Amplified Festival 2018, Gloucestershire, July 8th 2018, Day Three

00 Day3 Lineup

Amplified Festival 2018
Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire
July 8th 2018, Day Three
Review by Rick Tilley with help from Beth Jones
Photographs by Beth Jones
10/10

I’m not quite sure when everybody else got back to the tent Saturday Night/Sunday Morning because, as soon as my head had touched the pillow, I was away with the fairies. This is, somewhat, a double edged sword for me with my back problems. I usually don’t sleep very well but when I do, because I’ve lain in the same place for too long, I feel much more pain. Add to that the fact that camping is not very good for me, so when I woke up on the Sunday morning, I looked and felt like Quasimodo. Once I had managed to negotiate actually getting out of the tent, which certainly wasn’t as easy as it should have been, another thing hit me…it was even hotter than it had been the previous two days. My fresh T-Shirt literally crumpled and stuck to me, the sky was shimmering and the angry red orb, that was the sun, looked like it was ready to take top billing in a 1970’s apocalyptic disaster movie. Even the bullocks in the field across the road from us, who the previous day had looked like a gang of naughty teenage boys ready for a punch-up, suddenly looked like they had been let out from an old people’s home for the day and could barely stand up straight!

Welcome to Ever Metal’s review of Amplified Festival 2018 Day Three!

Once everybody was awake and ready we crawled slowly over to the arena and immediately stocked up on water. I’m not sure it’s particularly healthy but I was literally beginning to sweat salt and this was before any band had played a note!
We arrived at the Very Metal Art Stage just as the first band of the day, Beth Blade & The Beautiful Disasters, were starting their set! Cardiff’s very own rock chick, Beth Blade is always a good way to pass some time and at 10.15am, on an already ludicrously hot morning, was no exception. The first thing we noticed, from the last time we had seen the band live, was that the bass player had shrunk by about 18 inches. It wasn’t the heat but new bassist Vincent Grieve! If you’ve not seen or heard Beth before then imagine a mix of Kiss, Suzi Quatro and Joan Jet, good old 70’s/80’s Rock N Roll. She has huge power on stage, a proper gravelly rock voice and massive presence plus a great band behind her. She isn’t a shy lass, certainly woke everybody up and the sizable crowd had a blast, as well as huge grins on their faces!

01 Beth Blade & The Beautiful Disasters Day3.jpghttps://www.facebook.com/BBATBDofficial/

Heading over to the Red Stripe Main Stage it was clear that people were starting to slow down slightly, unless your name was Michael Randall that is, but I certainly didn’t want to miss the next band. Carrying on the Hard Rock theme, albeit in a Jack Daniels coated Southern style, Thirteen Stars ambled onto the stage and promptly blew any remaining tumbleweed away with a huge bang. Hailing from the sunshine state of…Cumbria these guys are so laid back they’re horizontal but WOW, they are good. If you didn’t know better you would swear they were from Kentucky, Tennessee or Louisiana. They play proper bluesy, groove laden Rock N Roll and even though, having seen them before, I know they rip it up in a club setting, they were perfect for this Sunday Morning slot, especially in the sun with a cheeky Cloven Hoof Rum! I got so lost in the moment that, in what seemed like about ten minutes, they had ambled off stage again to rapturous applause. Absolutely superb!

02 Thirteen Stars Day3https://www.facebook.com/ThirteenStars/

Just as we were starting to get all Woodstocked up and considered changing outfits to flares and one of Simon Yarwood’s shirts we arrived back at the Very Metal Art stage and I got my soul ripped out by one of the most mesmerisingly brilliant and emotionally charged performances I’ve witnessed in many years, courtesy of the utterly incredible King Leviathan. With them being one member down and not wearing their usual garb onstage there were a few mutterings from some, before they started, as to whether it would work but I can tell you now that there wasn’t one person, who watched their performance, that wasn’t absolutely astounded at the end. Vocalist/Guitarist Adam Sedgwick was an unstoppable force on that stage and I couldn’t peel my eyes away from him. Blackened Thrash Doom isn’t usually Beth’s thing but we were both gobsmacked at the ferociously beautiful music that was coming out of the speakers. To know that King Leviathan will soon be no more is a very sad thing indeed. Completely compelling and enthralling from start to finish King Leviathan, amongst an ocean of fantastic performances over the weekend, were my band of the Festival!

