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Massive Wagons/Screaming Eagles/Trucker Diablo
O2 ABC, Glasgow
Saturday 16th April 2016

Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid

johnny main

off yer rocka

Off Yer Rocka Records (or OYR for short) are an independent record label based in the UK which is an off shoot of the Hard Rock Hell machine, which has successfully run events for over a decade around the UK and Europe. OYR is effectively a one stop musical proposition which integrates physical and digital distribution which is handled by various distributors worldwide, as well as having their own satellite offices and internal PR team.

Bands already signed to OYR include The Amorettes, Pig Iron, Bonafide, Attica Rage and The Quireboys as well as those bands appearing on the Off Yer Rocka – On The Road UK tour. Rather than have the same bands appearing night after night, however, the OYR team chose half a dozen up and coming bands to play on a revolving list so if you caught two or three gigs on the tour you'd see a different set of bands.

Glasgow seemed to hit the jackpot when it came to the line up with Northern Irish rockers Screaming Eagles and Trucker Diablo alongside those Lancaster based noise monster, Massive Wagons.

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As the MetalTalk team entered the venue, Armagh based Trucker Diablo had just come onstage to an enthusiastic response from the audience. Considering the early stage time, there was already a good turn out. It took the band a couple of tracks to settle into the groove but they soon had the audience on side with 'Black And Blue' going down particularly well. This was followed by 'Voodoo' a solid rocker from their second album, 2013s 'Songs Of Iron', which is "about black magic and women", we're informed by front man Tom Harte which also goes down well.

The follow up is 'Drive' which is taken from the same album which has an impressive intro from drummer, Terry Crawford before it slows down into more of a mid paced number. Bass player Jim McGurk head banged away whilst guitarist Simon Haddock did his bit to encourage the audience to sing-along and he was rewarded with some of those wedged against the crowd barrier doing their best.

off yer rocka

'Murder Ballad', taken from their most recent album, 'Rise Above The Noise' slowed the paced down further and showed a different side to the band. The lyrical guitar from Harte set against Haddock's simple rhythm guitar during the intro makes way for a powerful number with a bluesy edge to it. Don't get me wrong, this ain't no soppy ballad but a real high point in their set and a track which was very much appreciated by the crowd.

Another high point was 'Drink, Beer, Destroy' which is preceded by Harte asking the audience to raise their beers in the air and with the song going full flow, the audience are happy to sing (or should that be shout) along – it is a Saturday night after all, so most of them were out for a libation or two before the gig started. The track segues seamlessly into a spirited version of Metallica's 'Seek And Destroy' which gets a loud roar of approval and affords Haddock a shot at lead vocals, with which he equips himself very well.

A quick jaunt through 'Juggernaut' (one of the band's first singles) gets a generous reception before the Thin Lizzy inspired 'Girl In The Photograph' which gives the band a chance to catch their breath during the intro before the pace soon picks up. The band give everything one hundred percent and the head banging trio of Harte, McGurk and Haddock is a familiar sight throughout their set.

As Harte announces 'The Rebel' there are boos from some sections of the audience to which Harte retorts: "Fuck this, we'll play all night!" to pockets of laughter. The song sends the band on their way in fine style with one final hard rocking push to the end of their set in what is a job well done. As Harte and Haddock raise their guitars at the end of the set the audience are the loudest they've been all night ensuring a warm welcome when (as opposed to if) the band return to the city.

off yer rocka

Trucker Diablo Set List:
We Stand Strong
Black And Blue
Murder Ballad
Drink, Beer, Destroy
Girl In A Photograph
The Rebel

Trucker Diablo are:
Tom Harte – Vocals/Guitar
Simon Haddock – Guitar/Vocals
Jim McGurk – Bass Guitar
Terry Crawford – Drums

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After the set from Trucker Diablo, the audience numbers had swelled down the front and a majority of these punters stayed milling around in front of the stage whilst the quick change over for Screaming Eagles. It's been a while since I last saw these guys live, so it was good to finally catch up with them again and from start to finish it was an accomplished set of original numbers with a few well chosen covers thrown in for good measure.

'Ready For The Fall' kicked things off with guitarist Adrian McAleenan breaking cover first with the solid opening before things notched up a gear as front man Chris Fry bounded onstage. The band signature song, 'Screaming Eagles', was early on in the set with drummer Kyle Cruikshank punched out the beat whilst Fry got the crowd energised with some hand clapping and the audience were more than happy to join in.

off yer rocka

The inclusion of 'Hungry For More' from their debut album, 2014s 'From The Flames' is a welcome addition to the band's set. It's a slower paced number that still packs a punch thanks to Cruikshank laying out a solid beat whilst McAleenan puts on a great show before sharing a joke with bass player Ryan Lilly. Fry meanwhile gave a great vocal performance as he stretches his voice especially during the choruses before getting the audience clapping along once again.

