What better way is there to spend a Sunday evening then at a live show? MC Lars said it best this evening when he told the crowd "you can download a movie, you can download an album, but you can never download a live show at The Railway, ladies and gentleman thank you for supporting live music!" And that's exactly what a sold out Railway in Ipswich did tonight.
Doors were an early 4pm with music kicking off around 5pm. As I arrived local lads The Aurora were already on stage and the venue was already packed. Ipswich has been crying out for a live music venue and the people of Ipswich answered The Railways call with their attendance today. Wheatus are in the middle of a lengthy tour of the UK and have three acts touring in support. The Aurora were an Ipswich special for this tour and clearly impressed not only the crowd but the other artists as well with multiple compliments throughout the evening.
Opening all other shows on this tour have been The Ventura Project featuring current Wheatus bassist Matthew Milligan. In fact this whole tour is based around the Wheatus family with backing vocalist Gabrielle Sterbenz next on stage. Both acts did a good job in keeping the evening flowing and entertaining the locals.
American rapper MC Lars, the self-proclaimed originator of post-punk laptop rap, was the main support act tonight. For me personally this could have been a co-headline tour and MC Lars didn't disappoint me or the packed venue. It was obvious that to start off with the uninitiated were unsure, but by the end of his set the whole crowd was converted.
Kicking his short set off with 'Hurricane Fresh', things really kicked into gear with fan favourites '21 Concepts' and 'Signing Emo' from 2006 album 'The Graduate'. One of the highlights of the night came when MC Lars introduced Wheatus front man Brendan Brown for a fantastic run through of 'Download This Song'. In finishing his birthday performance with 'Freestyle Flow' and 'Mr. Raven' MC Lars gave a lesson in crowd participation. MC Lars is always entertaining live and tonight was no different; The Railway in Ipswich is just the latest venue to be in on the secret of MC Lars.
It's only a couple of weeks ago I reviewed a gig here at The Railway and commented that families across the country were switching on their heating. Well if tonight was anything to go by then that comment was rather premature. The combination of a sold out Railway and temperatures that had approached 20 degrees during the day make the heat inside the venue unbearable. But with sweat dripping off everyone in the building, Brendan Brown led Wheatus on stage.
Brown, now the sole remaining original member, started proceedings by asking the crowd what they wanted to hear them to play and that's how the show continued. With requests coming in thick and fast 'Leroy', 'Lemonade' and new track 'Fourteen' kicked things off. 'Fourteen' was the first of a couple of new songs taken from recent release 'The Valentine LP'.
Wheatus hit the big time back in 2000 with their self-titled debut album and its two hit singles. One of those singles was next in the shape of Erasure cover 'A Little Respect' which as you would imagine got a huge reaction from the audience. This was followed by 'BMX Bandits' and 'Truffles' before another cover. This time it was One Direction that received the Wheatus treatment with a rockier version of 'What Makes You Beautiful'. It's at this point I realised that a scary amount of middle aged men knew every single word!
The request show continued with 'Hey, Mr. Brown', 'Sunshine' and another new song 'Holiday' before Wheatus unveiled another cover in the form of 'Basket Case' by Green Day. By this point the heat inside the venue was really taking a toll on both the band and the audience but the show continued with 'Love Is A Mutt From Hell'.
It must be said that most people at this show were probably there for one song and one song only. The term 'one hit wonder' is a savage one, it has a stigma attached to it, and it to some extent belittles an artist or band. Wheatus do get stuck in this category by a lot of people but they appear to thrive on it. With the set coming to an end, that time of the night had come and 'Teenage Dirtbag' united the venue as one, instigating one hell of a sing-a-long and a great moment.
Wheatus completed their performance with 'Hump 'em n' Dump 'em' and sent the sold out venue home happy. Wheatus put on an entertaining and fun show to end a decent evening of music. Let's hope for many more packed nights like this at The Railway.