03 King Leviathan Day3https://www.facebook.com/KingLeviathanMetal/

After the emotion of King Leviathan’s performance and also realising that, even though I had covered myself in sun tan lotion, my neck was starting to blister we found a small area of shade by the sound desk and chilled out, chatting to others, whilst the VMA stage was readied for another “do not miss” band Resin!

I’ve known some of the band for a fair few years now and having seen and interviewed them a number of times before, plus knowing violinist Emma Bennett from her other band Cadence Noir, we were really looking forward to seeing this performance as it was the first time Beth had seen them and the first time I had seen them properly live with this line-up. It was also going to be interesting to see how the, as yet unstoppable, sound team handled a six-piece band with a violin player and three guitarists. I needn’t have worried because the sound engineers nailed it and Resin were absolute class from first note to last.

Musically this is a band of ultra-talented musicians (well, cough, apart from Simon). Their songs are incredibly dark and emotional, and the performance echoed these emotions. What they do is almost installation art as well as music; with the stage being jam packed full of a motley crew of tattoos and piercings, loud shirts, and the statuesque gothic beauty of Emma. Off stage the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Dave Gandon, guitarist/vocalist Mark ‘Chez’ Roseby, bassist/vocalist Drask George and guitarist Simon Yarwood are absolutely lovely guys but on stage they are incredibly intense. This is the place where they thrive and their emotions are laid bare. Backed up by the fantastic drumming of Ryan Hextall and the beautiful violin work of Emma, Resin were nothing less than haunting, a perfect fit for the Sunday line-up and a must see if they gig near you!

04 Resin Day3https://www.facebook.com/resinonline/

Because we were covering the event and wanted to properly watch as many bands as we could we walked back to the main stage again and I thought to myself that if I hadn’t lost at least half a stone by the time I got home then I would be a bit miffed, however, it was now so stupidly hot that some people had either left the arena to find some shade amongst the trees or just stopped, wherever they were, and sat/laid down. Many had done this about midway between the two stages so that they could still hear/see the bands without moving (the beauty of no clashes working a treat). This did result in some of the Sunday afternoon bands playing to, what looked like, a thin crowd but that wasn’t actually the case, everybody was just spread out!

Next up on the Red Stripe Main Stage were Scottish Progressive metallers Ramage Inc. and, as they played, a thought went through my head and it went something like this! “Fuck Me it’s hot, how is nothing on fire?” followed pretty quickly by the realisation that something was on fire and it was Ramage Inc. Having never seen these guys before, or listened to much of their music, it was another of those ‘Why the heck have I been so stupid?’ moments! This four piece band from Edinburgh has oodles of talent and their songs are so damn catchy and dark. Equal parts melody, rhythm and power, fans of Devin Townsend will adore them, although you probably already know that as I appear to be very late to the party. On the day Ramage Inc. were absolutely superb and, since returning home, their albums “Feel The Waves” and “Earth Shaker” have been played whenever I have the spare time! They are another hugely compelling band!

05 Ramage Inc. Day3.jpghttps://www.facebook.com/RamageInc/

While Beth nipped over to see Marc and Nici at the Corrosive Merch/Goblin Dreams Stands I ventured into the very hot and VERY crowded G’s Bar Stage to check out The SoapGirls. Now, if you don’t know about The SoapGirls they are two Sisters, Noemie and Camille, who play Raw Rock/Punk Rock tunes and they play them whilst pretty much in the nude! I got told many times over the weekend that they are both lovely girls and I’m not disputing that for one second. I’ve also got no objection to anyone, male or female, who wants to get up on stage with nothing on and play music, a prude I am not. However, I’ve heard 1,000+ bands play their style of music and play it much better. With all due respect to The Soap Girls I really don’t think they would have the huge following they’ve managed to get if they went onstage in T-shirts and Jeans. You can call me cynical if you want but it’s a promotional tool that they have used well!

https://www.facebook.com/thesoapgirls/

By this time my body really wasn’t responding very well but, if you know me, you’ll know I don’t give in without a fight so it was back to the Very Metal Art Stage to watch a band, that we hadn’t seen live before, but were really looking forward to. I could wax lyrical about Twisted Illusion, because they were so good, but I’m going to leave this bit to Beth because her write up sums it up perfectly!