'Save Me' and 'Bow Down To The Blues' were a double shot from the bands most recent release, 'Stand Up and Be Counted' released last year seem to go down particularly well. With the former, it seems to be fairly well known to some of the audience especially those wedged against the crowd barrier who are nod and sing along to it whilst Lilly comes into his own here with his powerful rhythms and is a picture of concentration whilst McAleenan is the opposite as he helps get the crowd enthused. The latter sees Fry handing out the bottled of Buckfast (that he was brandishing earlier in the set) to one punter down the front for a quick swig before taking it back as the song got underway.

"Are there any One Direction fans in tonight?" asked Fry in a jokey mood before adding "well tell them to get the fuck out!" before the band break things up by adding in a couple of cover songs, including the AC/DC classic 'Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be'. Fry does a really good job with the vocals here whilst McAleenan is a ball of energy as he bounces around the stage. A solid version of 'Roadhouse Blues' sounds more Status Quo than The Doors but I feel that their own material is strong enough that they should be playing those instead.

'Vampire' is a case in point with Fry being gifted another chance to shine with his bluesy voice before the drums and guitar kick in. Time and again Fry gives his performance everything he's got and it pays off handsomely umpteen times, but especially here and for me, this was the stand out track of their set. With time running out the band gives quick blast of 'It's A Long Way To The Top' by AC/DC which gets the crowd singing and dancing once again and leaves everyone on a high as the band take their bows and leave the stage.

off yer rocka

Screaming Eagles Set List:
Ready For The Fall
Screaming Eagles
Take My Time
Hungry For More
Down The River
Save Me
Bow Down To The Blues
Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be
Roadhouse Blues
Breaking All The Rules
It's A Long Way To The Top

Screaming Eagles are:
Chris Fry – Vocals
Adrian McAleenan – Guitar
Ryan Lilly – Bass Guitar
Kyle Cruikshank – Drums

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Last band of the evening were the Massive Wagons boys, and to be honest, any band would be hard pushed to beat these boys on the night. "On form" doesn't even begin to describe how tight the band were and their show was everything it was anticipated to be – not a note or lyric out of place during their supremely polished performance and their usual cover song or two being ditched in favour from tracks from their 'Fight The System' and their upcoming 'Welcome To The World' release showing they literally are flying the flag for British rock music at the moment.

Coming onstage to the 'Back To The Future' theme, they waste no time with niceties and got straight down to the job in hand with brand new track 'Shit. Sweat. Death' topped by an electrifying scream from front man Barry Mills as he got up close and personal with the front row as the everyone in the venue struggles to get the best view they could.

off yer rocka

"Aye you're a sight Glasgow!" commented Mills before asking "are you ready for some Rock n Roll?" to a resounding "Yes!" from the crowd before guitarist Adam Thistlethwaite took centre stage with the main riff of another new track, 'Fighting Jack'. Mills covered every inch of the stage and still managed to clown around with Adam Thistlethwaite whilst on the other side of the stage, Carl Cochrane was happy to head bang away on the sidelines.

The band's new album may not be out for another fortnight but the band are obviously confident of the material as their set consisted of no less than five brand new tracks with the remainder pulled from their 2014 debut album, 'Fight The System'. Amongst the other new songs, the title track, 'Welcome To The World' (which was dedicated to "anyone in a band because that's what the songs about" by Mills). Drummer Alex Thistlethwaite leads the way with this surprisingly slow paced number for the band. It's a corker of a tune by all accounts, however, with Mills getting up close and personal with the front row of the audience once again before joining Cochrane for a bit of head banging action.

Current single 'Tokyo' got a good reaction from the audience whilst 'Fee Fi Fo Fum' has a punkier edge to it that adds something different to the band's sound. The impression you get from the band is that they love what they're doing and the pride they have in their new material is there for all to see. These might have been unfamiliar tracks to a majority of the audience but the reactions lead me to believe that this new album will herald a huge turning point in the bands career.

Of course, the band are equally proud of their 'Fight The System' album too and redress the balance with the rest of the set. Early in the set is 'Black Witch' with the slow intro provided by bass player Adam Bouskill leading the way before the pace picks up as Mills paces the stage feeding off the energy from the audience whilst title track 'Fight The System' had the audience getting involved again in what was a real highlight of the band's set.

A quick burst of 'Scotland The Brave' from Adam Thistlethwaite had the audience taking control before Mills wrestled it back as the band launch into show closer, 'Red Dress'. The Wagons boys truly deserved their spot as the last band on as they put on one helluva show. It you've not get caught the Wagons live experience then I recommend that you do at the first opportunity as I'm pretty sure that you won't go away disappointed – oh, and while you're at it, make sure you also pick up a copy of their new album too - it's absolutely top notch!

off yer rocka

Massive Wagons List:
Shit. Sweat. Death
Fighting Jack
Black Witch
Welcome To The World
The Truth
Fight The System
Fee Fi Fo Fum
Red Dress

Massive Wagons are:
Barry Mills – Vocals
Adam Thistlethwaite – Guitar
Carl Cochrane – Guitar
Adam Bouskill – Bass Guitar
Alex Thistlethwaite – Drums

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