They’re back! There aren’t many finer sights than Massive Wagons in full flow especially after the enforced lay off.
Massive Wagons, Manchester Academy 2, 19th September 2021
Massive Wagons are definitely graduates of the old school. In fact, they may not have graduated, possibly spending their time round the back of the bike sheds having a sneaky fag and swapping albums by AC/DC and Thin Lizzy. Not old fashioned by any means but with solid values (British values even, although maybe not the ones taught in school) and commitment to what’s great and good about solid Hard Rock music.
For the fashion unconscious, from Adam Thistlethwaite’s red trousers – more likely ‘pants’ or ‘kecks’ – and his Flying V (a relatively rare sight these days), to Baz Mills and his incredible smiley face suit, the wagons are all about stirring up a raucous time and a fun image. Whether they’re being portrayed as Lego minifigures as in the Bangin In Your Stereo video, or as Muppets as per their current merch branding image you can’t help but be seduced by the brand that comes with a ‘guaranteed to rock’ message running through their veins, like a stick of Blackpool rock.
From the moment In It Together kicks in as the opening song, the communal feeling of family and a common cause seeps through the room sans any sort of barrier bar the one that keeps the band at arms length. It’s no wonder that the drum riser has to be extended to accomodate Bowzer and raise the rhythm section while affording Baz Mills a little more room to strut his stuff . He’s never going to stand at the mic and sing the songs; he’s going to perform – I guess having done the risk assessments and flanked by a pair of guitarists who will have signed an indemnity clause to absolve any blame in case of accidental mic stand injury
Nobody was resistant to a non stop musical barrage from a growing catalogue that’s seen House Of Noise and Full Nelson becoming be the go-to albums for newer recruits. Two fine albums which have seen the band more recently reach higher planes and a deserved higher profile. However, a healthy selection from Welcome To The World made the way into a set that included taking little diversions into the likes of a rebellious I Fought The Law.
You’re never too far from some lighter moments to remind us that although Massive Wagons take their music most seriously, they aren’t afraid to inject the humour. The likes of Hallescrewya and the wonders of The Curry Song proof of that. Even going back to their formation, the tongue in cheek origins of the band name have been retained. And to be honest, when you tell your mates you’re going to see a band called Massive Wagons, they have a pretty good idea of what sort of music you’re going to hear.
They’ve paid their dues, they’ve served their apprenticeship well with and plenty of legwork. The rewards and acclaim are not only building but fully deserved. Massive Wagons are the band you want to do well. Impossible to ignore.