“Twisted Illusion took the bronze medal spot for performance of the weekend for me, only outdone by Evil Scarecrow and Soil. If heaven exits, this is the soundtrack that is playing! Matt Jones, Matt McDade and Mark Wagstaff are three unbelievably gifted musicians, all meeting in perfect harmony to make Prog Mecca! It reminded me of the bit in Bill and Ted, when Rufus takes them to the utopian future after Wild Stallion’s music has brought about world peace! I was absolutely blown away by the tone and range of Matt Jones’ vocals and his incredibly decadent guitar solos. It was self-indulgent and ego laden but all tongue in cheek. Twisted Illusion’s stage presence plus witty repartee and banter from Matt J made it mesmerising and they are now my new favourite band, so much so that we are going to see them for my Birthday treat this year!
Twisted Illusion – So good they make you pull a sex face!”

06 Twisted Illusion Day3https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband/

What I’ve heard of Florence Black, up to this point, has been really good and when speaking with people, across the course of the weekend, it was a name that had come up a fair bit as a band punters wanted to watch so it was back to the Red Stripe Main Stage to see them and we were very glad we did. A trio from Merthyr Tydfil (Hey, we definitely had to support the Welsh bands) they play thumping Classic Hard Rock, with a little modern twist, and they do it very adeptly too. Vocalist/Guitarist Tristan has an awesome set of pipes and, along with their strong melodies, this made for a really enjoyable performance. Florence Black were another great booking for a Sunday slot, especially with the good weather, and a band I very much look forward to seeing live again soon!

07 Florence Black Day3https://www.facebook.com/florenceblackUK/

What I had loved about the Sunday, so far, was that the bands booked, with the odd exception, had been a little more laid back and perfect for a crowd whose energy levels were probably a little on the waning side, but if anyone mistakenly thought that things were starting to wind down, then they were rudely awoken when the magnificent Shrapnel hit the Very Metal Art Stage. Another band I have been a fan of for a fair while, but had never seen live before, Shrapnel are an utterly furious juggernaut of Thrash & Speed Metal, their sound giving a huge nod to the likes of Testament and Exodus but stamping their own twist onto proceedings as well. They sounded like a squadron of advancing Challenger Tanks and had heads snapping in all directions. I love my Thrash and this felt like a starter, main course and dessert all in one go. Rather than feel completely drained by the time they left the stage I felt utterly re-invigorated!

08 Shrapnel (Sian Irvine)https://www.facebook.com/ShrapnelOfficial/

With a renewed spring in my limp I hobbled, with Beth, back to the Red Stripe Main Stage because there was absolutely no way we were missing the next band. We first saw Mason Hill live, about a year ago, at RockWich 2017 and they absolutely blew us away, in fact it had almost brought Beth to tears so emotional was their performance. Since then we’ve met them, interviewed them, seen them live a couple more times and have championed them on Ever Metal and we were absolutely stoked they were playing on the big stage at Amplified. Unfortunately, the heat had got the better of a lot of people by this point, so sadly the crowd was a little sparse but that never stops Mason Hill and they gave every ounce of energy they had. They play Classic Melodic Rock with a Modern twist, have great material that is really catchy, they are all gifted musically and they play with excitement and passion. They even graced us with some new tracks that will be on their debut album and they are fabulous. We aren’t the only ones who think they rock, they’re now signed to Frontiers Music and they don’t sign unless they see something special! It’s a shame more people didn’t see them because they deserved to be playing to a much bigger audience but they still made some new fans at Amplified. Part of my step-daughters photography prize was to photograph them being interviewed by us later in the day and it was a joy to catch up with five of the nicest people you’ll ever meet! We love Mason Hill!

09 Mason Hill Day3https://www.facebook.com/masonhillofficial/

From a photography point of view Beth says that, Misfit’s guitarist, Doyle’s band was her favourite of the weekend. ‘Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein’ is an incredibly striking subject with his sculpted make-up and hair, body of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger and towering stature enhanced by some magnificent platform boots! Musically Doyle are, unsurprisingly a bit like The Misfits, churning out catchy, Horror themed, sludgy Punk/Rock n Metal. Frontman Alex ‘Wolfman’ Story is also an intriguing character. He looked like he had sunk three bottles of Jack Daniels before hitting the stage and his banter, in-between songs, was unusually humorous with each track being introduced as ‘this one is a love-song that you can dance to if you want’ in a slurred accent, before launching into another great performance. It was too hot to dance and there were a few too many love songs but Doyle are the embodiment of US Rock n Roll excess. You feel like they should have been playing this material at New York’s CBGB’s club in the 1970’s whilst throwing TV’s out of hotel windows and driving vintage cars into swimming pools. It’s hard to believe Mr Doyle is actually a vegan! Make sure you catch them on tour!

