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Wheatus - The Horn, St Albans - October 1 2014 (Live Review)

Monday, 13 October 2014 Written by Anna Ghislena

Management and label free, Wheatus are still touring and producing albums as a smack in the face to their past music industry traumas.  

Standing on their own two feet, the band are doing it for themselves and their continued revival is sweet nectar for their fans, who remain proud to call themselves “teenage dirtbags”.  Following a tour of small venues and the student circuit last year, Wheatus hit The Horn in Hertfordshire, often home to tribute band stars and previously host to everyone from Chrissie Hynde to Ade Edmonson and DJ sets from Enter Shikari.

Speaking of tributes, Wheatus fit in well here.  As spectacled singer Brendan B Brown confirms with the fans, there is no known Wheatus tribute band, but they always play a few covers in their set-list free performances.

Erasure’s A Little Respect remains a nostalgic anthem for the party crowd until Green Day’s Basket Case turns up the heat and the air con system thankfully kicks in. Currently, and notoriously, linked to One Direction, who covered Teenage Dirtbag, Wheatus duly include a riotous rendition of What Makes You Beautiful.

Wandering through the crowd to chat pre and post gig, the band certainly cement their relationship with the fans both on and off stage. Covers aside, those weaned on punchy, tight American pop-rock in the early noughties are treated to an evening of reminiscing, with Leroy and Hey Mr Brown evoking memories of awkward teenage years.

Introducing the song Fourteen from their new ‘Valentine’ LP, Brown identifies some teens in the audience and announces that their age was a place he would never want to be again. That said, he still sings like he is there, with a voice like buttered popcorn delivering the comical angst and risky language of his earlier years.

Finally, there is Teenage Dirtbag, played with fast and energetic guest raps from Wheatus’ support, MC Frontalot and Miss Eaves. The fact that this song will go down in history as the soundtrack to films and personal lives will keep Wheatus in the public consciousness forever. But, the fact that they are touring, playing live and producing records every year means that they will continue to thrive and that is, above all, what makes them beautiful.

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