them as they even had me dancing along (well hopping anyway) to the song, and we all knew we were in for a good show. Then we did get what I thought was a nice touch – Brandon took time out to warn everyone about the young children at the front and not to crush them, one thing that had worried me when I got to the Auditorium so it was just nice to see. 2. A Little Respect: Now I’m not a fan of cover versions, but with this one I was, after getting the crowd worked up and almost begging for more with the first two songs he played them along perfectly by claiming they’ve ‘renamed the song’ from ‘A Little Respect’ to ‘The Grimsby Shuffle’ and of course anyone whos been to a concert knows that all the act has to do to send the crowd wild is name the town they’re in. Before they started up one request went out – that anybody in the crowd who knew the words sang along with them, shamefully I’m going to admit something here, I sang every single word – hell I liked the song when Erasure originally released it, now Wheatus have covered It I love the song. The thing is that when seeing Brandon playing along and singing on stage you realise that seeing these guys live is nothing compared to hearing their album, watching a video or seeing a live performance on TV, and during this concert it was never more evident than during ‘The Grimsby Shuffle’ (hey they renamed it – not me), as with the rest of the concert not one note was missed. After this song end
ed we had the main interaction with the crowd as Brandon walked around the stage to collect the array of teddies and gift that fans had thrown on stage. Followed by (and I assure you this happened) blowing his nose on a towel and offering it to the crowd to which he got a huge response (luckily from the opposite side of the crowd to me) and threw the towel in the middle of the group (now you know where the title came from). They were just about to launch into the next song when Mike (the main guitarist) decided he wanted to jump from one stage to the next – prompting many jokes about him leaving a ‘wet-patch’ with his ass on the floor, and ending with the crowd encouraging him to take his shirt off (which being the showman he is – of course he did). 3. Anyway: Now it was time for a song from their up and coming second album, this one had all their ‘non-fans’ wondering what was going on, and anyone who hasn’t heard the song but plans to get their new album is in for a great surprise, it honestly took me back to the first time I heard ‘teenage dirtbag’ – its got a great beat to it and is a real crowd-pleaser. Once again the barrage of toys started being thrown by the fans, all of them being aimed at Brandon who you could see was really getting into the spirit of the night and constantly interacting with the crowd be it in the middle of tracks or at the end. Before the next 2 tracks there was the decision that Brandon had to show the crowd exactly how to dance to them, by shaking his *ahem* derriere to the crowd – naturally I didn’t bother but alas others did (young gorgeous women shaking their butts – was I in heaven?) 4. Lemonade: One of the tracks that was cut from the album, but thankfully not from this gig, this time it was as if they were playing 2 songs in one (more on song 6) at once – one from the original album (Lemonade) and then a
newer one. A lot of the crowd were standing around at this point wondering what was going on as they didn’t recognize any part of the song. But once again your more hardened fans (aka me and a handful of others) knew exactly what was going on and found ourselves getting really into the swing of the track (for those of you that haven’t heard it it’s a fast-paced beat that doesn’t seem to ever slow down), and luckily the Gang on stage did exactly the same. 5. Freak On: Once again a hint of what the new albums going to be like, its fast paced again and seemed to latch on perfectly to the end of ‘Lemonade’ it’s the sort of song that you can find yourself humming along to all day (kinda like I have today), but the actions on stage were similar to Lemonade simply because they continued it all as one track. 6. American in Amsterdam: Another track wrote before they got famous – this time it almost seemed like they were going to be playing ‘Wannabe Gangster’ (the slowest track on their album) as it had some parts where you had to check it was wheatus you’d gone to see, but then when they hit the chorus you knew where you were as it was classic Wheatus all the way – ‘schoolboy lyrics’ with a real fast paced and fun beat to boot – and it made you wish that they had put it on the album. 7. Hump Em n Dump Em: Anyone who owns the album will know that its not exactly the easiest of songs to listen to and the title kinda gives that away. It’s a song that has strange lyrics and it was almost as if the band were embarrassed to be up on stage playing it. As they got into the track you could also tell that they wanted to hurry their way through it which they did – to say it was a little offputting would be an under-statement, but this was the only part that did mar the concert. 8. Hey Mr Brown: Obviously they needed to get the
ir crowd ‘back’ so to speak and when they started on this track I had my doubts – you think of Wheatus then hear ‘Hey Mr Brown’ believe me you wouldn’t expect it to be Wheatus singing it. Having said that though they really got into the song pointing out several fans in the crowd (yours truly included!) and that seemed to get everyone going, and when the crowd got into full steam, you could almost spot Wheatus ‘getting a second wind’ as they started to really play to the crowds whims and once again had everyone jumping, clapping, singing along – you name it the crowd did it and it was obvious the band were ‘on fire’ for the gig. At the end of the track there was an interesting part where Brandon mentioned that most of us probably had their songs downloaded on our computers and said that he didn’t care so long as we enjoyed the music and went to gigs if we could afford it, which I personally thought was a nice touch. 9. Leroy: After hearing it live we have a new leader for my favourite track on the album, they really got everyone into the whole scene of the gig – and you could see the passion that they’d put into their playing. It’s a hard part of the concert to review as there really aren’t any words to explain the general feeling in the crown during the song and the way the band were purporting themselves – everyone was literally just having fun! 10. The Song that I wrote when you dissed me: *ahem* we have a contender for most risqué lyrics from Wheatus finally, and it saddens me to say that everyone, myself included was laughing at the words they were singing – not at the band themselves, just the words. Remember when you heard an Eminem song for the first time and laughed at some of the graphic references to sex? Well this is what it felt like to listen to ‘The Song that I wrote when you dissed me’.
