Live Reviews

Published on October 23rd, 2018 | by Nigel Cartner

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Twisted Wheel – Gorilla, Manchester – 20th Oct 2018 Live Review

Having been together for around eleven years, Twisted Wheel are one of the biggest draws in the underground music scene, so it came as no surprise that their home turf gig at Gorilla, in Manchester, was a sell-out. Led by singer/songwriter, Jonny Brown, the band have endured a successful revival these last twelve months, including a high-profile support slot with Liam Gallagher at Finsbury Park, numerous shows, and the release of a fantastic 4-track EP, ‘Jonny’s Guitar’, which fits seamlessly into their setlists.

There has always been a special aura surrounding Twisted Wheel that has contributed to their lofty cult status and astounding popularity. The profound, sharp lyrics about the towns we live in, and the quirky characters that inhabit them, are merged with high octane, adrenaline fuelled punk/rock music, and those factors have been the lethal combination that causes so many people to resonate with them.

Needless to say, the homecoming gig was one to relish, and a packed crowd crammed into the venue like a tin of sardines awaiting the band’s arrival. They appeared to rapturous cheers and instantly launched into crowd pleaser and debut album opener, ‘Lucy the Castle’. Jonny aggressively strummed the guitar with a passion that set the crowd off into a boisterous bounce, creating the sort of mayhem expected at an energetic and high-spirited British punk rock show.

‘She’s a Weapon’ and One Night On The Street’ followed, two tracks of similar intensity to the show opener that revved up the crowd even further, which escalated into mosh pits, crowd surfing and constant chants of, “Wheel! Wheel! Wheel!” which demonstrated the kind of fanaticism that consumes the average Twisted Wheel fan.

‘Strife’, was an instant hit soon after, where the audience could be heard passionately belting the lyrics back towards the stage. Jonny just smiled and let them takeover for much of the song, and the crowd were all too happy to oblige. The track has captured the hearts and minds of the fans over the years, and is an archetypal Twisted Wheel song straight from their unique writing mantra, summed up perfectly in one line – “Painting pictures of life, caught in a strife.”

‘Ride’, taken from the second album, ‘Do It Again’, is a cool track and was well delivered, as was the more upbeat, ‘Jonny Guitar’, the main track off the latest EP of the same name. There was no surprise that the biggest and most chaotic moment of the show was saved for, ‘You Stole the Sun’. When in full flow it’s a tune arguably unrivalled by any live British rock written since the Millennium. The way the crowd react and immerse themselves into the fast-paced, full throttle guitar riffs is nothing short of a phenomenal spectacle. An absolute epic anthem!

After the onslaught of, ‘You Stole the Sun’, it was time to tone it down a touch as Jonny turned to his trusty acoustic guitar. He stood alone to play heartfelt renditions of the ever charming, ‘Bouncing Bomb’, and the slow, murderous ballad, ‘Double Yellow Lines’, both tracks of differing tones, yet both containing the same ingenious lyrical prowess about certain aspects of the darker side of life experienced in our northern towns.

The final three songs are from the debut album and served as a crescendo to the show’s finale. ‘Oh What Have You Done’, ‘Bad Candy’, and ‘We Are Us’, are all high tempo, loud and powerful pieces of punk orientated rock music which stoked the crowd’s raucousness to the point that, in some cases, items of clothing could be seen being hurled from one end of the venue to the other. The bedlam continued right to the show’s climax, and given the ferocity of the ending in, ‘We Are Us’, there was no need for an encore.

This was yet another monstrous performance, showing that Twisted Wheel are back to their monumental finest. It’s great to see them onstage again, and it has to be said, it’s great to see a man as talented as Jonny back in the limelight, doing what he does best and what he was born to do. There’s a strong feeling that there’s still more to come in the Twisted Wheel story, and we eagerly wait to hear what the next chapter holds for a band, and frontman, deserving of so much!

All photos provided by Trust-a-Fox. Please ask permission before use.


About the Author

Nigel is a huge fan of music from the 60s and 70s with an emphasis on rock, psych, blues and indie. This spreads to music of the same genre into the modern era. Being a Manchester lad he also has an affiliation with local music past and present. He has also recently released his debut novel, 'Lost in Manchester, Found in Vegas' which is available on amazon or njcartner.com



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