10 Doyle Day3https://www.facebook.com/OFFICIALDOYLE/

By this time my legs were completely numb, it’s very weird walking on what feel like lumps of wood, but I had said at the outset that I intended to watch as many bands as I possibly could and next up on the Very Metal Art stage were a band I hadn’t seen live for many years…Xentrix!

Alongside Onslaught, Xentrix were always one of my favourite UK Thrash bands and it’s hard to believe that it’s nearly thirty years since I trudged into London, as I used to do on a regular basis, to buy their debut album ‘Shattered Existence’. Like many bands they’ve gone through a couple of break-ups and many line-up changes but at Amplified they were utterly superb. Bull-Riff Stampede guitarist Jay Walsh is now also vocalist/guitarist in Xentrix and he did a cracking job. They were tight with razor sharp riffs and thunderous drumming fighting for supremacy and once again, any thoughts of slowing down from the Amplified crowd were banished as necks shook and legs stamped. As the sun slowly started to dip and the inferno level temperature subsided by a degree or two, it looked like everyone had been given booster pills! This was a fantastic performance from an excellent band and it certainly won’t be years until I see them again!

11 Xentrix Day3https://www.facebook.com/xentrixmetal/

Back on the Main Stage it was time for Industrial/Alternative Metal heavyweights Sulpher to crank up their amps but I had to bow out due to needing medication/water and a fresh t-shirt, however, Beth went to watch them so here are her thoughts!
“I really love Industrial Rock/Metal, I don’t know why; I think it’s the raw edge power of it. The low bass and harsh drums just get to me. I think that the band were on stage, although it was a little difficult to tell sometimes with the amount of dry ice that was being pumped out! Having not seen Sulpher before, I didn’t know if this was a normal occurrence or if someone back stage had broken the switch on the machine but it certainly added to the atmosphere of their music! Again, the crowd was a little thin as many were still in the process of finding shade/nursing burnt skin or were in the G’s Bar Stage watching the, much talked about, Ward XVI and unfortunately I think this got to the band a bit with the between song banter being a little harsher than was necessary. It was a shame because, musically, Sulpher were absolutely outstanding”

I will add that even though I couldn’t see the band properly, I could hear them pretty well (I hope those sound guys were well paid because they deserved every penny) and Sulpher sounded fantastic. Since returning, Beth and I have checked out a fair bit of their music and neither of us would hesitate to go and see them again!

12 Sulpher Day3https://www.facebook.com/SULPHERMUSIC/

We were now heading towards the twilight of Amplified 2018 but the Headline band on the Very Metal Art stage was one I love but didn’t think I would ever see live so, even though I felt like a rat with no legs stuck up a drainpipe, I was as close to front and centre as I could be. With a massive portable lighting rig having appeared on stage along with a drum kit the size of a military cargo plane there was very little space left to actually stand but when Belgian Thrash/Speed Metal machine Evil Invaders flicked the on switch it was like they were playing Wembley Stadium.

I’ve already told you how much I like my Thrash and that there had been some awesome Thrash bands on over the course of the weekend but Evil Invaders took it to Def-Con 4. Their energy levels could have supplied the National Grid, which was just as well considering the amount of aircraft landing lights onstage. Vocalist/Guitarist Joe looked like the bastard lovechild of Lemmy and the Tasmanian Devil, his scowl utterly monstrous, and was a whirlwind of adrenaline from start to finish. Lead guitarist Max and bassist Joeri weren’t far behind and how the three of them managed to circumnavigate the space available without crashing into one another was astounding. All you could see of drummer Senne from behind the massive framed kit was a tornado of arms and hair and the occasional maniacal grin. If you’ve never heard of, or seen, Evil Invaders before then rectify that now because a band that is made up of equal parts Kreator, Heathen, Holy Moses, Iron Angel, Metallica, Exodus, Motörhead and a pinch of Septic Death is a pretty magnificent one in my book! They were a perfect wat to bring proceedings to a close on the VMA Stage and I really hope I get to see them live again!

