Wilson UK tour
Full band, tour bus interview and live gig review
By Maggie Wright @metalmaggieuk Exclusively for Full Metal Rock
March 3, 2016
When Wilson announced they were doing their first U.K. headlining tour, my immediate reaction was to get out my bank card. Having seen them blow away an entire cruise ship on ShipRocked 2015, and witnessed them make crowds feel like they had two headliners during the Halestorm U.K./European tour a month later, I knew that big things where coming for the doods from Detroit. They've toured the U.S. relentlessly, and are now proving that there is a lot more to them than the fuckery antics we see and hear about.
Don't get me wrong, we love the fuckery, both on stage and off, and to be honest, can't get enough of it. It is no gimmick; it is at the heart and soul of each one of them. And they eat, drink and breath it, along with a LOT of whisky! With enough facial hair to make Chewbacca jealous, they are manly men who can appreciate the silly side of life and understand what it is to work hard and play hard. These are serious musicians though, and not to be underestimated. Their follow up to their debut album, "Full Blast Fuckery", was aptly named, as Wilson have earned the "Right to Rise" and are proving to do just that. Following an encore European tour with Halestorm, these five hardcore rockers brought their bad assness to the U.K. for a nine city, country-wide tour from Feb 23rd - March 3rd.
Starting in Wolverhampton, at the iconic Slade Rooms, Wilson, with tour long support from Reigning Days, kicked the tour off and pulled no punches. Most of those attending the gigs had either seen Wilson as support for Halestorm the previous year, or knew someone who had. Those unfamiliar with them were given a baptism of fire. Reigning Days proved to be an excellent choice in support. Fresh from a tour with RavenEye, this trio combines the amazing indie rock style vocals of Daniel Steer (also on lead guitar), with the heavy rhythm section of Joe Sansome (drums) and Jonny Finnis (bass), creating a hard rock sound that is original and addictive to the ear. Keep these guys on your radar! Look out for our Reigning Days interview coming soon!
On to Liverpool and Newcastle, Wilson continued to bring their raw, testosterone filled rock to one city after the other. Glasgow made a huge impression on the band, which they indicated through the rest of the dates. And it seemed that Wilson left quite an impression on them. After Leeds came Manchester, and an opportunity for me to get a full band, tour bus interview (see link on this page), before they headed south to first Cambridge, then the renowned Bar Fly in Camden, London. The last gig of the tour was at Joiners in Southampton, a venue that has hosted an endless who's who of rock bands, and whose acoustics and sound engineering were, according to Wilson, the best they had heard on that tour.
After two local bands' played, Reigning Days came on to give the crowd a blistering set, worthy of being a headline itself. Steer, who has a kind of shyness about him when he sings transforms into a serious shredder when a song goes into a bridge or guitar solo. These three get totally lost in their music when they play, and it's a thrill to listen to and watch. The crowd seemed to warm to them instantly, and being that it was the last gig of the tour I should have expected some prank playing and shenanigans. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the sight of James Lascu (bassist for Wilson) running through the crowd on onstage in just his boxers, with butt cheeks showing and a curious bulge in the front. But the penis drawn in marker pen on his back seemed to distract from the fact that he was wearing sunglasses. After doing a Rocky style jog in place, Lascu proceeded to moon Sansome, who, despite laughing hysterically, was able to carry on playing. After divulging the bulge was indeed a banana, Lascu took a bite, threw the banana at Sansome and gave a generous spooning hug to Finnis before stage diving. It was an attempt at crowd surfing, but this one particular guy didn't seem familiar with the concept and hung onto Lascu on his shoulders, spinning him in circles before the Reigning Days manager intervened and rescued Lascu from being impaired for his set. You can't make this stuff up!