They didn’t play it bad, just, well, wait till they release it as a single and you may get what I mean. 11. Fairweather Friend: My highlight of the evening and another treat from the forthcoming album, a song about – well from the title its obvious and it was one that I could really get myself into after recent happenings in my home-life. Brandon once again had the crowd going (which was definitely helped by him jumping into the crowd and meeting fans – me again! Yay!) and the song itself seemed very similar to ‘A Little Respect’ sorry ‘The Grimsby Shuffle’ its slow in places but really does have a catchy chorus that makes you hum along to it for days to come. At this point Brandon thanked the crowd for coming and mentioned something about Grimsby having the best fish and chips in the world and wanting to go get some right away, this of course had all the non-fans confused and did seem to empty the crowd a little bit but of course it goes without saying that a Wheatus gig won’t end without…… 12. Teenage Dirtbag: Yep that’s right – we had an encore, with their biggest hit to date – to say that they had everyone going with this one just doesn’t do it justice – never before have I been in the middle of something so loud – the crowd were literally all singing or jumping or screaming or a mixture of all 3. As it got to a quieter bit came their trademark ending – getting members of the crowd on stage of all ages, which thankfully included yours truly (OK there was a Mum next to me unwilling to go on crowd with her child who let me take her place but still….) – and the end of the gig has to be one of the best moments of my life, the whole band took part in meeting the fans on stage and then decided that they wanted a picture of the whole crowd to put on their website (*cringe*). So whats the best way to get
a crowd jumping even more in England right now? – of course involve the World Cup – So we were all ordered on the count of 3 to act as if England had just won the Cup (kind of a pre-cursor for when we do do it don’t you know), and the crowd literally went mental for the picture. But it wasn’t going to end then – oh no, we were ordered then on the count of three to act like England had won the World Cup twice in a row (kind of a pre-cursor for 2006 of course) and once again everyone in the crowd went mental and it was finally time to disperse the Auditorium, from what was a great night for all. *Stadium* This is the first time I’ve visited Grimsby Auditorium and as a music venue it has to be said that its not bad, there's a great sound in the stadium, and the cleanliness was brilliant, though one thing didn’t sit right with me – and that was the lack of security: Pre-booked tickets were being handed out from a card-board box with hardly any security checks, When people walked in I never once saw anyone checked to see if they had weapons on them and the personnel in the auditorium itself it had to be said was scarce. But saying all that there was ample parking space, there hardly seemed to be any queues, and even on leaving there weren’t any problems at all – its just the security left my uneasy. *Merchandise* Very poor – a couple of T-shirts at £15, a couple of baseball tops at £20 (of which yes I bought one), a hat at £8 and a poster book for £5 – that was it, I wasn’t too happy to say the least. Now they’ve promised to come back in December for a second concert and am I going?, well after reading that what do you think?
Wheatus performed at the MEN Arena as part of the Unison Living Wage campaign gig. I wasn't expecting much, because of their first single, but ended up HATING them even more. One reason why I disliked them was the singer's voice; it was out of tune and way too high-pitched. They got two fans up on stage, who proved to be much better singers than their guy! Any more reasons? Of course there are! The girl and her purpose, well I haven't quite worked out why she was there, because she did virtually nothing apart from jump up and down a few times and sing one or two words in each song. Their next single is an erasure cover - need I say more? Erasure, apart from big perms, are one of the worst things to come out of the 80s - do we really need reminding of how tasteless everything was back then? They don't even do it well. Another reason is that everyone thinks they are a rock band. But that doesn't say anything to be honest. Wheatus are the music industry's equivalent of the 12-year-olds, who shop in 'topshop', wearing their 'rock' t-shirts. One word to describe both of them, is quite simply 'wannabe'! They never once changed their guitars/basses, making their songs monotonous and fairly repetitive. Their set-list included one song, which everyone knows, and the rest were blatant country and western songs, fuelled with tamborines and banjos. Wheatus come from the devil and the effect they're having should cease as soon as everyone realises what a waste of time they are, both live and recorded.
Wheatus had a busy day yesterday, not only did they play the Cardiff Coal Exchange yesterday, but also found the time yo play the Radio One Roadshow in Swansea. I was lucky to be at both shows and had a very funky day. As Wheatus have only released one single I did not knoW what to expect from them going on tour so soon. What I learned last night was that on the strength of one good single, a band can gain a massive audience, all willing to pay money to see them. To start the night we as the audience got to see a new Scottish band called Regencybuck. They were fun and played rock pop. They did a good job as warm up and after them we were ready to rock. Although the two gigs played in one day Wheatus looked like they'd slept for a year!They played 90mins of pure punk pop with no time to stop for a breath. They played all the songs of their current album and even sang some new songs to us that they haven't recoreded yet. Wannabe Gangster was a favourite as well as hey Mr Bown(don't have a cow!) Give al ittle respect was also a favourite, the cover of the old Erasure classic. It's going to be the new single and I undoubtedly think it will do as well as Teenage Dirtbag. Although lots of crowdsurfing did take place, the lead singer took time out to tell everyone about the small children there and to take care not to harm any of them. I feel that lots of respect has to be given to him for doing that.Also, they actually told us to bring sound recording equipment as they said they realise that not all of us have enough money to buy albums which i though was very sweet. As Wheatus ran off stage after saying they had finished their set the crowd cheered and shouted for more, and who could resist that. They came back and finished with the almighty Teenage Dirtbag, also with a chorus of hand picked audience members. There was a complete mixture of people there, girls and boys ranging from about the a
ge of 7-40. I know for certain that each of them had a fantastic fun evening and i'm sure this quite small gig wet their appetite for more. Wheatus undoubtedly rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!