13 Evil Invaders, VMA Stage Headliners Day3https://www.facebook.com/evilinvaders/

During the Evil Invaders set Beth and I discovered Rum Bellini’s from the Cloven Hoof stand and they were absolute nectar, just about giving me enough energy to walk, one last time, to the Red Stripe Main Stage!

“And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…” Here we were for the final performance on the Main Stage for another band from Beth’s formative years, Irish Rockers, Therapy? Now I’m going to be honest, when people, including Beth, talk to me about music in the 1990’s I nearly always do a ‘meh’ face. However, I cannot deny, that I was proved wrong yet again! Therapy? gave a fabulous performance with a mix of classic tracks and new material from the forthcoming album “Cleave”. Andy Cairns must be one of the nicest frontmen I’ve ever watched and between him, bassist Michael McKeegan and drummer Neil Cooper they make a heck of a lovely noise!

Everyone was having the time of their lives, singing along to just about every track and the atmosphere was electric, as the angry sun finally dipped below the horizon to give us some respite. It was almost as if Therapy? were battering it into submission! We had to sit down for most of their set, because we had definitely hit the proverbial wall. My back was agony and my legs were in serious danger of losing circulation plus Beth had developed elephantiasis in her ankles, but from our picnic blanket which had been very kindly supplied by the Motley Brew and with our cuppas aloft, we sang and cheered and smiled that melancholy smile you do when you know that something utterly fantastic has happened, but is coming to an end. Thank you Therapy? for an enthralling and brilliant way to end our Amplified 2018!

14 Therapy (Sian Irvine)https://www.facebook.com/Therapyofficial/

If you wanted still more then Welcome Back Delta were getting ready to play on the G’s Bar Stage but, like the previous two evenings, we finished with the Main Stage Headliner. We settled back down in the Motley Brew tent and chatted to anybody and everybody that arrived and we said goodbye to some who were packing up and leaving that night. There were no words to describe how we felt by this point, we were ridiculously tired, sweaty, dirty, in pain, drained, thirsty and a thousand other things but we also felt elated, thrilled, rapturous, enthralled, inspired and intoxicated, not by alcohol, but by the atmosphere and experience. It was very clear to see that we weren’t the only ones who felt like it either. After what felt like a wonderful eternity we finally dragged ourselves back to the tent for much needed sleep.

We didn’t get any sleep because a group of people, camping near us, decided that Sunday night was party night, hey they were just enjoying themselves, but with very groggy eyes we finally gave up trying to sleep at 6:00am and started to pack up. Mercifully, but also ironically, the temperature had decided to drop, somewhere in the region of 15 degrees, overnight. Had that happened a day earlier there would have been more people watching bands on the Sunday and my neck wouldn’t have looked like a bad case of Leprosy but I can say, with a clear conscience, that this was the best open air Festival weekend I have ever attended. It may not have had the largest audience, every event has to start somewhere, and it may have been hotter than everlasting purgatory in Hades but the atmosphere was the best I’ve experienced. You all know that we are family and I have never experienced that family feeling quite as much as I did at Amplified 2018. It would take me too long to name people individually so thank you from the bottom of my heart…you all know who you are!

I’m only going to mention one name because without his vision, drive and stubbornness Amplified wouldn’t have happened in the first place and, after last years debacle, it certainly wouldn’t have got to year two without his bloody mindedness. Gary Paterson take a bow and make sure you have a rest because Amplified 2019 is going to be even bigger and better, I’m not sure how but it will be!
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/amplifiedfestivalUK/

https://www.instagram.com/amplifiedrocks/

15 Amplified Logo

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley, Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of all parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Shrapnel & Therapy? Photographs courtesy of Sian Irvine Photography
https://www.facebook.com/siankirairvinephotography/

All other photos courtesy of Beth Jones
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/

Mason Hill – Mason Hill EP

Mason Hill EP Cover

Mason Hill – Mason Hill EP
Running Time: 18:02
Release Date – December 2015
Independent
Review by Beth Jones
9.5 / 10

Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, Mason Hill are, in my opinion, one of the most exciting new bands to hit the scene in a very long time. Their classic heavy rock style, combined with their talent and professionalism on stage give them the full package. Their debut EP is just a brief snippet of their skills and a very tasty bite of what is to come.

