It’s that time of year again where we pause and take a look back at some of the highpoints we have experienced through the Great Music Stories interviews and also my Friday 5-8pm Rock Show which airs on 107Meridian FM.
It’s been an incredible year for great rock music and almost impossible to single anyone out – and sincere thanks to the 120+ artists that have so generously given time for so many fun and insightful interviews. However in keeping with the rock show tradition, here are some highpoints of the year.
This to me is a clear winner. Since first hearing some of the tracks that would make up the band’s Welcome To The World album back in February, my attention was immediately drawn to Ratio, even though we were cueing up a first play of ‘FeeFiFoFum’ and the forthcoming single ‘Tokyo.’ Ratio was one of those songs that since its very first radio play on the show never went away – and still to this day sounds as fresh and exciting as its first play. A song that deserves to be a big single and a rock song that would stand on its own two feet on mainstream radio. Our most requested song of 2016 on the rock show and in my view – and on merit – a match for any rock single that’s been released this year. This song captures in just four minutes the promise that Massive Wagons have to become one of the brightest new forces in rock.
There have been so many impressive albums released this year – but this one was special. It’s possibly the only rock album where every track has been requested on my show during 2016 and, beyond the radio singles, a number of the album tracks were preferred in early 2016 as play listed songs. Caroline, which has since appeared as a single, was play listed as an album track on five occasions earlier in the year. As a debut album, Fed To The Lions is fresh, exciting and immediately arrests attention. From my interviews with the band, they stand as eloquent and passionate ambassadors on why we all need to back the new generation of rock bands emerging. And in musical terms, this album presents the very same case perfectly.
I first interviewed John Corabi in June, some weeks before Ramblin’ Man as the band were preparing to set off on tour. Five months later, I caught up with John again, this time in Brighton and they were still on a relentless schedule of touring and even talking about live plans for 2017. The Band’s ‘Make Some Noise’ album feels like it was written with live performance in mind and the material gives them a knock-out set that seems to create fireworks wherever they go. Make no mistake, this is not a mature band relying on past hits and performing choice gigs. This is a band still creating, still passionate and with an incredible work ethic. For a lot of young bands building their live presence, the Dead Daisies are a great role model on how to put on a truly engaging show and wow an audience with outstanding stagecraft, interaction and purpose.
Perhaps above all, in a 2016 when a lot of people have looked with bewilderment and concern at some of the news events breaking in the world, the ability of a rock band to send everyone home happy after a show, positive, united and optimistic about the world has never been more needed – or welcomed.
Following a six-week countdown that drew on the votes and reaction of 10,000 listeners, I counted down on the rock show on 16 December the top 20 bands of 2016. Based on the fan vote, requests through the year and the impact of feature specials since January, Massive Wagons were crowned the Great Music Stories band of year 2016, following in the footsteps of The Quireboys who were 2015’s band of the year. Massive Wagons epitomise the soul of a hard working band, passionate about their music and genuinely touched by the support from their fans. During the course of 2016’s rock show, Massive Wagons transitioned from a band largely unknown by many listeners to the most requested band by December – and the early airplay of Tokyo and Ratio during 2016 had a ripple effect further afield. Grounded, true and fun, Massive Wagons have an exciting future and as they evolve into one of British rock’s ‘now’ bands they also serve as good role models for new bands that are staring out.