Billed as Breakin’ Outta The Studio!!, Massive Wagons were also breaking the sound barrier at the Tivoli in Buckley this evening. This was the first of a handful of dates that are seeing them trying out some new songs for their next album. For their first time at this venue they drew a very impressive crowd and seemed not far off from being sold out.
Three new ones were aired here tonight. ‘Banging On Your Stereo’ is aptly titled as it flew by on an adrenaline rush of heavy metal that’s soon to be a future anthem. ‘Freak City’ also hit hard and heavy with some catchy grooves as did ‘In It Together’, the title of which sums up the bond between the band and their fans. Of course, the usual classics had to have their say as they opened up with a monstrous ‘Nails’ as frontman Barry Mills got the crowd in the palm of his hand from the off.
‘Back To The Stack’, written after the passing of Rick Parfitt was a sure-fire pleaser as was the full-on rant of ‘China Plates’ which saw Baz crowd surfing to nearly the back of the venue and back, held aloft by smiling fans. ‘Hate Me’ was crowd fueled as usual. ‘Last On The List’ (a new one played at the Waterloo Rock Bar in Blackpool for the first time last October) was a bit more laid back but still raised the roof. A joyous ‘Red Dress’ curiously saw a couple of metalheads next to me start ballroom dancing.
‘Shit, Sweat, Death’ seemed longer and heavier than usual which could have been due to the heat. You could have heard a pin drop as they played the most emotional version of ‘Northern Boy’ I’ve heard. ‘Billy Balloon Head’ is a completely different animal to the studio version as once again the crowd took vocal duties. ‘Tokyo’ is always a highlight for me, my highlight of the night. Baz took time out to dedicate ‘Ratio’ to Those Damn Crows for reaching #14 in the UK album charts, a very nice thing to do and they left us with one last blowout which could only have been ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum’ which got the ballroom dancers twirling again!
As usual, Massive Wagons provide strong support acts and tonight we were entertained by Mad Haven and Anchor Lane, two bands with bright futures ahead of them. First up was Llandudno based trio Mad Haven who looked that young you would think they had just come from school and were allowed out to play. This was my fourth sighting of them and they are going from strength, especially their stagecraft. Frontman Tom Rogowski belts out the lead vocals and riffs when he’s not headbanging along with bass guitarist Morgan Owen-Rees and Tom’s brother Alex is no slouch on backing vocals. Their eight-song set featured two brand new ones. ‘Get Lost’ sees them heading into heavier territory. ‘Liar (Make You Pay)’ was a lot funkier and pick of their older songs was a thumping ‘The Truth’.
Glasgow based Anchor Lane have been making their presence known for quite some time on the live front and the release of debut album Casino should increase their profile immeasurably. Fronted by the effervescent Conor Gaffney, their eight-song set had lots of diversity and are another band who love to engage with the crowd. Highlights were many but the choice cut for me was opener ‘Dead Run’. it’s a laid back piece which gave room for some mighty howls from Conor. The album title track was all heavy blues bolstered by hard-hitting dynamics and a crowd hollered ‘Voodoo’ was so laid back it could have been horizontal but my highlight was ‘Blood & Irony’, an eerie song that seemed to creep up on you.