David Lydiard & Naomi Jeremiah
Better late than never with this review, but then sometimes you just need that extra recovery time after you’ve witnessed an epic event. We were at the sold out Islington Assembly Halls for the album launch of ‘II’ – the cracking new album from Inglorious and what a night it was.
First to take to the stage were Gypsy Heart, performing as an acoustic duo consisting of vocalist Heather Leoni and guitarist Ali Clinton. We regularly discuss vocalists with “power pipes” on Down The Front podcast and Heather certainly fits into that category. Her strong, powerful voice soars over everything and she does it so effortlessly. Rich, smooth tones creating an intense atmosphere expertly complimented by Clintons acoustic playing and they even threw in a Rival Sons cover. A superb way to start the evening’s proceedings. If you get the chance to see Gypsy Heart perform as a full band, you are in for a treat as the intensity levels are increased and Heathers performance all round is just captivating.
Next up were Mason Hill, a band we were very excited about seeing live. Newly signed to Frontiers Srl and playing for the first time ever in London, they made an instant impression. With touches of classic Led Zep and Black Sabbath mixed in with the likes of Black Stone Cherry and Alter Bridge, the young Mason Hill tore through their set like wily veterans, treating the crowd to fantastic rock songs such as “Survive”, “Now You See Me”, and even a cover of Mountains “Mississippi Queen”. But, the best was yet to come; closing out their set with a beautiful tribute to the late, great Chris Cornell, the band dedicated “Where I Belong” to the fallen Soundgarden/Audioslave frontman. James Bird on lead guitar was on point all night with his solos, but this one in particular was definitely one to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Just, perfect. It would be remiss of us to not mention the rest of the group though, because Mason Hill are certainly five talented individuals that come together as one tight unit. Craig McFetridge (drums) and Matthew Ward (bass) are a phenomenal rhythm section, anchoring the band with some solid grooves. Marc Montgomery (guitar) and the aforementioned, and praised, James Bird are a twin guitar dynamo, spitting out riffs and trading licks back and forth reminiscent of some the great bands of times gone by. Last, but by no means least, Scott Taylor on vocals. Wow! Talk about “power pipes” – this guy has them in abundance. Intensity, ferocity and pure power, Scott has to be regarded as one of the best frontmen working today and with time, he could be regarded as one of the greats. He has the vocal maturity of a veteran, but the energy and enthusiasm of the youngster that he is; certainly a potent combination and the combination of all five members of Mason Hill are going to be a force to be reckoned with.
The band of the hour, Inglorious, took to the stage to the Grandstand theme, and to a ravenous welcome from their adoring crowd. Opening their set with “Read All About It” taken from “II” before a couple of debut album classics “Breakaway” and “High Flying Gypsy”. Despite the new album only being a week old at the time of this gig, the crowd were in fine voice singing along to all the lyrics, perhaps helped by releasing a few singles beforehand. “Making Me Pay” and “Hell or High Water” were particularly good and then Colin and Phil had the opportunity to flex their rhythmic chops in a solo spot whilst the rest of the band headed off stage to tune up for “Warning”. After their self titled song “Inglorious” whipped the crowd into a frenzy, the band slowed things down with a touching tribute of “Black Hole Sun” before launching into an acoustic and reworked rendition of Deep Purples “Burn”. With the announcement of an Autumn tour, which will include another London date, this time at the Electric Ballroom, the band went into overdrive with “Taking The Blame”, “Girl Got A Gun”, their Dio/Rainbow-esque “Faraway” and closing the main set with “High Class Woman”
The encore kicked off with the instant classic “I Don’t Need Your Loving” before they pulled everything back with the bluesy “Holy Water” and finished the night off with the ferocious “Until I Die”.
You can’t fault Inglorious. The band can play and they play extremely well and as for Nathan? Well he could sing the phone book couldn’t he. Whilst not his natural singing style, he sang “Black Hole Sun” very well and was fantastic throughout. Another vocalist with “power pipes” for sure. His high pitched screams are just effortless and he seemed quite overwhelmed at points by the positive reaction of his adoring fans.
For us, the highlight of the evening were Mason Hill. Not to take anything away from the other two bands, because all three were excellent, but there was something exciting about Mason Hill that just tipped them above everyone else. A downside for us was Inglorious’ cover of “Burn”, not that it was performed badly, because it wasn’t, but that they have to play it at all. Before hand, Nathan spoke of how it was their most requested song to play, and for us, that felt sad. For a band as talented as Inglorious are, we feel that they need to get away from the covers and give their fans more of their originals because they do write great rock songs.
We had a great night all round. Three awesome bands and lots of awesome music. Inglorious have just announced the dates for the Autumn tour and we would highly recommend you go and catch them as they are an incredible live band, but also, go check out Gypsy Heart and especially Mason Hill too because you will be blown away.
PHOTO CREDITS TO Lindzrs Media-Photography