Review: Massive, Tequila Mockingbyrd, Black Aces – Cathouse, Glasgow

Bloody Aussies! Selling their shit up back home, coming over here, teaching us poms a lesson in work ethics, and putting their money where their mouth is! How dare they? Don’t they know that this is Britain? home of the “sorry mate can’t possibly do that” attitude. In return we’ve packed up the cast of Geordie Shore and Jeremy Kyle and shipped them over to Oz, that will teach the bloody buggers. Two of the three bands on offer choosing to relocate to these shore for the foreseeable future, all in the name of rock ‘n’ roll, so it seems, fuelled by Strongbow and Carlsberg. The “Aussie Wrecking Crew” tour is certainly a suitable name to describe the blitzkrieg rolling through the UK countryside, before Massive, Tequila Mockingbyrd, and Black Aces reconvene at this year’s Hard Rock Hell festival in November. It was the turn of Black Aces to open proceedings tonight, and before they take the stage, lead guitarist and vocalist, Tyler Kinder has obviously stuck his finger in an electrical socket, or stood barefoot on a piece of lego. He was like a man possessed, as he raced around the small stage, throttling his Gibson SG to within an inch of its life. He made sure that everyone in attendance is paying attention. If you weren’t, then look out, as he jumped down from the stage, around the barrier, and ran round the crowd, as he wailed on his guitar, before the walkabout ended atop the bar, with his guitar raised to the rafters. Now, some might say “doesn’t Joel O’Keeffe from Airbourne do something similar?” and the answer would be yes, he does, who gives a toss, it’s fun and exhilarating to witness. The guys from Bendigo are the only one of the three bands not handing in their BBQ lighters at customs, as they are heading back home for a short while. It’s obvious that they are here to not only make an impression, but to also (and crucially) have some fun. It’s rock ‘n’ roll played the way that Aussies do best… fast, simple, and as infectious as one of the many nasty bastard insects that inhabit the outback. Debut album, “Shot In The Dark” is full of delicious slices of prime, sweaty boogie, like the title track and “Sick As A Dog”, and is now currently pride of place on my car stereo. Besides, how can you not like a band where the über cool bassist throws a few verses of Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” into the mix?. Next up were Tequila Mockingbyrd, an altogether different proposition from the boys in Black Aces. The girls from Melbourne play straight up rock ‘n’ roll minus the AC/DC inspired boogie. The chords are bit more punkier (especially on “Everyone Down”), but the beating heart of the band is adrenaline-fuelled rock ‘n’ roll from down under. With forty minutes to make their mark, the band rattle their way through the majority of their “Fight and Flight” album, available at the merch desk if one gets the urge. “This Ain’t Dead” was one of the highlights. Slower and sludgier, it has a crushing sound, that has the hardcore fans on the barrier heads bobbing. “Somebody Put Something In My Drink” was much faster, and one of the many songs which featured Josie O’Toole battering the living hell out of her drumkit. So much so, that she smashed right through the snare, and had to quickly change it over, but not before gleefully holding it up for all to see, like a demented executioner, holding up the severed head of her latest victim. Small, she may be, but she can certainly hit way harder than many twice her size. “Never Go Home” is pretty apt, as the band have sold up, and are living out of a van in pursuit of the rock ‘n’ roll dream. There’s a nice Joan Jett style clap-a-long mid section, on a song which is way harder played live. “I Smell Rock N’ Roll” brought the short set to an end, and the band exited the stage with some new fans tucked away in their back pockets.
Headlining this Aussie triple treat were Massive. The band from Melbourne made some new friends over here with their debut album “Full Throttle”, and the resulting shows turned some heads. With new album “Destination Somewhere” garnering favourable reviews from fans and critics alike, Massive made the decision to relocate, and to put it simply… gig, gig, gig. “Up In Smoke” from the new album kicked off the set, and singer/guitarist Brad Marr was unleashed onto the stage like a guitar-wielding, lager-swilling, Tasmanian Devil. All the frustrations from travelling, the van breaking down, the time spent waiting on the gig to arrive, came spilling out as he attacked the stage with furious abandon. How he managed to complete the set without damage to his guitar is a mystery to me. The same goes for lead guitarist Brendan Forward, who was sporting a rather nifty pair of ripped trainers. The sensible parent in me was thinking “his feet will get soaked through, wearing them outdoors”. As enjoyable as the band’s albums are, it’s the live stage where Massive come alive. The guitar licks are bigger, the drums and bass are beefier, and Marr’s vocals sound grittier. “One For The Road” has a great G’N’R vibe to the guitars, as does “Blood Money Blues” (cowbell!), which had a great performance from drummer Jarrod Medwin. Aussie sound by the way of Los Angeles. “Sinking Ship” was far groovier, as Massive changed from a slamming intro into a boogie-based guitar sound, that rattled along at a fair old pace. The sensible parent resurfaced, when I noticed bassist Aidan McGarrigle was barefoot. ‘He could really hurt himself standing on something sharp…” The debut album was well represented by “Lacey”, “Ghost”, “Hollywood”, and “Dancefloor”, which had a sweet rolling bass sound from McGarrigle, and Medwin’s hi hat got a serious workout throughout this groovy fucker of a song. “Now Or Never”, from the same album, closed the show with a full throttle (sic) few minutes of unadulterated head shaking rock n’ roll.
We’ve had the “British Invasion”, the “NWOBHM”, and now it seems that the time is right for a new generation, this time of Aussie bands, ready to pick up the baton and run with it. Massive, Tequila Mockingbyrd, and Black Aces are all appearing at this years Hard Rock Hell, as well as a handful of their compatriots. I cannot, for the life of me, think that it will be anything but riotous. Get your rehab booked for the days following….your liver will need it. Review: Dave Stott Photography Aaron Bird Follow: Massive | Tequila Mockingbyrd | Black Aces
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