MASON HILL & BLACK KING COBRA -     King Tuts Wah Wah Hut - 26.05.18




King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut is an iconic venue in the UK music industry with NME once stating it was ‘Quite possibly the finest small venue in the world’ and the frontage still proudly quotes Radio 1 in saying it is the ‘Best UK Live Venue’.


Tut’s heritage is nearing 30 years in the making and having enjoyed the likes of Oasis, who were famously signed at the venue in 1993 by Alan McGee, it is considered hallowed ground by aspiring artists. The acts booked to play here are diverse and eclectic, rarely featuring rock or metal genres, so tonight’s sell out show to hail the majestic return of Mason Hill is a special occasion indeed.


Mason Hill enjoyed early success securing prestige shows but they have been quiet in the last few months. They continued to maintain their profile albeit fans yearning for a release of new material to build on their 2015 self-titled EP. Tonight, the loyal fan base is rewarded with a hometown show with local support Black King Cobra and the buzz of excitement in the venue is palpable with many of the punters knowing each other having followed the band from their early days.


The plethora of Mason Hill band shirts is evidence that these talented musicians have a solid foundation and the optimism of hearing new songs is the next step in the build. Before the main dish served, however, there is an added excitement to hear local lads Black King Cobra.


Black King Cobra features a tight and talented line-up of Steve Todd (Drums), Robert Kennedy (Bass), Ross Clark (Guitar) and Callum Moran (Vocals). The band formed nearly two years ago and play ‘groove rock’ that is energetic and original - something that engages the listener in recorded material but also live on stage.


BKC take to the stage to a rapturous welcome that takes singer Moran aback. His demeanour is one of a humble artist who is clearly touched by the warmth of the crowd. The band have already played some significant gigs in their short life but the honour of playing in Tut’s to a sell out local crowd is clearly something they are delighted about.


A nervous technical issue with the guitar is quickly resolved to a small cheer that the band laugh off and the gig gets started. BKC has a funky, rocky vibe that allows Todd, Kennedy and Clark to play technically wonderful music that is complimented by Moran’s powerful range. The first track features a slapped bass part that is rarely seen in rock acts and this adds a dimension to the music that is dynamic and rich.


The band mix up the pace and attack but maintain a groove whatever the tempo. The stage set up sees Todd pushed to stage right in front of the main act’s backline and kit. This seems to accentuate his large frame sitting side on to the crowd, provoking a question from a punter to my right “Is he massive, or his kit tiny?”. Whatever the answer, the band are delivering a confident set with slower numbers, and big bass tracks like ‘Wrack and Ruin’ receiving a huge reception.


The band reach the end of their seventh and final song with an almost awkward crescendo that may well have been delivered in a more theatrical style had the band expected to receive such an awesome reception. The band look a little relieved for some reason but they should be assured that they are playing music that many would like to but probably couldn’t. Importantly too, they played a set that any head-line act would hate to try and follow!


You can follow Black King Cobra at:




The band’s setlist was -

Blood Rush



Ball & Chain

Harvest Moon

Wrack and Ruin




The established line up of Mason Hill enjoys the quality and potential of Scott Taylor (Vocals), James Bird (Guitar), Marc Montgomery (Guitar), Matthew Ward (Bass) and Craig McFetridge (Drums). This group of high achievers carry the pressure of early success but as they take to the stage to the intro tape, it is obvious they have class and confidence.


Opening track ‘This Life’ has a fresh feel and it should as it’s a new track. The song has pace changes and is powerful and tight. It is undeniably strong and must surely have been chosen as the opening track to plant a flag in the new found territory. I’d go as far as saying this deserves radio play such is its quality and accessibility, and the lyrics “we are the chosen ones” is poignant, to say the least.


The band anchor the gig early with a return to older material with ‘Survive’ - a song that has most of the room singing along. Taylor’s vocals are strong and he has warmed up by this point and is more relaxed enjoying frontman theatrics and working the small stage well. Those wearing guitars are a mixed group as they always have been. Bird is a sublime player and is the master of dead pan glares at the crowd although a smile at one point is quickly pointed out by Taylor to everyone’s amusement. Ward must surely be one the most expressive musicians on stage these days such are the expressions he employs in stark contrast to the dark brooding figure of Montgomery. As for McFetridge, I have no more enjoyable drummers to observe in my gigging diary such is his clear enjoyment at the live experience.


New track ‘Who We Are’ is a slower, more passionate track that is still driven by McFetridge’s drums that are as solid as ever regardless of the song being more laid back. Bird’s solo is a bluesy affair that is delivered with a beautiful feel - a talent he is being held in high regard for among those that know.


The song is followed by some touching words from Taylor about the band’s return to the spotlight. With timing Billy Connolly would have been proud of, a heckler in the Glasgow crowd shouted - “despite your haircut”. It appears that the frontman’s new clean-cut look has not gone un-noticed although I did observe that the heckler was sporting a middle-aged ‘baldy heid’ so perhaps there was some jealousy mixed with the playful banter?


With dry ice pouring onto the stage, the band weave through tracks old and new and the set flows well with re-worked older tracks like ‘Broken Son’ having obviously been overhauled. These songs sound bigger and the ending to this track, in material, has a massive ending that is pure drama and power. It is obvious to me at least, that the song has stepped on stage to make a point. That opinion is further proven by a post-show social media posted video from the band saying “The roar of the audience was just amazing for us to receive onstage & sums the night up for the doubters”.


Classic songs such as ‘Now You See Me’ receive the greatest audience response with Taylor proudly asking “What’s the song you know most by Mason Hill?”. This track will no doubt feature in all future shows such is its strength and its part in the bands DNA. As the song is played out, the band leave Taylor on stage for the encore. With house lights dimmed, he sings ‘No Regret’ with a backing tape that could perhaps have been performed by the band but the effect is never-the-less powerful.


The final song of the night as the curfew drew close was the wonderful ‘Where I Belong’. Taylor asked for the house and stage lights to be turned down and the crowd are urged to light up their phones to create a special feel in the room. The effect is sweet as Taylor is poorly lit but he appears to be closer to the fans and it is quite endearing to involve the whole room in the show.


As the final notes are struck, the band are genuinely overwhelmed at this point and the relief experienced by the earlier support act is felt again. The band have certainly made their point and firmly silenced the doubters.


Ladies and gentlemen - Mason Hill are back with fire in their belly. If you still doubt them, you weren’t at the show.


You can check the band out here:





The setlist was:

This Life



Who We Are

Wait For You

Out Of Reach

Hold On

Broken Son

Follow You

Now You See Me

No Regret

Where I Belong



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