Massive Wagons seem to be an unstoppable force at the moment. They are on an upward trajectory smashing the doors down for a new generation of rock n roll.
Rebellion Bar, Manchester was absolutely packed to the rafters and couldn't have been far off a complete sell out, even the support acts played to a busy room full of inquisitive music nuts. There was something in the air and it was led by Wagons.
They stormed into their heroic opener ‘Back to the Stack’ and the crowd was bouncing. Every person singing every word. The band brimming with smiles and energy. Acknowledgements of friends in the crowd and close fans to the band showed the sheer grace Wagons have towards their audience. They took nothing for granted and were gratuitous to the support their fans give them.
“The guitar isn't cool any more,” says Muse's Matt Bellamy; the guy needs to pop his head and go and see Massive Wagons. No pauses and we slam into the most visceral track Wagons have in their discography; 'Nails'.
“NAILS!” Bellow the crowd upon Baz's instructional pointing of the mic. Something is happening in the underground and it's filthy. Riffs and powerhouse vocals set this song alight and the audience are with the band every step.
The following track 'Jodie' is a personal favourite from 'Welcome to the World'. I was overjoyed at them playing it. One of the catchiest cuts I feel the band has ever penned and from the audiences response it's clear I wasn't alone in the excitement of hearing it live.
After that rush of energy Baz stands still for almost 4 seconds to mumble thanks to the crowd incessantly. It's cool bro. We love your face too. A quick guitar change and we get a sneak peak at a brand new track from their upcoming album. 'Sunshine Smile' has a very Aerosmith vibe to it which is not a band I'd ever previously associate Wagons with, it has a sultry groove and some high, high notes for Barry to reach. He managed it with ease.
Sandwiched between the two new tracks was fan favourite, the monstrous epic tale of 'The Day We Fell'. It seems like a sticking point for any Wagons set now. I couldn't imagine it not being in the set.
'Hate Me', a brand new cut is instantly recognisable. The crowd were singing along to the chorus straight away. Surely a good sign for single material?
Another guitar change and some murmurs from the crowd and a drunken tit (me) screaming for 'Ratio'... leads us into the stone cold classic that is ‘Ratio’. Lyrically it's Baz's finest moment. It is a phrase any Wagons fan carries with them. It's a badge of honour. The whole audience was screaming every word in some communal rock n roll catharsis. Group therapy for all the misfits of the rock world.
Just as 'Shit Sweat Death' follows 'Ratio' on record perfectly, it works well live too. An absolute explosion of energy from every member of the band. “Never give up, never given in!” the eponymous words of 'Fighting Jack' seem to be a calling card for Baz. You see the sheer investment of the words here as he careers up and down the stage in a flamboyant defiance.
The final peak of new material came in the form of a song called 'China Plates'. Baz announced the song as a view of his hate for social media and the drama that ensues from it. I am sure this will be another lyrical gem when I get to hear the new record.
As we reach the latter part of the set, Wagons bring out the big guns; 'Red Dress' is the quintessential song for them to play. It's such a huge song, especially live and a real crowd favourite. ‘Fight the System', the bluesy hard rocker all about the struggle of the working class man. A true anthem of Massive Wagons and a song I don't think they will ever escape. For good reason. It's class. We breeze through a pacey version of 'Tokyo' to lead us to the end of a blindingly great set.
The band try to leave but the audience demands an encore. Wagons deliver 'Fee Fi Fo Fum' and obliterate the audience with the break neck speed of the track. The key change by the end is almost manic and no one wants the mania to end.
A perfect gig. A perfect performance and this was the first night on the tour... Massive Wagons deserve mammoth success this year and I wish it them so much. They are at the forefront of a resurgence in rock music in this country and the genre couldn't be in better hands.
As always, buy the records.
Back to the Stack
The Day We Fell
Shit Sweat Death
Fight the System
Fee Fi Fo Fum
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