Wilt - Manchester Apollo - 15.3.02

The first on the bill as support to Sum 41 may be every aspiring 12 year old Nu-Metallers dream, but it seems so out of place for Wilt. A band who released a blinding album "Bastinado" to critical acclaim and had rich melodies born equally out of the Smiths as the Foo Fighters. It was rock with balls and a sensitive side. Now back as a four piece completed by new guitarist Derren Dempsey, they have a new album to promote in the form of "My Medicine" and what better way to push it by going straight for the youth of the nation.

The kids may have been fed a diet of over commercialized punk pop and probably don't even know who the Sex Pistols or the Clash are, but when it comes to Wilt they know a good thing when they see it. The problem with Sum 41 is its all about clean production and sound, because if you strip it down to the basics what you're left with is the musical equivalent of a Big Mac pre chemical overload. The band know this all too well so essentially Wilt and Reel Big Fish are left with the worst sound system I've heard since I got "My First Radio" out of the attic.

With a new mature sound, which follows Idlewild's trail from punk upstarts to aping REM to the book, the band set about wrapping each and every member of this audience round their little fingers. What better introduction to Wilt than a best of collection between "Bastinado" and "My Medicine" with perhaps the only low point being the new single "Take Me Home". Darragh has the older members of tonight's audience on the floor in hysterics with the mash of flesh in the most pit that is correlated to his hop, skip and jump technique. It has to be seen to be believed and is straight out of the Demon Headmaster school of hypnotism.

With Dempsey on additional guitar seemingly having the ladies swooning and the likes of "Understand", "Dave You Were Right" and "Tell You Too Much" from the Dave Eringa produced "My Medicine" the band seem to be on an all time high. When you have a support band that blow away the headlining band with ease you know you're onto something special. Maybe, just maybe, Wilt can make that crossover for a band that seem to be permanently on the verge of being the next big thing.

Alex McCann

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