Throughout the 1990s, the Wildhearts had a string of hits in its native England and was popular in Japan but remained unknown in the United States. Since its formation in 1990, the group split or went on hiatus and reunited many times, with former members rejoining in as many as 15 combinations. Vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Ginger (real name David Walls) is the band’s one mainstay, but even he has a side project now called the Ginger Wildheart Band. The Wildhearts current American tour celebrates the 20th anniversary of the band’s debut album, Earth Vs. the Wildhearts.
At the Gramercy Theatre tonight, the Wildhearts did two sets. The first set reinvented the band’s first album; the second set consisted of greatest hits and B-sides. While the band’s music over the years had run the gamut from pop rock to hard rock, tonight’s overall live sound was a Green Day-type power punk, with a touch of the Clash. The music was fast and loud, and Ginger sang the lyrics clearly with catchy choruses that were emphasized for rallying singalongs. For the band’s fans, it was a sprite-filled homecoming; for unknowing Americans, it was a fine performance but a dated sound we have heard many times before.