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  • Writer's pictureMark Lear

CJ Wildheart, Scott Sorry & Grand Theft Audio

Rebellion, Manchester ~ They say that a decent way to spend a Saturday evening in Manchester is underneath the arches of Deansgate Railway Station. Sounds a bit dodgy but if you look closely enough, you’ll find Rebellion, a half decent venue if ever there was one, especially when they present you with ‘a three-pronged attack from the aural world war three’ so Jay Butler would have you believe.

First Assault - Grand Theft Audio with Butler and Ritch Battersby from the original line up kicked off the onslaught with a blistering set - Butler even getting engaged after the third song - well that’s Manchester hospitality for you and what you get for spending much of the set in the middle of the crowd.

Nine tunes in all opening with ‘Ruin Your Youth’ from the new album ‘Pass Me the Conch’ (a title that reminds me all too much of a failed GCSE English Literature exam back when I was a kid), followed by ‘We Luv U’. By now Butler is as animated as ever and has ventured into most parts of the venue, even the toilets, which gave the Sound Engineer a panic attack as cable mics have a limited reach ! Might be a good idea to get a wireless version next time eh, Jay ?

More new tunes follow with ‘Gods of Rock’ and ‘Scrub Up’ before everything moves up a level with the classics ‘Stoopid Ass’ and ‘As Good as it Gets’ from 2020’s ‘Blame Everyone’. They finish with ‘Ici Mon Decree’, ‘Death’ and Bury the Day’ which sets things up nicely for the second advance.

Second Assault - Scott Sorry assumes the role of Commander-in-Chief after a five year absence from these battlefields and starts an eight song set, much of which is taken from 2015’s ‘When We Were Kings’. ‘Broken Hearts and 45’s’ and ‘End of Summer’ lead the charge.

It’s a good start and the crowd are properly in the mood. Sorry gets emotional – firstly at being back in the UK. ‘You guys are fuckin fantastic’ he says. ‘So are you’ came the reply and, secondly, as the next tune is a ‘tribute to a legend’, he says. The ‘Saint of Philadelphia’ being about Sorry and the Sinatras bass player, Roger “Rags” Segal. It’s well received, and due respect is paid, but just for good measure Sorry follows it with another ‘Sinatras’ song, ‘Hated Heart’.

‘Rewired’ and ‘Give It’ came next, but it was ‘Black Dog Dancers’ that everyone had been waiting for and when it came, they joined in, in unison, no invitation needed. This was their song, and they weren’t letting it pass lightly. Sorry finishes up with ‘When We Were Kings’ and any pain and hurt at not seeing their man in the flesh for so long was long forgotten by a grateful and appreciative crowd.

Third Assault - CJ Wildheart finishes things off (well, sort of) by starting with ‘Peking Duck’, ‘State of Us’ and a true blast from the past, ‘Lemonade Girl’ from ‘The Jellys’ days.

We then go to an ad break as CJ makes a plea for people to buy Merch on the basis that they haven’t eaten since January. Now Rebellion is a dimly lit venue and he’d have been plea-ing even more if he’d seen that most of the T-shirts were for Scott Sorry - you win some, you lose some, I guess, CJ !

Ad break over and we’re treated to ‘Hit it on The Head’ and ‘F.U.B.A.R’ before another trip down memory lane and a Honeycrack song, ‘Sitting at Home’, followed by ‘Tea Leaf’.

CJ suddenly feels the need to explain himself and tells us that ‘some of his songs are poppy and some are angry’. ‘This is an angry one’ and ‘Go Away’ kicks in before it’s time for one last salvo which needs audience participation with the whoa’s and yeah’s and ‘OCD’ wraps up a mighty fine set.

Final Assault - Now just when you think you’ve had your money’s worth, there are times when you haven’t and tonight was one of those nights. CJ, Sorry and Battersby take to the stage to relive some memories from The Wildhearts days with a killer encore and treat everyone to ‘People Who Died’, ‘Little Flower’ and The Only One, all of which sent the crowd into a frenzy and wanting more - as you do - but that was it. Show was over.

…on a Saturday night

…underneath the railway arches

…in Manchester

Full set of images coming soon


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