Wheatus , with support from Mike Doughty, at Ironworks, Inverness.
This evening support is provided by Mike Doughty and he’s a difficult one to pin down in terms of genre. Stoner blues might be the best thing I can come up with at the moment. But then if you’re familiar with his previous band Soul Coughing then you’ll already know that he was never going to sit comfortably in any particular niche. I probably should have paid more attention to what he was singing about because lyrically he’s very creative, but the music wrapped itself round me like a warm blanket and… it’s actually quite hard to take photos and pay 100% attention to the music at the same time if you can believe that
Wheatus are not a band that you should take seriously. Like ever. You’re not meant to and they wouldn’t want you to. They’re mostly about having fun playing music on stage (although I suspect healthy merch stand sales would help too). They dispense with the setlist and rely on the audience to shout out requests. Fortunately, most people seem to know more than just ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ and they quickly get a deluge of requests for tunes leaving frontman Brendan B Brown to comment that Inverness seemed to know their back catalogue better than they did. It’s a brave move to let the crowd dictate the setlist but it is one that works pretty well and the band seem to thrive on it. At times it feels more like a jam session rather than a proper concert, but like I say, it works. The band are relaxed and clearly having fun with it and this is fed back by those watching. Of course ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ does get the honours of being the final song of the night but not before we’re treated to everything ranging from ‘Respect’ to their latest single ‘Tipsy’.
Wheatus do one thing very well and that’s the wry, witty way that they write and perform their songs. A 43 year old bloke singing about another ‘Hump ‘em Dump ‘em situation’ may be considered a bit puerile by some but I suspect those people are allergic to enjoying themselves. ‘Pretty Girl’ nicely segues into a cover of ‘Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes’ by Paul Simon. ‘American in Amsterdam’ is introduced as way of fostering US/Euro relations and someone is heard audibly chuntering about The Donald, to which Brown bellows, ‘Fuck Trump’ which unsurprisingly is met with a universal cheer. Politics aside, and fortunately that was the only mention, this ends up being a far more enjoyable night than I’d expected it to be. The Ironworks wasn’t anywhere near capacity but those that were there seemed to be genuine fans of the band meaning the atmosphere was significantly better than times when the place has been sold out.