Wilson's set consisted mostly of their newer songs, with a few from their debut album. I say newer because Right to Rise has been out for nearly eight months, yet it hasn't lost momentum. Opening with the aca pela opening vocals for Before I Burn, lead singer Chad Nicefield transfixed the audience, before the band joined and broke the trance with My Life, My Grave. The first song had a sort of jaw dropping affect, the kind you get when you're hearing something new that is so interesting that you daren't take your eyes off it in case you miss anything. Nicefield has that affect on an audience. Like a hypnotist, he commands attention with every gesture and movement. He has a ferociousness when he sings, a fierceness that makes you believe every word that he sings, followed by a humbleness and a sparkle in his eyes when he feels the crowd's reaction. It was no exception on this night. Having seen the band play out of their skins throughout the tour, they dug deep and pulled off their best performance of the tour.
Jason Spencer (lead guitar), Matt Puhy (drums), James Lascu (bass) and Kyle Landry are each as individually talented as each other and have proven, with Nicefield, their abilities to write and compose hard-hitting rock that appeals to the masses and connects with fans on an individual basis. Wilson had fans traveling hundreds of miles to catch this tour. One travelled for almost 24 hours to see them in Glasgow, and another flew in from Holland to go to not just one, but three gigs. On this night, Wilson connected with the Southampton crowd who couldn't seem to get enough. These guys have a fire in their belly that just explodes when they're on stage.
Spencer was an absolute beast in song after song, and together with Landry were a real dynamic duo during songs and solos. Both were also excellent on backing vocals, as was Lascu, and provided another level of talent with their harmonies. After Wilson taught the crowd how to Give 'Em Hell (Puhy's drum skills were outstanding), and gave a masterclass in head banging during College Gangbang, the title track to the sophomore album was played, and it must have felt like they were playing to a home town crowd. When Nicefield shouted to let him "see your fists", there wasn't an arm in the room that wasn't pumping in the air in time to chants of "Rise! Rise!"
Windows Down, a song considered by the band to represent their identity, was met with great enthusiasm. Lascu's bass line is one of my favorite parts. Lascu plays the bass with the skill of an artist far more senior than his age, and his energy on stage is insane. The rhythm section he and Puhy provide is exemplary of the synergy these doods have with each other. More than band members, they are a tight knit family, and the amount of time they've spent together has paid off in the cohesion they have as a unit. Crave and Satisfy Me followed, and Wilson fed off the audience reaction to unleash a beast of a set. Nicefield acknowledges his propensity to sweat buckets, and if you were anywhere near the stage you got the occasionally spray, which should be considered a sort of anointing, because these guys sweat fuckery from their pores. The rest of the band weren't far behind in drenching their shirts and Wilson seemed on a mission to make sure no one left with a dry shirt that night. Hair of the Dog ramped the party up even further, and the crowd needed no prompting to join in during the chorus of the Nazareth cover.
As anticipated, Chad made an appearance with his bass drum, walking through the crowd with a Go Pro attached to his head. He continued to film while performing Susan Jane and then crowd surfing (I can't wait to see THAT footage) before thanking the crowd and making an exit. The crowd were quick to start chanting "One more song!" and after a short break, Wilson returned for an encore which Nicefield described as always feeling "awkward". Before I Burn, possibly my favorite song from the new album ended the night with a bang, from the confetti canons Reigning Days brought on stage, along with a giant inflatable penis, half way through the song. The band managed to finish the song despite the stage crash, without skipping a beat, and Nicefield even performed a couple of thrusts with the inflatable, to everyone's amusement. The comradery and mutual respect these two bands had after only a couple of weeks together was impressive, not to mention entertaining as hell. One of the best nights I've had in a long time!
If you don't have "Right to Rise" yet, you seriously need to catch up! And if Wilson play near you, get out and experience them live.
Chad Nicefield - lead vocals
Jason Spencer - lead guitar
James Lascu - bass guitar
Kyle Landry - rhythm guitar
Matt Puhy - drums
"Right to Rise" is available now via Razor and Tie records both digitally and physically through major retailers. Check out their kickass video for 'Give Em Hell' Here
Get Their Latest Release "Right to Rise" On Razor and Tie Records
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