Massive Wagons + Those Damn Crows & Mad Haven
Full Nelson Tour
The Live Rooms Wrexham
Review by Beth Jones & Richard Tilley
Following the recent signs of life in what appears to be the resurgence of the Rock and Metal scene in our little town, we were very happy to see that one of the dates on the Massive Wagons ‘Full Nelson’ tour was to take place in our newly revamped Live Rooms Venue. It was the ideal opportunity for us to get out of the house and see what the motley crew from Lancaster were all about. We had seen part of their set at Amplified 2017, and at RockWich 2017, so were eager to catch a bit more of them and see what all the fuss was about.
When we arrived, the doors hadn’t quite opened, but there was a small queue forming, which is pretty unheard of now in Wrexham! This boded well for the audience numbers, and indeed, once the doors were open, people kept on coming.
The first band were a relatively local band, Mad Haven. They were very young and vibrant, with a good Blues /Hard Rock sound. Their songs were catchy and they were getting the audience warmed up nicely. The overall sound was very good too, and the tin roof on the venue didn’t seem to be interfering too much with the quality. Everything was crisp and clear and the guitar had a lovely tone, especially in the solos. For a young band, they did a brilliant job of opening the show, but my only criticism of them would be that their songs ended weirdly – they just, sort of, stopped! It seemed like they had got really good ideas for the intros and main bodies of their songs, but they couldn’t work out how to finish them. This I am sure will be something they will fine tune as they get more experience behind them, and truly master the craft of song writing.
Our main support for the night was Bridgend hard rockers, Those Damn Crows. I had heard a lot about these guys and was looking forward to seeing them for the first time. Experience showed instantly here as there was an immediate step up in quality when they started. The growing crowd was loving it too, and were joining in with full voice. They oozed charisma and stage presence, and had a whole host of good catchy songs. Some were very hard rock, some were like a heavy Stereophonics but it worked really well. They were having great fun on the stage, and it was creating a really brilliant atmosphere, which was so pleasing to see. With them being that bit heavier, however, the tin roof immediately played its part and distorted the sound somewhat, which is a shame. NOTE TO THE VENUE – PLEASE DO SOMETHING WITH THAT ROOF!!!! Apart from that little niggle though, this set was absolutely cracking, with just the right amount of everything in, and I was very impressed. I look forward to seeing them again soon. To be honest I was now thinking that they would be a pretty hard act to follow, they played as if it was a headline slot.
And so, it was time for Massive Waggons. I (stupidly) hadn’t got a photo pass for the night, as I didn’t expect the sort of audience that was, even now, still turning up. I tried to position myself at a reasonable vantage point to be able to get some shots, however once the band came on, it quickly became apparent that my miniature stature was to be my nemesis once more! I spent the next 30 minutes or so cursing and huffing until I finally had a big old artist hissy fit and angrily put my camera away! I don’t lose my shit often, but tonight was one of those rare occasions, so at this point in the review, I will hand you over to the thoughts of Richard Tilley!
Respect to Massive Wagons for pulling a huge crowd into The Live Rooms Wrexham, and for coming to our town on their Full Nelson tour. Beth commented it was comparable to when she saw Skindred at the venue in 2013. However, considering how ‘in’ and popular the Wagons are at present, I may not make myself popular with this review.
They are great musicians, there is no doubt, and they whipped said crowd into an apoplectic frenzy, BUT, this is the third time I’ve seen them live now and I cannot, as yet, understand why they are becoming so popular. Perhaps I’m missing something, or perhaps the luck you always need has played its part, or perhaps they know the right people, but I’m simply unmoved when I watch them. They do all the right things with their instruments and make all the right moves on stage, but I found myself thinking of all the bands I have seen who should be at this level but never got the breaks, and that’s not what should be happening when I’m watching a band live.
I know I’m in the minority and I really don’t mean to sound this negative but I have to say it as I see it; they just don’t give me that exciting, hair standing on end, pit of stomach feeling that many other bands do. In fact, their 2017 Amplified and RockWich sets were better than this showing and, on the night, Those Damn Crows were, for me, the better band. I wish Massive Wagons all the success in the world, they are nice guys, have worked very hard and I will still follow their progress and listen to new material to see if I eventually ‘get it’, but it’s fair to say that I’ve already spent 5 years trying to do that and it hasn’t happened yet!
My qualms aside plus the fact that the tin roof, very definitely, hampers the sound quality of the bands the heavier the music gets and Beth’s annoyance at not being able to get any good photos of Massive Wagons we both had a fabulous evening. It really is great to see Rock and Metal coming back to Wrexham, it is the biggest town in North Wales, and based on the huge crowd that turned up at the venue I’m very much hoping that many more bands will begin to see that Wales isn’t just Cardiff and Swansea!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Richard Tilley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of all parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images