Nerdy rock group and writers of the legendary ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, Wheatus performed at Liverpool’s East Village Arts Club (EVAC). Now, I have to admit being a 90’s kid and having to review a band I’ve grown up loving was quite nerve-racking. It seemed throughout the entirety there was a sense of nostalgia amongst the crowd, affirmed by the array of middle aged men and women reliving their youth at this intimate gig.
The main support act consisted of Brooklyn born hip hop nerdcore rapper Mc Frontalot, accompanied by fellow rapper Miss Eaves. A forty year old man, who worryingly appears to still thinks he’s seventeen, wearing a head torch and rapping about nursery rhymes definitely wasn’t something I’d prepared for. The vast majority of of his set reminded me of Eminem’s more comical material such as ‘Just lose it’, only infinitely more ridiculous and slightly harsher on the ear. Although, I have to credit the man, his performance clearly shows his ambition and creativity as well as his passion for his music. It just wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.
Needless to say I was relieved when Wheatus took the stage. Performing a mixture of old and new songs it was clear their genre and choice of music hadn’t changed, they were still hilariously 90’s, singing about girls and getting high. Wheatus didn’t follow the typical conventions of a gig – play a few songs, say a few words then play some more. Instead, they asked the crowd which songs they would like to hear and then performed them, and even if they hadn’t prepared the requested song they played it with crazy amounts of energy. It was particularly impressive when they performed ‘Truffles’ being one of the tracks they hadn’t prepared, it was practically note perfect and was accompanied by an epic guitar solo by lead singer and frontman Brendan B.Brown.
And of course during ‘A little respect’ there were bundles of smitten couples getting all sentimental reminiscing about the times they’d made out in the back of their car to the song (with some nauseating re-enactments) during their adolescence. Creating quite an amorous atmosphere with everyone singing in unison (and with it being one of my favourite songs by Wheatus), you couldn’t help but get a bit mushy.
Soon enough it was the moment everyone had been waiting for, the song that affirmed the band’s legendary status; in the words of Brendan B.Brown, it was “Dirtbag time”. Of course, the crowd went wild for the entirety of the song, I mean who wouldn’t? Mid way Brendan introduced Mc Frontalot (yippee) and Miss Eaves back onto the stage to do a few rap verses during Dirtbag which proved to be quite a hit. Before singing it himself, Brendan got the crowd to sing the female verse acapella, which no matter how joyful, was at the same time quite sorrowful as everybody realised they’d probably never get to do it again. Sentimentality aside, it did sound quite ridiculous when Brendan himself tried, and achieved, the window shatteringly high pitched notes.
Not forgetting the rest of the band, made up of the very lively and fro-tastic bassist Matt Milligan, keyboardist Mark Palmer, Drummer Will Tully and backing vocalists Karlie Bruce and Gabrielle Sterbenz, who performed a few of her own songs earlier in the night. They were impressively slick and performed with real enthusiasm throughout, overall making their set superbly easy to enjoy.
The self managed band also performed two songs which will be featuring on their upcoming 7th studio album; ‘Only you’ and ‘Holiday’ which was released that day (14th October 2014). They hope to finish their album come early 2016 and I suggest to keep your eyes peeled because after almost fifteen years of music, Wheatus are not quite ready to give it up just yet.
WORDS: Alice Pearce