It was the Massive Wagons Christmas Party night at the Black Heart in London which saw Santa hats, mince pies, Father Christmas and a heavy dose of excellent rock.
Opening band for the night were Meansteed which meant that RARC was inadvertently stalking the band for a second night in a row, not that there were any complaints about this in the slightest having already seen an excellent set from them the previous night. Singer Matty had now also managed to infect another member of the band in the intervening 24 hours with flu but the band were still on epic form with another brilliant set. The songs ‘Rolling Thunder’ and ‘Booger Sugar Boogie’ with the heavy riffs and resounding vocals got the crowd straight into a party mood. If guitarist Alison had been in the main bar who knows was the mid song signature entertainment could have been but instead with the venue upstairs having only small bar, during ‘Engage The Rage’ she was once again was carried on the shoulders of Matty to the bar, then weaved her way back through the crowd and danced with them still playing those epic riffs of the song, before raising her guitar aloft to give the crowd a Merry Xmas greeting on the back to a round of cheers. Informing the crowd that the band had been waiting a long time for this, it was an energetic set and the heavy rock songs of ‘Stand And Deliver’ and ‘Idiot Without A Cause’ certainly got the party started with a bang and they sounded brilliant with their addictive sounding rock. Finishing the set with ‘Two Good Fists And A Death Wish’, Meansteed showed the crowd that rock music is very much alive.
When singer Whippz from The Burning Crows took to the stage and started telling the crowd that they had Bucks Fizz for breakfast, joined the lager train to London and had visited a strip club, brothel and a gay bar, you knew you were in for an interesting set and they had yet to play a note. Starting off with ‘Behind The Veil’ it was straight into infectious sounding rock, full of riffs, a tight sounding rhythm and powerful yet melodic vocals, it was a set packed full of excellent songs such as ‘Shine’, ‘All The Way’ and ‘Goodbye (To The Sunshine)’ which was rock at its very best. The band weren’t just here to play, they were here to entertain as well and it was just as brilliant for the on stage antics as well as the songs, such as getting the crowd to sing along, forgetting who should be starting a song, middle fingers and even a bit of bromance band members mid song. There was even some festive cheer with a rendition of a snippet of ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas’ and songs ‘Slow Up, Get Down’, ‘She’s The Summertime’, ‘Time’, ‘You, Me, Tonight’ and ‘Here I Am’ were all full of heavy riffs, the tracks sounding epic live and made for an exciting set. Finishing the set with ‘Feels Like Home’ there was still time for The Burning Crows to spread a bit more festive cheer as the song ended with Whippz singing an acapella verse of ‘Silent Night’ along with the crowd before ending the night with a final flourish of monster sounding riffs. Excellent to see live, this was a band that threw a party with their set and had been entertaining to watch the entire time.
Massive Wagons had travelled a long way to put on their Christmas Party and the crowd were delighted they had. It was straight into their set with an explosion of rock, heavy sounding riffs, thumping rhythm and the melodic, soaring vocals of singer Baz. Opening with the track ‘Rising Tides’ the full force of how epic this band are live, hit the crowd with a wall of sound. ‘Welcome To The World’ and ‘Heavy Metal Man’ was full on in your face rock, whilst Baz twirled the microphone stand and engaged with the crowd, it was mesmerising to watch. Telling the crowd they don’t get down to the big smoke all that often due to the distance which Baz did in a very admirable London accent, it was on to more of their thunderous sounding songs with ‘Black Witch’ and an excellent cover of the Deep Purple track ‘Highway Star’, the crowd were rocked to the core by an electrifying and fast paced set. This was heavy rock at its finest.
With the entire venue in party mood and with Massive Wagons also thanking the crowd for being so great, and that they always had a great response when playing in London compared to other places, they then continued to make this the only Christmas party to be seen at, with high octane, riff driven songs ‘Fight The System’, ‘Jodie’ and ‘Look Around’. With their very own Father Christmas giving out special gifts to the crowd an extra thank you, as if the band putting on such a brilliant evening of rock wasn’t enough, the massively popular ‘Red Dress’ got the crowd rocking some more, as they danced and sang along with the band. On a final note it was a song dedicated to Meansteed as they had put the band up the last time Massive Wagons visited, and so it was left to a brilliant Status Quo cover of ‘Down Down’ to wrap up the evening in a triumphant way. With members of Meansteed and the crowd singing along in the microphone, every single person there joined in the party to the very final note, bringing an outstanding set to a close.
Massive Wagons certainly know how to throw an awesome Christmas Party and with all three bands giving the crowd a night of epic rock, you were left hoping to be able do it all again next year, as live music doesn’t get any better than this.