Showing off a range of their musical styles very succinctly, the four tracks on the EP develop through the chunky, toe tapping riffs of ‘Survive’ to the classic power Ballad of ‘Where I Belong’, visiting the influences of Country, AOR and classic heavy metal along the way. Their chunky riffs, driven bass, intricate guitar solos and tight drum fills give the EP a real pace and snap. But for me, the thing that makes it is the vocal range of Scott Taylor – this man has some pipes!!! Back that up with some great harmonies and it all comes together to form a very neat, but very exciting little package that definitely leaves you wanting more!

My feature track would have to be ‘Where I Belong’. This track for me is the classic ‘lighters in the air’ song that finishes off a gig perfectly and leaves you welling up with tears of joy. Starting acoustically with just Scott’s vocals and a beautiful guitar line provided by James Bird, the song floats into full band mode with a skillfully understated Rhythm section provided by Craig McFetridge on percussion and Matthew Ward on bass. It is lilting and melancholy and has the feel of a Pink Floyd epic of yesteryear, especially with the guitar solo, which I think would impress the great Mr Gilmour himself. The song gathers intensity throughout, building to its climax of defined rhythms, power vocals and twiddly solos working in perfect harmony and it is almost a shame when it finishes! Every time I listen to this track I notice something new. It makes me smile, it makes me cry, and it makes me want to listen to more – I simply cannot wait for the album and I will be first in the queue to buy it!

My only criticism, and the reason why the score is just off a perfect 10 is because the third track, ‘Now You See Me’ fades out at the end. This is one of my biggest bug bares in music – BOYS YOU ARE MORE TALENTED THAN THAT, THINK OF A WAY TO FINISH IT!!!! But seeing as this was one of their earliest recordings, and they are a new band, I will let them off for now – just don’t do it again!!!

That aside though, this is an exciting first EP from a very exciting young band. I am excited, and I am rarely excited by anything, so that is an achievement!

TRACK LIST

  • 01 Survive
  • 02 Your Memory
  • 03 Now You See Me
  • 04 Where I Belong

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • https://www.masonhillofficial.com/
  • https://www.facebook.com/masonhillofficial/
  • https://www.instagram.com/masonhillofficial/
  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz3cSYBHV_awSliSgZKCT0A

 

Mason Hill Pic2

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Interview with Mason Hill

Mason Hill Pic1

Mason Hill Interview – End of 2017
By Beth Jones

Those of you who have read my previous reviews will have guessed that I quite like Mason Hill!! So, it was my immense pleasure to be able to do an interview with them recently, and although finding time to do a face to face proved pretty much impossible, the guys were more than happy to answer my questions via the medium of email, with Matthew Ward, their Bass player and face puller extraordinaire, being the group spokesman – and here are the results.

Your performance at Rockwich absolutely blew me away in a way that no band has in a long time! I was instantly a fan. For the people that haven’t yet heard about you, tell us all about who you are and what you do?

Thanks a lot! We really enjoyed that show. For anyone that hasn’t heard of us we are a hard rock band based in Glasgow. We have been touring/gigging in our current line-up since February of 2016, but some of the songs have been played live for a few years before that. James and Scott started writing together when they were still in high school, but I would say once the line-up was completed and the EP was released is when we really hit the ground running and started to aim bigger! The best way to hear us (or any band for that matter) is on the live stage; we work really hard to bring the most exciting show we can to any crowd we play for.

You have a very classic American Rock sound – Who are your main influences? Who inspired you most to get up and say, ‘That is what I want to do!’?

The main influences are different for every member. That “Mason Hill sound” starts with the riff master, James, who seems to listen to everything. Obviously a lot of classic rock shapes the sound, but we try and bring a modern sound to all of the tracks as well. We are all big fans of Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry etc, but our average travel playlist ranges anywhere between Metallica and Bruno Mars (maybe shouldn’t admit that one!) depending who is controlling the songs. As for who inspired me to want to get up on stage, it would have to be watching Flea from The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. After watching him play at 12 years old, I knew I wanted to pick up the bass and play in a band.

You came down to Welsh Wales in December, to Porthcawl, and to the awesome Tivoli venue, Buckley, which we were at – was this your first trip to Wales?

We will be down in Wales a few times in the coming months. It won’t be our first time; we played last year at Hard Rock Hell after winning the Highway to Hell competition. We opened up the main stage on Friday to a near full room. That show was one of the highlights of last year’s shows so we are really excited to get back to Wales and party with the crazy Welsh fans again.

