What better way to spend a warm Wednesday evening than to attend a live performance from Hollowstar, a quartet rock band from St. Ives, Cambridgeshire who are supporting Thunderpussy along with Sister Shotgun, and I have to admit I'm really looking forward to seeing! We arrive at the Robin 2, Bilston and there's no one around except maybe 4 people in the foyer waiting for the doors to open.
Not more than half hour later and the venue has managed to entice approximately 20 people in through the doors for the first act Sister Shotgun. Honestly, I'm not overly impressed. Chloe Ozwell (vocals) is thrashing herself around so much on stage that she seems out of breath by the second song and the vocals just aren't powerful enough. I wasn't keen on the material and sadly there wasn't any particular song that caught my attention.
15 minutes later and Hollowstar walk onto the stage oozing a confidence that has me sitting up and paying attention. The audience has increased to about 30 – 35 people but despite this poor turn out Hollowstar don't let this dissuade them from putting on an absolutley stellar performance. They kick off their set with Money and immediately Joe Bonson's vocals hit me. He has an amazing voice, deep and luxuriously silky with a gritty edge, a kind of mix between Myles Kennedy and Chris Cornell and the stage presence from the entire band is immense, these guys are good!
Next we are launched into massively catchy song Lay Down with crashing heavy drums and a toe tapping, head banging bass line. Accompany that with the incredible vocals from Joe Bonson, as he's strumming away on the bass, and you've got one very upbeat catchy rock song. I'm already hooked and we're only 2 songs into their set! Future City is next and it's noticably a much quicker and grittier song that has a blistering guitar solo from Phil Haines and then... another solo towards the end of the song from Tom Collett! By now this place should be rocking but the small crowd are a hard bunch to get going tonight. Before we are launched into the next track Joe takes the time to address the audience and point out that they are currently on a tour of the UK and that their new EP Some Things Matter is available at the merch stand. Then we are into Sweet Suicide a massively banging track that gets at least some of the crowd moving with its bouncy riffs and punchy vocals, not to mention another superb short solo from Phil Haines. Jack Bonson is absolutely killing it on the drums and I'm exhausted just watching him!
Joe speaks to the audience before the next track, expressing the sentiment behind Feel The Burn, a song about depression and he talks about the impact that depression has had on his life. I think its important for people to recognise and talk about mental health issues and seeing someone who looks from the outside to be so positive, confident and full of life I would never have guessed that he struggled with depression. So this track is about depression and the struggle of feeling nothing and everything, he says 'That's what depression does, it fucking numbs you'. The song starts slow and easy, the impact of his words resonating through the lyrics as there's a crash of drums and the song takes on a harder edge for the chorus before droppping off again for the next verse... then we're building again for the chorus, the vocals are centred, laid back and full of emotion.. then Jack crashes heavy on the drums and the riffs from Phil and Tom are coming hard and heavy taking us through the chorus again. It's a really amazing song, full of voice and emotion that is at this moment my favourite of the night.
Next up is Holding it Together, the latest song from their EP and again its another massively engaging tune full of big rocky vocals in a classic rock style followed by In My Dreams which gives the audience more gritty, centred vocals and bouncy riffs to delight the ears. The penultimate song is New Age Lullaby and by now I'm already a huge fan of these guys and their music. True hard rock mixed with resonating and intense vocals that seem to both soothe and excite, the more I listen the more I want to hear!
Now we're into the final track of their set and I find myself feeling let down, simply because I want to hear these guys playing all night. Why are these guys not headlining? There's something new and exciting about the way these guys command the stage throughout their performance and as Guilty begins I'm swaying to the beat, loving every minute! By the end of their set I feel elated! I love the sound of Joe's voice, love the guitar solos from Phil and Tom, and I'm in awe of Jack on the drums. He seriously knows how to beat the crap out of a drumset! These guys are absolutely superb live! They are so relaxed on stage and give a performance that could no doubt fill out arenas in time. I'm going to keep my eye on these guys, I suggest you do too!
If you haven't heard of them then go look them up on Facebook or Youtube and listen to their material, then treat yourself and catch yourself a live performance!
Their tour dates are on their Facebook page HERE
Don't miss them!