Melbourne band, Wagons brought their unique take on country music to Transit Bar last Friday as part of their ‘Rumble, Shake & Tumble tour’.
Matt Banham, a solo artist from Adelaide warmed up the crowd with a little folk, a little synth-pop and a lot of dancing. He began with his back to the audience, repeatedly singing his name before launching into a cover of the Icehouse classic, ‘Electric Blue’. Though he was different in style to the headline act, his fun, lively performance set the mood for the rest of the evening.
Wagons opened their set with a strong performance of their latest single, ‘I Blew It’. They were down a member, having left their sick keyboard player upstairs, but the four remaining musicians pulled off an impressive show playing an eclectic set of songs, most of which were taken from the band’s last two albums, with a couple of covers and even a hip-hop song thrown in.
Frontman, Henry Wagons’ sense of humour shone through the music and the banter between songs, with topics including his love of Elvis at his most obese, a sales pitch for the tea towels available at the merch stand, and the running conversation piece of the night was the recently -extinguished fire which provided a handy segue into the songs, ‘Save Me’, and, ‘Love Is Burning’.
A cover of, ‘Never Been To Spain,’ made famous by Elvis Presley was one of the highlights of the evening, but the song that got the whole crowd singing along was the cover of ‘Willie Nelson,’ originally by another Melbourne band, Wayfaring Strangers. Henry Wagons walked through the audience to ensure everyone was singing the rising chorus of “Willie, Willie, Willie, WILLIEEEEE, WILLIE NELSON!” at the top of their lungs.
The band then swapped instruments and Si the Philanthropist, who had spent most of the evening on bass, took on lead vocals with some hip-hop. Though it was vastly different to the rest of the set, the audience lapped up the variety and the enthusiastic performance.
An encore of, ‘Man Sold,’ and, ‘Jail, It’s Hell,’ wrapped up a highly enjoyable set that left the crowd wondering if there was anything Wagons couldn’t do.