Your gig in Porthcawl was at Planet Rockstock – how much were you looking forward to sharing the stage with the likes of Bernie Marsden, Joanne Shaw Taylor and Thunder?!

The line-up to this year’s festival was amazing, it’s always a pleasure to share a bill with artists you’ve grown up admiring and being influenced by. The great thing about these festivals is the fact they are letting the new kids on the block like ourselves on the bill and show people, the fans, what we have to offer.

You had a series of gigs in the lead up to Christmas – was this a build up to the release of your first album? Do you have a release date yet for that?

The tour was just an end of year run in celebration of the release of the first video, and to end the year on a high with some great shows. The album is on its way! We promise! Everyone’s demoing their respective parts. There are lots of really cool things happening in the background on the lead up that will make the wait for the debut worth it. We should have it out in either the second or third quarter of next year we hope.

I think you will be huge – Where would you like to see yourselves in five years?

In 5 years’ time we all really hope to be doing this on a full time and international scale. The growth of the band over the past year has been great, so we are all working towards the same goal of bringing the best quality music we can to our fans and really stretching further afield.

The ever-growing festival circuit is already shaping up to be great next year – are you on the bill for any yet?

The answer, there is… there is no answer. We have lots planned for next year, the album is the main priority, but we will certainly take some time out for shows and festivals. Nothing we can announce at the moment. But keep your eyes peeled. (NB Since we did this interview, Mason Hill have been announced for the main stage at Amplified festival in July – a fact about which I am majorly stoked! Beth)

You all have an awesome stage presence, and that for me is what makes you stand out from the crowd, but who is in charge?! Who is the ‘dad’ of the group – the one who makes sure everyone has their stuff, and tells everyone where to stand, etc!?

Me!! I am the boss of everyone…(not true) The live show is quite a spontaneous thing. There’s no one telling us where to move etc, we just have a great on stage chemistry. Off stage the most organised person has to be James! Unless he has had a few to many shandies!!!

You are signed to Frontiers – an amazing label to be with for such a young band – how did that come about?

Our management ‘Shock City’ proposed the idea to us initially. Our plans were for a second EP. But our management were confident we had the tracks to shop us to Frontiers. It worked, so I guess they were right! They are a great label with great bands on the roster, so it’s a privilege to work with them.

If you could be main support for any band in the world right now, who would that be?

I think in terms of an ideal pairing of bands , it would be the likes of Black Stone Cherry or Shinedown. In terms of dream band to support, for me it would be a band like Iron Maiden or Kiss, just so I could watch Eddie fighting the band from backstage every night.

What has been your favourite, or most memorable gig to date?

To date it has to the headline show in August at the Glasgow Garage. We have played some amazing shows this year like the Boardie Takeover at Download, but there is always something special about playing a venue in your hometown and getting that kind of response.

Do you have a wish list of venues you would love to play?

One of my Bucket list venues is actually on this tour. We play Glasgow Barrowlands, which I have wanted to play since I saw my first show there when I was 13. That will be a special night for sure. Having said that, I would not turn down a show in Madison Square Garden or Wembley Stadium either!

Is music now your full-time job, or are you all still gainfully employed in other professions?

I wouldn’t use the word gainfully to describe my employment, but yes music is the main priority but other work pays the bills. We aim to remedy that over the next couple of years however.

What’s worse – Fangirls or Facebook trolls?!

I’ll let you know when I have some fan girls!! Applications are open!!

And finally, completely unrelated to music, but none the less a valid and well debated argument – The Jaffa Cake – cake or biscuit?!

A question that has haunted Britain for some time. But it’s a cake. It’s in the name. Biscuits crunch Jaffa cakes do not. End of argument.

Once again, I would like to say a huge thanks to Matt, and all the Mason Hill boys, for taking the time to provide me with the answers to my questions, although you are wrong on the Jaffa cake front, but I will let that go, seeing as I would also like to apply for the position of Mason Hill Fan girl #1 – I feel I have all the correct qualities for the position in equal measures!

