Who needs superheroes when you can get the Fantastic Four of the Takeaway Thieves, Stevie R. Pearce and The Hooligans, The Senton Bombs and Massive Wagons putting a different type of rock on at the Waterloo Music Bar in Blackpool?
Takeaway Thieves have taken giant steps in 2018 on the road since I saw them last in June. They have an air of bravado about them now and they had a full venue eating out of their hands as opener ‘I Wish You Were Dead’ blasted out from the punchy PA system. Frontman Peter McLoughlin is a vocal tour de force as ‘Stardust’ followed with glam rock sleaze.
Two new numbers ‘Hot Cat’ and ‘Honky Tonk’ bode well for their upcoming debut studio album and they ended on a high with the aptly titled ‘This Is Rock and Roll’ and were joined onstage by Massive Wagons for a four guitar raging take on ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ with Barry Mills sharing lead vocals. This set would take some beating!
‘Folsom Prison Blues’ never sounded as wild as this as Stevie R. Pearce And The Hooligans attacked the Johnny Cash classic with Motorhead like vigour and there was no let up as ‘Bad Day’ riffed into the sunset backed by some mighty “Woah oh oh’s”. ‘You’ was a power ballad but still hit hard especially from the heavy hitting Dave Sanders behind the kit and their eight song set based on their self titled debut album ended with ‘Hooligan’ which surely would have pushed the tide back more than King Canute could ever have managed to.
Local heroes The Senton Bombs were riding on the crest of a wave due to the success of latest studio album Outsiders as they began with four in a row from it. Opener ‘Who We Are’ was an early statement of intent followed by the spaghetti western grooves of the title track. The second half of the set took no prisoners as standout tracks were the brooding menace of ‘Darkest Horse’ and the relentless pound of ‘Nothing Quite Like This’ receiving rapturous applause.
2018 has been a triumphant year for headliners Massive Wagons as gigs have got bigger, including prestigious festival appearances and studio album Full Nelson riding high in the UK charts so what better way to round it off by smashing their way through a nineteen song set in the sold out sweat box Waterloo Music Bar!
Master of ceremonies Barry Mills lead from the front and also from every inch of the stage as they raised the roof with opener ‘Rising Tides’. We got our chance to provide vocals early on as ‘Back To The Stacks’ was a Rick Parfitt tribute piledriver. Highlights were hard to sort out but silver surfers were ‘Ratio’ as band and crowd became one followed by a grippingly emotional ‘Northern Boy’.
‘Scorpion’ and ‘lobotomy Smile’ hit hard and is a shame they never made it onto Full Nelson. A delirious welcome greeted a turbo charged ‘China Plates’ and the sumptuous melodies of ‘Under No Illusion’. I worriedly looked at my phone as curfew time drew nearer but need not of as a lung busting ‘Tokyo’ and ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum’ saw the band leave but return for ‘Billy Balloon Head’ and my set highlight ‘Red Dress’.
Let’s just see how far they can go in 2019!
Reviewed by Dennis Jarman
Photography by Simon Dunkerley