THE WILDHEARTS / MASSIVE WAGONS / TOWERS OF LONDON - Academy 2, Manchester 03.05.19

TERRY MARLAND 

Southern based TOWERS OF LONDON are a five-piece punk band who perform an energetic half-hour set. Entering the stage to the sound of sirens they launch into the first number a turbo charged ‘I’m a Rat’ with thrashing drums, blistering guitars and in your face vocals.

There’s stage antics aplenty, including fluid, I think it was alcohol, being sprayed into the pit causing photographers to nervously check their equipment. Their sound is heavily influenced by earlier punksters THE SEX PISTOLS, SHAM 69 and THE COCKNEY REJECTS to name a few. They end their all too short set with the arrogant ‘Fuck it up’. 

Its loud, it’s fun, it’s well delivered and it’s worth checking out.

Towers Of London are:

Donny T, 

Frankie Brannan

Rocco

Stevie Sunset

Tommy De'Ath

https://www.facebook.com/towersoflondonband/

It’s been a good year so far for MASSIVE WAGONS. They already have a German tour under their belt, supporting THUNDER. Their own headlining tour of the UK was a major success and sold out tonight’s sister venue, Academy Three, soon after tickets went on sale. In addition to touring with THE WILDHEARTS, they support LYNYRD SKYNYRD on the U.K. leg of their farewell tour, that will see them gracing arena stages. This along with a series of festival dates make it a busy time for the boys from Lancaster. The future looks bright for this hard-working outfit. 

Tonight’s 45-minute set is a blistering delivery of numbers drawing from their first three albums. The pace is relentless from the start with Baz Mills pumping out the vocals, swinging his mic stand around edge of stage and inviting the audience to join him while the rest of the band deliver a turbo charged performance. 

This is a WILDHEARTS’ audience but it’s evident that many of the crowd are familiar with tracks as they participate on the chorus of ‘Hate Me’ and ‘Ratio’ to mention but two. The wonderful ‘China Plates’ sees Mills patrolling the full length of the stage as he delivers the perfect antidote to Facebook obsessives. There isn’t a weak song in the set that finishes with the pulsating Rick Parfitt tribute ‘Back to the Stack’ and their traditional closer ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum’. 

Massive Wagons are:

Baz Mills 
Adam Thistlethwaite
Stevie Holl  
Adam 'Bowz' Bouskill 
Alex Thistlethwaite

https://www.facebook.com/MassiveWagons

This gig was on the same date as the release of ‘Renaissance Men’, THE WILDHEARTS’ first album for ten years that has seen the return of the classic line up of Ginger Wildheart, CJ, Ritch Battersby and Danny McCormack. Critically acclaimed by the music press, ‘Renaissance Men’ is widely considered to be up with the best in this band’s 30-year history. 

As they take to the stage, the sell-out audience responds appropriately with a roar of approval. Ginger Wildheart stands centre stage in silhouette before the band explode into ‘Dislocated’, the first single release from ‘Renaissance Men’. It’s a furious opening with a killer riff and rasping vocals that have the crowd bouncing from the off.

They play crowd favourites including scorching renditions of ‘Sucker Punch’, ‘Sick of Drugs’, and ‘Top of the World’. These numbers are intertwined with ‘Let ‘Em Go’ from ‘Renaissance Men’ with an athematic refrain that sees the crowd singing along as loud as they have done for the more established numbers.   

Ginger and CJ come together for stunning guitar exchanges, much appreciated by the pit photographers, before Ginger returns centre stage for dreadlock spinning solos. Drummer Ritch Battersby and Danny McCormack on bass deliver a powerhouse performance and are superb throughout in what is a rock-solid delivery from start to finish.   

A marathon encore concludes the evening, that starts with a lip-synced version of ‘Renaissance Men’ that is being filmed tonight for a video release. After that its back to live business with another six songs that finish with a blistering rendition of ‘29 x The Pain’ before the final number of the evening ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ sends “the people” here tonight into raptures. 

It’s been an exceptional set dispatched by veteran musicians who excel in every department. 

The tour continues:

Thu 9th May- London Brixton Electric

Fri 10th May-Norwich Waterfront

Sat 11th May- Leeds University

Sun 12th May Newcastle Riverside

 

The Wildhearts are:

Ginger 

CJ

Ritch Battersby

Danny McCormack

 

https://www.facebook.com/TheWildhearts/

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