||MASON HILL AND MASSIVE WAGONS GIG WILL LAST IN YOUR MEMORY
Mason Hill/Massive Wagons: The Cathouse, Glasgow
Friday 3rd March 2017
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Carlan Braid
In footballing terms, the England v Scotland football fixture is the oldest international in the world, first played in Glasgow back in 1872, fact fans. Fast forward 145 years and it's fitting that the two of the best up and coming British bands come together in an England v Scotland face off.
England was represented by those noise monsters Massive Wagons from Carnforth, Lancashire who travelled up to Glasgow to play alongside rising Scottish stars Mason Hill who were performing on home turf at the city's Cathouse nightclub.
The venue was specifically chosen by Mason Hill to be the location of their first ever headline gig and such is the following for both bands that the venue sold out in record time with those who missed out still clamouring for returns up to the very last minute. For those who were there to witness events, this was a true battle of the bands, with neither group running away with the spoils but instead two outfits putting their heart and soul into the performance, brining the best out of themselves and the packed crowd.
First up were Massive Wagons, a band who I've been following closely since 2012 when I saw them at a small festival in Central Scotland. Formed in 2009 these guys wasted no time with gig after gig, setting a relentless pace that's hardly let up during the intervening years. Their debut album, 'Fire It Up', came in December 2011 and was met with almost universal acclaim, which led to appearances at Hard Rock Hell, Bloodstock and Steelhouse Festivals and as the band's confidence grew, so did their 'balls to the wall' rock repertoire with the release of 'Fight The System in 2014 and 2015s 'Welcome To The World' album.
The anticipation was tangible as Massive Wagons finally made their way onstage led by guitarists Adam Thistlethwaite and Carl Cochrane with the loudest cheer reserved for frontman (and human dynamo) Barry Mills. There was no time for introductions or messing around as the band hit the ground running with an old favourite, 'Rising Tides'. The band were absolutely on fire as they battered through their set, which featured a good selection from their latest album, like 'Tokyo' 'The Day We Fell', 'Shit. Sweat. Death' and 'Ratio', the latter of which had the headbangers getting in early whilst Mills pressed the flesh with the faithful jammed in down the front.
Adam Thistlethwaite is a prodigious talent and is more than capable of filling the centre stage spotlight when it's vacated by Mills whilst Cochrane is another bundle of energy who hardly stops headbanging throughout the set. Drummer Alex Thistlethwaite is almost unseen at the back due to no drum riser, but there's no doubt about his dedication and power whilst bass player Adam Bouskill helps provide backing vocals and the steady but thundering bass rhythms.
The band unveiled a brand new song, 'Back To The Stack', which was respectfully written and dedicated to a real hero of the band, Status Quo's Rick Parfitt who died on Christmas Eve 2016. The song's a real corker and shows that this band have a real knack for writing solid but catchy numbers time and time again.
As the band finally close off their set with 'Fee Fi Fo Fum' (with a bit of 'Loch Lomond' stuck in there to bring a smile to everyone's faces), the shouts of "Wagons, Wagons" as they take their final bows shows the strength of their fan base in Scotland and hopes of an extra song are dashed as the house lights come up, but the Wagons boys will definitely return and hopefully they'll be headlining as this band deserve every ounce of success that they've worked so hard to achieve.
Massive Wagons Setlist:
The Day We Fell
Shit. Sweat. Death.
Back To The Stack
Fee Fi Fo Fum
Massive Wagons are:
Barry Mills – Lead Vocals
Adam Thistlethwaite – Guitar
Carl Cochrane – Guitar
Adam Bouskill – Bass Guitar
Alex Thistlethwaite – Drums
After a dynamite set from the Wagons, Mason Hill really had their work cut out for them. I've been following their career since their very early days (gig #3, actually) and they were formed when teenage friends Scott Taylor (vocals) and James Bird (guitar) had enough ambition to record three demo tracks as a tool to advertise for other like minded musicians.
Craig McFetridge joined as drummer in 2013 with Matthew Ward replacing the previous bass player in 2015 followed by the addition of another guitarist in the form of Marc Montgomery to the line-up in early 2016. With the line-up now complete, the band set to work on their self-titled debut EP, which like Massive Wagons' debut release, was met with universal acclaim.
As the clock struck 8:40pm, the Mason Hill boys took to the stage to a heroes welcome from the packed audience, with frontman Scott Taylor standing centre stage hardly believing his eyes at the sell out crowd in front of him. As the band struck up, Taylor could only utter: "Fucking hell!", which probably summed up the whole band's feelings as they all finally realised the enormity of the occasion.
Taylor was in commanding mood all night as he steered the band through old favourites like 'Your Memory' and their first ever single, 'Now You See Me', but the band also took the occasion to debut a couple of brand new songs including 'Learn To Let It Go' which gave Taylor the opportunity to really stretch his voice showing what a gifted performer he is and 'No Regret', which is more than familiar to some of those down the front.
On 'Somewhere Else', McFetridge seemed intent on dismantling the drum kit during the song he was hitting it with such power whilst Bird played exquisite solo time and again, only occasionally letting his concentration lapse long enough to bring a smile to his face.
An duo of acoustic songs mid-way through featuring just Taylor and Bird gave the rest of the band a break, and was helped along with some audience participation during 'Follow You', another new song, which was followed by a cover of Phil Collin's 'In The Air Tonight'. A cover of 'Mississippi Queen' has long been included in their set and once again it featured during the evening, and why not, it's a great song and they play a great version of it.
As their set drew to a close, ex-Sensational Alex Harvey Band/Michael Schenker Group bass player Chris Glenn guested on the SAHB track 'Midnight Moses' making an already memorable night – unforgettable.
At the end of the day, if you weren't at this gig, you missed a classic evening from two of the very best young bands that Britain had to offer and at full time the score was a nine all draw between Scotland and England with a rematch hopefully on the cards but perhaps with both bands swapping round in the order of play, and Massive Wagons playing on their home turf.
Mason Hill Setlist:
Learn To Let It Go
Out Of Reach
In The Air Tonight
Now You See Me
Where I Belong
Mason Hill are:
Scott Taylor – Vocals
James Bird – Guitar
Marc Montgomery – Guitar
Matthew Ward – Bass Guitar
Craig McFetridge – Drums