Emerging out of Saddleworth way back in 2007, the band, fronted by natural performer Jonny Brown, have had some admirable success over the years from being signed to record label giants Columbia, to some of the biggest and the best support slots with Oasis, Kasabian, Paul Weller, The Courteeners, The Happy Mondays and Ian Brown. They’ve boasted sell-out gigs on their first UK and European tours and from that, the band developed a loyal fanbase. Twisted Wheel are what I call a true rock n roll band, the real deal. Their debut album is a stone-cold classic.
However, it’s not all been smooth sailing since their exit from the public eye back in 2014, with various new lines ups and battles with addiction the following years saw Twisted Wheel fraught with problems. However, the most important thing for the band and probably what saved Jonny was his love of music, his refusal to quit and hunger to put Twisted Wheel back up where they rightfully deserve to be. Jonny’s Phoenix likeability to rise from the ashes is one I cannot help but admire. Despite whatever shortcomings he may have encountered, the band are one of the most hardworking and determined. Last year they played a 60 date tour alongside their number one debut EP with only four gigs not selling out. The band has secured major support and festivals apperances since 2018 including major supports on the last Liam Gallagher tour (they’ve also just announced they’ll be supporting him on his Why Me Why Not tour this November in Newcastle and Birmingham, both sold out) as well as playing many major festivals across the UK throughout the summer. Despite having no record label or major radio play the band also reached number one in the UK physical charts with the Jonny Guitar EP.
“If it doesn’t make your heart beat faster and raise your blood pressure, and make you want to yell and sing along – it ain’t Rock n Roll”
WHEEL, WHEEL, WHEEL echoed around the Leadmill’s small room on Saturday as Twisted Wheel unleashed complete and utter carnage upon it with their Part Two Nomad Hat tour. Full disclosure now, this was the first time I’ve seen Twisted Wheel live. This is a good thing, as I’m seeing it all with fresh eyes. I haven’t been under a rock, I know of the band, I’ve got their debut album and I’d heard how brilliant they are live not only from friends but heard the man himself Liam Gallagher notes Twisted Wheel as “a breath of fresh air”.
Straight away from the moment they step on stage, it is apparent that this is one very fucking special band. Twisted Wheel have that magical quality that some bands can only dream of, the ability to mesmerise you. The passion, the energy, the tunes, it’s all-natural, it’s unforced, they don’t even have to try because it’s just how it is, it’s meant to be, Jonny belongs on that stage. I was stood there thinking from start to finish what I guess many have thought before me ‘How the fuck are these not absolutely MASSIVE’. Well, if they continue to perform like that, the sky’s the limit. It’s no wonder Liam Gallagher is a fan, authentic rock and roll, it’s real-life, there’s no airs and graces or a front what you see is what you get and it comes across fervently in their live performance.
Jonny is an iconic frontman, there’s no doubt about it, he has that beautiful, youthful cockiness exemplified by the early The Sex Pistols, Weller or Oasis. His ‘in yer face’ directness makes a big impact, the energy from the band infects and spreads throughout the whole crowd. Don’t confuse this with arrogance though, he’s genuine and so very sincere on and off stage, he ain’t up his own arse, before and after the gig Jonny mingled with fans, having a laugh signing merch and having photos taken.
Kicking off the set with ‘Lucy The Castle’ the band tore through a setlist full of raucous bangers, it takes a lot for me to say this, but I can honestly say not one track bored me, it was pedal to the metal from beginning to end, fucking ace. “You Stole The Sun” the classic fast, heavy anthem that created an instant moshpit, is just pure adrenaline which leaves your heart racing. The crowd were going wild, blokes and birds on shoulders, everyone singing their hearts out, pints are getting thrown in the air, it was an absolutely brilliant atmosphere. This is all what rock n roll embodies for me, we may have been in the small room at the Leadmill but blink and it felt like you were in the main stage mosh pit or in a festival field surrounded by thousands of people. ‘Nomad Hat’, had the crowd going wild as Jonny roars ‘In my Nomad Hat, dance myself into insanity’ the crowd certainly did that!
Incorporated at the end of the exhilarating performance were a few acoustic numbers, ‘We Are Us’, ‘Bouncing Bomb’ and ‘Double Yellow Lines’ all which show that this ain’t just lad rock as the band had been pigeon holed as in the past, there’s clearly a lot more to this band and Jonny has a poetic, quieter side which I feel will come out more as the band evolve.
All in all, this is by far some of the most entertaining, pure guitar rock that you will ever hear. The whole set was totally electrifying and was an experience I could never forget. It exceeded all expectations and was really a definition of how powerful guitar music can be when at its best. I could go on forever praising this band, but unless you listen and go to see them yourself you will never understand what I’m talking about. New songs ‘Ghost Man Black’ and ‘Blue Get Over Yourself’ shone brightly for me in a powerful set that was over way too soon.
Twisted Wheel are proving they are firmly back in the game, with their strong live presence, melodies and musicianship and Brown’s poignant lyrics, there is a space waiting right at the top of the modern music industry once again, for Twisted Wheel.
It’s not a matter of is it going to happen? It’s when…
Twisted Wheel support Liam Gallagher on his ‘Why Me Why Not’ tour this November at Newcastle and Birmingham. They continue their Nomad Hat Part Two Tour here, be quick low ticket numbers at many venues.
Lucy The Castle
She’s A Weapon
One Night On The Streets
Let Them Have It All
Bad Candy driven by staccato chords
Black and Blue
What’s Your Name
Get Over Yourself
Oh What Have You Done
You Stole The Sun
We Are Us ( Acoustic)
Bouncing Bomb ( Acoustic)
Double Yellow Lines ( Acoustic)