Live Review: Massive Wagons – Glasgow

Three little twats from Brighton”. Post-grunge with heaps of dark moments, brooding riffs and pounding rhythms, that might be a more appropriate description though. The Rocket Dolls are gearing up for recording the follow up to their eclectic second album, ‘DeaDHeaD’, and the set is mainly a mix from said album, and new unheard material. There are lots of comparisons which you could draw with The Rocket Dolls, but none where you could say 100% that they sound like one particular band. You are as likely to pick up an Alice In Chains influence, as you are one of Nirvana and Foo Fighters, but then you have a hint of Mastodon and Mark Tremonti’s work outside of Alter Bridge. ‘None Of This Is Right’ doesn’t as much knock on the door, it kicks it in. ‘Stop The Dead Men Crying’ is an angst-ridden few moments, with Smash wringing every emotion known to man out of one of his many impressive Fenders. Then there is the brooding ‘DeaDHeaD’ itself, damn those riffs are bloody magnificent! Check out The Rocket Dolls online and see how you can help with album number three. Maybe it’s the weather, or the Bank Holiday, maybe it’s even the inflatable cacti on either side of the stage, but Bootyard Bandits have the crowd on their side from the off. Describing themselves as “Heavy Comedy Country Rawk”, Bootyard Bandits might have comedy stage names and song titles, but the music is played for real. Steel Panther might have overstayed their welcome a tad now, but unlike them, Bootyard Bandits don’t rely on the same onstage shtick. Besides, the Bandits have some Heavy Metal Banjo! Most of Bootyard Bandits might be familiar to some in the crowd. There is a handful of members of Aaron Buchanan and The Cult Classics in there, mixed in with some guys you might recognise if you’ve ever caught Alestorm live. For instance, guitarist/vocalist CJ Handsome is better known as Alestorm guitar/backline tech Joel Peters, while bassist (and banjo hater) Two Puds you might know as Cult Classics member Mart Trail. Although these dates with Massive Wagons are their first UK dates, they’ve been out on the road in Europe with Alestorm, and it shows. No signs of stage fright or a lack of confidence, traits that sometimes befall fledgling bands. Instead, it’s an accomplished, confident performance from experienced players. For thirty minutes they really do have the crowd eating out of their hands. CJ Handsome asks for a “yeehaw”, he gets a hearty “yeehaw”. He asks everyone to sing along on ‘MILF’, they do. He commands everyone to dance, well, apart from a few well lubricated punters that one fell a bit flat. But, by the time they finished their set with ‘Hoedown Showdown’, the hall had filled up rather nicely, and pints were raised skywards as everyone cried one last collective “yeehaw”. By the time that the lights dimmed for Massive Wagons, and the Volbeat intro tape kicked in, the hall was full. Looking down from the vantage point of the balcony, it was heartwarming to see the crowd stretching all the way back to the rear of the hall. No band at the minute sums up the New Wave Of Classic Rock better than Massive Wagons, and they’ve got to this stage through sheer hard work and good old fashioned word of mouth. Having a collection of killer choons always helps as well. With the intro tape fading out, the chants of “Waaaaagons, Waaaaagons” went up and the band filter on to the stage. Apart from vocalist Baz Mills that is, he vaults on like a Russian athlete yakked up to the eyeballs on steroids. It’s like that Sean Bean meme… ”Baz Mills does not simply saunter onto the stage”. Opening song ‘Tokyo’ is not only a belting opener, it’s a fantastic two fingers up to the mainstream media, and Massive Wagons have started to reap rewards without the help of these guys. What they have got, they have earned. When Mills goes into the crowd after a few minutes, he’s high-fiving everyone, hugging long time fans, even rubbing bald heads for luck! More importantly, he knows the names of these people. They’ve been with ‘Wagons for years. Our photographer Dave and his missus Tracey have seen Wagons over 60 times now, with another 6 gigs to go this year alone. Up and down the country, supporting them from day one. And that’s the appeal of Massive Wagons, they instil that devotion from their fans/mates. It’s a cliché, but it is more like a family. So, for 70 minutes, Massive Wagons have the crowd jumping, swaying their arms, and singing from the top of their lungs. There’s even a few luminous balloons bouncing about the crowd’s heads. The atmosphere is celebratory, everyone is smiling, and the band are running through the set at a fair old pace. ‘Tokyo’ leads into ‘Nails’ before the band dip into current album ‘Full Nelson’ with ‘Billy Balloon Head’. As you might expect, ‘Full Nelson’ plays a major role in the set, with ‘China Plates’, ‘Ballad Of Verdun Hayes’, ‘Hate Me’ and an emotional ‘Northern Boy’ all aired. The lyrics on the latter especially seem to have great effect on many in the crowd. There are a fair few in the crowd bellowing the words back to Mills. On top of the newer material, there is one new-new track, ‘Hero’, which is slower and sludgier, driven by Adam Thistlethwaite’s heavier guitar riffs. Then there is the older stuff, ‘Aeroplane’, ‘Shit. Sweat. Death’ (complete with vocals from Lauren Hutchinson), a stonking version of ‘Ratio’ which has the crowd bouncing, and the rattling one-two of ‘Back To The Stack’ and ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum’. This was a triumphant night for not only Massive Wagons, but also for substance over hype. It seems that every other week we are told of yet another “saviour of British rock” or even “the next Greta Van Fleet”, I’m calling bullshit, this is all about a killer work ethic, and some top choons. Never forget the choons. Review: Dave S Images: Dave J [gallery type='flickr' user_id='132278830@N06' view='photosets' photoset_id='72157706625435271' media='photos' columns='3' tag_mode='any' sort='date-posted-desc' per_page='52' layout='square' caption='title' thumb_size='s' main_size='z' ]]]>

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