Live Review: Ricky Warwick & The Fighting Hearts - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton
23rd March 2022
Support: The Virgin Mary's, The Howling Tides
Words: Cat Finch
Photos: Tim Finch
He’s fronted The Almighty, he’s sung for the great Thin Lizzy ably filling the shows of the legend Phil Lynott, he’s one of the masterminds behind Black Star Riders, Ricky Warwick has done it all. Now he is taking a little time away from those ventures past and current to focus on himself and he arrives at KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton on a solo tour, Ricky Warwick & The Fighting Hearts.
To kick off the evening we have Staffordshire four piece The Howling Tides, who we caught in this venue just weeks before the pandemic kicked in. After a two year enforced hiatus that we all suffered, the boys are back with their raunchy, dirty guitar riffs highlighted by Rob’s enticing vocals. A fast paced classic rock assault starts the evening. For a young band they play with the confidence of an outfit twice their age and that shows through in the thumping performance.
We at The Razor’s Edge also saw The Virgin Marys in this very venue just before the pandemic. Back then they were performing as a three piece but they return to Wolverhampton this evening as a duo of frontman/guitarist Ally Dickaty and drummer Danny Dolan. Despite this change in personnel, the bands music stands out just as proud, as sure, and as solid as it did before. 40 minutes after they start we are left a hot and sweaty mess from a blistering set of pure rock fury. The blues fuelled rock and roll express swiftly warm the crowd up nicely for Ricky to follow.
As the set is cleared for the headline act, the fans refuel with fresh pints and the lights dim, the fans cheers rise as Ricky Warwick takes to the stage. The Northern Irishman in his element in front of a crowd and tonight he provides a set of career spanning tunes.
‘Over The Edge’, one of his numbers from The Almighty starts things off before his solo material ‘The Road To Damascus Street’ and ‘You Don’t Love Me’. It’s great and the crowds love it, but they really sing their hearts out to ‘Jailbreak’ which needs no introduction.
Whilst the setlist jumps throughout his career it never feels disjointed, Ricky’s young band are tighter than a gnats arse and more than able to keep up with the legend standing front and centre. Along with the music, Ricky is also a great story teller and a brilliantly funny tale of bucket bongs (yes you ready that right) and being high as fuck whilst writing the next tune bring a chorus of laughter. That number being ‘Wrench’ – an Almighty classic which is followed later on by another ‘Jonestown Mind’.
With this tour Ricky has proven what a showman he is, maybe even the greatest showman! As he rounds out the set with a cover of Motorhead’s ‘Iron Fist’ and The Almighty's ‘Free ‘n’ Easy’ the crowd gives the man the ovation he deserves. A cracking evening from a modern day legend.