Review: Massive Wagons – ABC2, Glasgow

Off Yer Rocka Tour: ­ Massive Wagons/Screaming Eagles/Trucker Diablo – ABC2, Glasgow 16/04/2016


In the days of astronomical ticket prices and rip-off booking fees, the concept of a multi-band line up on a budget is particularly appealing. Tonight’s ticket cost less than the average booking fee for an arena gig. Three incredible, high energy bands for a fiver? Fucking hell, even in times of austerity, that is a bargain. Thankfully, it seemed a lot of people were in agreement as it was a decent sized crowd in attendance.

Opening up the evening’s festivities were Northern Ireland’s own bunch of beer drinkers and hellraiser’s Trucker Diablo. Back after a brief hiatus, the foursome looked like they were having a blast back on the live stage where they belong. It’s not easy to capture the essence of a Trucker Diablo gig in the studio, but last year’s ‘Rise Above The Noise’ album went a long way to recreate the blood, sweat, and beers of a Trucker gig.

There’s a fair amount of  Trucker Diablo shirts in the crowd, but thanks to gems like ‘Drink Beer, Destroy’, ’Girl In The Photograph’, ‘Murder Ballad’ and a crunching cover of ‘Seek And Destroy’, the entire crowd were converts by the end of the set. The good natured craic went down well, especially when rhythm guitarist Simon Haddock pointed out the tour manager and joyfully exclaimed, “That’s Baz. He hates it when we drink, but you know what, Baz? Fuck it!” There were also some great gags about headbanging with a hangover… not recommended, so it seems. Lead vocalist and lead guitarist Tom Harte was enjoying his Saturday night, but jokes aside, this guy can sing. A real soul-drenched rock ‘n’ roll voice that demands attention, as does his blistering guitar work. When the band locked into ‘Juggernaut’ followed by ‘The Rebel’, the place was jumping, the twin guitar sound hitting the right spot, plus… truly, there is nothing more Metal than a Flying V in action is there ? Some massive riffs meant that this was a great beginning to an outstanding evening. Providing the meat in tonight’s sandwich was fellow Northern Irish outfit, Screaming Eagles, four lads playing a furious mash up of sweaty rock ‘n’ roll, with a little slice of “Belfast Blues”. Vocalist Chris Fry had a bit of the devil in his eyes. Swigging from a bottle of Buckfast, he looked like he was here to have a good time, and first impressions were of an Irish Bon Scott who had Jim Morrison as his favourite Uncle. Now, in hindsight, that might sound like a Biff Tannen almanac moment from Back To The Future II, but the glint in Fry’s eye was the pure unadulterated maniac, perhaps only seen in true desperados.
With a sound that echoes early AC/DC and Bad Company these guys continued where Trucker Diablo left off and kept the asses shaking and the fists pumping, as the crowd lapped up the riff-infused grooves coming from the stage. ’Ready For The Fall’ flowed into ‘Screaming Eagles’, and sole guitarist Adrian McAleenan was making it look effortless with some classy riffs. Latest album ‘Stand Up And Be Counted’ was aired with ‘Save Me’, ’Breakin’ All The Rules’, and ‘Bow Down To The Blues’ impressing the most. Fry is an eye catching frontman, and the earlier comparisons to both Bon Scott and Jim Morrison bear fruit when the band blitzkrieg through both ‘Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be’ (Fry describing Scott as “One of my favourite all time vocalists”) and ‘Roadhouse Blues’ where the other fellas in the band took charge and simply nailed it. It was pulsating stuff, and any self respecting fan of ballsy, honest rock ‘n’ roll will love some Screaming Eagles. Tonight’s final act were Massive Wagons, from just over the border in Lancaster, and with brand new album ‘Welcome To The World’ looming. Massive Wagons are making quite a name for themselves as one to watch, this being my first encounter with them. Frontman, Baz Mills prowled the stage like a greasepaint-free Rob Zombie. A head banging, whirling dervish, with a mass of long hair… and some rather fetching white braces (sweet bowler hat too)! At times he didn’t need his mic, his voice carried so well. Although Massive Wagons have a classic British sound, they also could make that leap across the pond to kick up some dust in America where the ‘Britishness’ of acts such as The Darkness and The Struts have found an audience.They have quite a diverse sound. ’Sh1t.Sweat.Death’ is classic British Metal, whereas the simply stunning ‘Red Dress’ reminds me of vintage Mott The Hoople, that quintessential British sound, that is often replicated with varying degrees of success. Melodies and hooks play major roles within the Massive Wagons arsenal, and when they lock into their groove, it is indeed a joy to behold. So many influences can be heard throughout the set ranging from Scorpions to Black Stone Cherry, but all with a gloriously fresh attitude. The band are confident on stage, and that confidence must surely come from the knowledge that they have produced some gems on the new album. ‘Tokyo’ is an incredible song with anthemic qualities, and the “They won’t play us on the radio” chorus is perfect for American drivetime radio (or any fucking country for that matter). ’Ratio’ and ‘Welcome To The World’ are total bangers that sound massive live.
There’s a touching moment when Mills name checked the organiser of the local annual Wildfire Festival, Dave Ritchie. He was down the front and Mills thanks him for his support and everything that he does for smaller bands. Wildfire Festival is on again this Summer with both Massive Wagons and Screaming Eagles down to play. It is one not to be missed. Another touching moment, quite literally, was when Mills spotted Screagles frontman Chris Fry down the front lending his support, and the pair enjoy a smacker right on the lips. Bromance is alive and kicking on this tour it would seem. A brief snippet of ‘Scotland The Brave’ led into one of the stand out tracks on the new album, ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum’… hooks, hooks, and yet more hooks. After the set, the band tried and squeeze in one more, but since the venue has a club night, the power is cut and renders Mills’ mic a bit Norman Collier (ask your dad). Damn those pesky clubbers. In all, this was an outstanding evening of loud, guitar driven, ballsy music, and getting back to my original point about keeping the prices low, one of the advantages of this must surely be that more people will drop some coin at the merchandise stand? The stand seemed to be doing a roaring trade, and between Ritchie and me, we bought various items from all three bands. The guys at Off Yer Rocka seem to have a great mindset when it comes to their acts, and long may it continue. Review: Dave Stott Images: Ritchie Birnie [FAG id=13131]

Check Also

Firevolt Royal Republic

Review: Firevolt Festival – Friday

Last year a new festival called Firestorm started to appear on social media. The lineup …

MASSIVE WAGONS announce nine dates in November

Renowned for their gleeful panache and boisterous live show, MASSIVE WAGONS are excited to announce …

Review: Massive Wagons/The Virginmarys – The Fleece, Bristol

The Fleece, BristolSaturday 15th April 2023Review and Pics – Rob Wilkins/CeltographyPart one of a two-part …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *