In my previous post, I mentioned how I felt the rock scene was well and truly happening in the Northwest with an endless list of local bands performing for anyone who took the time to rock out between snow storms. Last Friday night, Massive Wagons at Rebellion with the support from Manchester's KYNGS and Welsh Henry's Funeral Shoe only reinforced that feeling.
For once, I arrived in good time and planted myself right in the front row of the pitless stage. Too many times, I have been left to shoot from undesirable viewpoints but not this time, I had the best 'seat' in the house as KYNGS began their set. I had never heard of the local quartet and was pleasantly surprised by this brand of rock n' roll with a slight hint of alternative. Sam Longhurst may not have the strongest vocals in the trade but he made up for it with his great stage presence. The venue started to fill up as this well rehearsed band launched into the set whilst David Beckett's ripped through his solos effortlessly.
Next up were Henry's Funeral Shoe which was a whole different affair. As no bass player appeared and no backing tracks setup, I kept searching for an elusive 4 strings little fella until it dawned on me that this just may be a duo. In fact that's exactly it, Aled and his younger brother Brennig Clifford playing the blues and hailing from South Wales (yes that's correct Wales not Carolina).
Aled Clifford is tremendously talented on guitar. With a bottleneck permanently glued to his pinky, he puts his Fender through its paces as his left leg goes into spasm. His vocals are just gritty enough on tunes like "Janice The Stripper Pt1", I loved the simple yet best riff ever on "Scratched Dog Ear".
Massive Wagons were next as the room continued to fill up. If it wasn't sold out, it surely looked like it. With no new releases to promote on this current 2018 UK tour, Massive Wagons set comprised of a mix of their two acclaimed studio albums and did what they do best, ROCK.
Massive Wagons started their set with "Back To The Stack", an ode to the late Status Quo legend Rick Parfitt. With classics such as "Nails", "Tokyo" and "Ratio", you inevitably end up jumping, swaying and singing along with the rest of the crowd. The highly energetic Baz Mills ballsy vocals and the tight musicianship makes Massive Wagons one of the hottest British bands around and this performance proves it once again.
They come, they rock, slap you in the face and leave you smiling with glee for the rest of the night. Don't miss out on their current UK tour, it will probably be the best tenner you will ever spend this year.
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Words and photography by Johann Wierzbicki