I for one really can’t wait to see more of these guys as often as possible. Check them out anywhere you can. Here are some useful links for you to get you started:

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • https://www.masonhillofficial.com/
  • https://www.facebook.com/masonhillofficial/
  • https://www.instagram.com/masonhillofficial/
  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz3cSYBHV_awSliSgZKCT0A

 

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Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Mason Hill & Hollowpoint – Live Review

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Mason Hill & Hollowpoint
The Tivoli, Buckley.
8th December 2017
By Beth Jones
9.5/10

Having seen Mason Hill at Rockwich in the summer of 2017, when this gig was announced on our doorstep, it took me all of a millisecond to decide that we were going. Not only a chance to see my new favourite band, but also to go back to my old weekly haunt for the first time in 20 years, was far too tasty a prospect to pass on, and I had been eagerly awaiting it since. Now people who know me, will know my luck when it comes to weather and I am happy to report that mother nature has kept up her 100% record of trying to foil my brilliant plans, but as yet she had not succeeded!! So with the snow still falling and icy conditions on the road, we set out to the Tivoli ready for a great night.

We arrived in one piece and where very thankful to discover that Mason Hill and Hollowpoint had also made it! Unfortunately, Anglesey’s Bad Dog had been unable to make it off the island, but hey – two out of three ain’t bad!!

The venue itself hadn’t really changed in the 20 years since I had been there last, which was pleasing. I instantly went on a nostalgia trip, pointing things out and chuckling as a million memories came flooding back. The staff where really friendly and the bar was still reasonably priced, and it was also pleasing to see a pretty good number of people had battled through the weather to support the bands.

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First up was Hollowpoint, a rock and metal band from Cheshire who supply a great mix of original tracks and classic covers, made up of Andy Cotton from Renegade, Stu Gower and Tim Hopkins from Gearjammer, Fozzy from Snakebite, and Nige Connor on vocals. I was really impressed with their sound straight away; it was very full and the vocal range of Nige was extremely impressive. They had the audience’s full attention and reeled off a host of originals and great covers at a roaring pace. Their vocal harmonies, intricate guitar work and chunky bass really filled the space and they were very upbeat and full of fun – exactly what was needed to warm all the punters up on this chilly evening. For me, their best covers where Saxon’s ‘Stand Up And Fight’, and Maiden’s ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ – amazing vocals on both and great twin guitar work in ‘Hallowed’. A really top way to start the evening.

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I had been making notes up until this point, but then Mason Hill came on and I was far too busy fan girling to make notes!!! What can I say about these guys…? Hell Yessss!! That is pretty much it!!!! Once again, from the first note they played, they had it. The whole crowd was with them straight away and they played with all the gusto that you would expect of a band playing a much larger venue to a much larger crowd. They gave us a mix of old and new, playing tracks from their debut EP, along with new material that will come on the hotly awaited debut album later this year.

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The thing that I love about this band so much is their commitment. Their commitment and their stage presence, and their sheer talent make for an awesome live experience. Each one of them brings something different to the table, from James Bird’s seemingly effortless solos, Matthew Ward’s bouncing bass, Marc Montgomery’s skillful guitar, Craig McFetridge’s precision drumming and all topped off perfectly with the powerful soaring vocals of Scott Taylor, all the parts sit together in perfect harmony to create, in my opinion, the most exciting new band I have seen in many many years.

They switch between the heavier riffs of ‘Now You See Me’, to the soaring ballad ‘Where I Belong’ (which is simply a stunning song by the way) with total fluidity and just keep giving song after song after song of the quality that have the potential to be great rock anthems of the future.

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Just for fun, as a finale, the guys threw in a perfect cover of Mountain’s ‘Mississippi Queen’. Yes. Awesome.

By the end, Scott said that his voice was going (not that you would have noticed from where we were sat) and I get the feeling that he had maybe pushed just a little bit too hard. And that would be my only one point about the whole night. Scott please look after that voice – we need it to go on for a long time yet!!!

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In summary, although the weather outside was frightful, the bands were so delightful, and as long as there’s Mason Hill, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!! I came out of the venue a very happy Beth and smiled all the way home. Incidentally this was the maiden date of Mason Hill’s first ever tour and I am so glad to be able to say I was there. Looking forward immensely to seeing these guys again at Amplified Festival in the summer.

HOLLOWPOINT LINKS

  • http://www.hollowpoint.co.uk/
  • https://www.facebook.com/hollowpoint1258/
  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQieBjD-CxLjv0mQjrN656A

 

MASON HILL LINKS

  • https://www.masonhillofficial.com/
  • https://www.facebook.com/masonhillofficial/
  • https://www.instagram.com/masonhillofficial/
  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz3cSYBHV_awSliSgZKCT0A

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities