@Newcastle O2 Academy, September 19 2015

It’s been two years since the The Wildhearts celebrated the 20 year anniversary of debut album Earth vs the Wildhearts by touring and playing it in its entirety. Now – 20 years since the release of 1995’s P.H.U.Q, – it’s time for another tour and another celebration.

The Wildhearts have gained quite a reputation since gracing the music scene in the ‘90s and it’s no secret that a lot of this is down to frontman Ginger. Numerous line-up changes, drug addiction and a general rock n’ roll attitude have resulted in a few violent affairs but listen to any Wildhearts album and take a look at Ginger’s hefty list of side projects and it’s clear that he’s a superb songwriter and a very diligent musician.

With a packed out Academy on the frontman’s doorstep, the evening’s performance was about one thing only – taking us back to 1995 and hearing P.H.U.Q played from start to finish.

Album opener I Wanna Go Where the People Go was as huge as it needed to be, and the crunching guitar riffs in tracks Just in Lust and Nita Nitro showed exactly why they’re crowd favourites at live shows. Ginger was as smooth and effortless as ever on stage, the only noticeable difference to him over the years being his dapper slicked back hair-do replacing those typical ‘90s dreadlocks that once flowed.

The almost ballad-like Jonesing for Jones provided a five-minute rest during the set for both the band and the crowd, before probably one of the Wildhearts’ heaviest tracks Woah Shit, You Got Through picked up the pace once again.

Aware of the strict 10pm curfew, the band had blasted through P.H.U.Q by 9:15pm, allowing time for a lengthy encore of other Wildhearts classics. TV Tan and Turning American were undoubtedly crowd pleasers and, of course, the evening wouldn’t have been complete without local anthem Geordie in Wonderland.

Ginger promised a professional show and there’s no doubt the band delivered this with a faultless performance. Reputations and history aside, the Wildhearts showed that they’re still relevant two decades later and, if anything, will make you proud to be a Geordie.

Emma Carter