At the O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., February 25, 2016

WILSON (Live at the O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., February 25, 2016)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Over the years Detroit has been something of a hot bed for musical creativity. As the birthplace of Motown it gave us the wonderful The Four Tops and The Temptations; the garage Punk of MC5 and The Stooges; the groovelicious Funkadelic, the glorious Blues and Soul of John Lee Hooker and Marvin Gaye to the nightmare incarnate, Alice Cooper and the Motor City Madman himself, Ted Nugent. Can any other city lay claim to such a rich and diverse musical heritage as Detroit? Even stack-heeled Glamsters KISS penned Detroit Rock City in its honour.

Maybe it’s the hardship the folk of Detroit have endured over the years, the urban decay, unemployment and loss of major industries that has provided the inspiration to lose their troubles in music. Detroit’s loss has been the world’s gain.

With a cover depicting a bedraggled stray dog set against the Detroit skyline, Wilson have pinned their colours to the mast with their latest album Right To Rise, a real statement of intent for a proud city to fight back against their enduring social struggle.

On their very first headlining show in Newcastle, frontman Chad Nicefield was clearly up for making a striking impression with a whirlwind of energy from start to finish and Give ‘Em Hell does exactly what it says on the tin.

With a sound part biker Rock of The Almighty and part Rob Zombie with a liberal stomp of ’90’s Grunge added to a fiery mix Wilson were no shrinking violets. Right To Rise is a real fist raising salute to their home town and one the people in Newcastle can relate to with the loss of coal mining and ship building industries taking a heavy toll over the years.

A cover of Nazareth’s cowbell clanking Hair of The Dog saw Nicefield matching Dan McCafferty’s gravel hewn voice while The Flood smouldered and burned with a deliciously Bluesy flame before Nicefield disappeared off stage only to return behind the crowd thumping a big bass drum during Susan Jane.

By the closing My Life My Grave, Wilson and the crowd had formed a bond that can only be created in the face of adversity, Detroit and Newcastle joined as one, demanding the right to rise.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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