Mason Hill/ Massive Wagons @ The Cathouse, Glasgow
Mason Hill/ Massive Wagons @ The Cathouse, Glasgow
Welcome to the big time Mason Hill. A hometown headline show that sold out over a month ago. The Cathouse is steeped in rock and metal history in this town. Last year it celebrated its 25th Anniversary and tonight Mason Hill wrote themselves into this legends history books themselves. I have seen all number of bands in this and the previous Cathouse’s venue, large and small and you just need to look at the band names on the steps as you enter to know that some of the biggest bands on the planet at one stage in their career have played this place. Two of those bands in Anthrax and Black Stone Cherry are the only bands in recent history who have also sold out a show here. This tells you a story of exactly where this band are heading.
Tonight was not just about one band though, oh no, if you have ever seen tonights support Massive Wagons you know you are in for one hell of a show and by god tonight was no exception. Both bands are great friends after agreeing a gig swap with Mason Hill supporting Wagons and tonight we saw the return event. This would have been a double header that exploded in both cities and hence, you have what is probably one of the best live bands on the circuit coming to Glasgow to put in a support slot and lay down such an amazing set very few bands could have topped.
It is hard to tie down why this band is so mesmerising live, yes the songs are brilliant but the band is a low down, dirty son of a bitch live. They come at you from the off with Baz strutting around that stage in his Hatin For Satan cut off vest, Alex Thistlethwaite trying to deafen everyone in the vicinity with his drumming, Bowz on bass and Johhny Cash T-Shirt and Carl and Adam cutting your throats(for beer money) with their guitar work.
There is no finesse, there is dodgy dancing there are 80s high kicks and lots and lots of middle fingers but fuck me this is entertainment in its purest form. Throw in songs like “Tokyo”, “ Fee Fi Fo Fum” and pretty much everyone’s favourite “Ratio” and you know you have a fun time band. These are guys from your local, they will buy you a pint and take the piss out of you…this is their appeal. I have no idea why this band are not playing the biggest halls and getting the strangest riders(chocolate rich tea?).
In a set crammed with highlights mine was probably an unusual one in “ The Day we Fell”, my favourite from the brilliant “ Welcome To The World” , a song I had not seen live due to seeing them either support or at festivals. This song for me is up there with the best rock songs on the planet.
The boys were on fire tonight and just reiterated how good they are under stage lights. I challenge anyone to go to one of their shows and not come out rocked the hell out. If these guys don’t headline massive venues I will give up this reviewing malarky.
Tonight has been marked in a lot of peoples diary for some time. When this show was announced last year I already had a lot of gigs lined up for 2017 but this automatically went to the top of my list. People had travelled far and wide for this show, from down south, way up North to what also felt like half of Glasgow. The venue was packed and even the struggle to get to the bar was not enough to dent my feeling of happiness that the night was finally upon us and Mason Hill’s headline show was here.
As the lights dimmed and Velvet Revolver’s Slither pulses through the PA the crowd start cheering and the band takes the stage with smiles wrapped around their faces…smiles that stayed there the whole night.
From the moment I first saw this band I knew they were something special. Rock and Metal has been my driving force for over 35 years and that feeling doesn’t come around very often. Yes, you can say a band is good, they can put on a good live show but to be knocked back in an instant and know without a doubt you are listening to the future of rock is a completely different experience. To give you a little inkling into one of the times this happened to me previously I saw this rough band of Londoners in Aberdeen University, it was February 1980, it was a tour of NWOBHM bands and it was Iron Maiden.
After shouting about these guys, buying their only CD five times and giving them away just so people would listen to them it was time for the band to live up to the hype and I do have to admit to a few jitters but the moment those boys plugged in and started playing it was game over, the nerves were gone and every little hair on the back of my neck was standing on end.
What followed was a lesson in how to blow away a crowd, how to fill a full headline set when you only have one EP out and how to enjoy yourself as you do it. We got old, we got new and some covers. All mixed together with electric and acoustic guitars to showcase just how fantastically talented this band is.
The covers always go down well and the boys now have “Mississippi Queen” and “In The Air Tonight” as tight as a beavers back entrance but the third and unheard of cover played was something special. With a guest appearance from the one and only Chris Glen, the bands rendition of The Sensational Alex Harvey’s “Midnight Moses” was just sublime, especially for those of us old enough to know it and had seen the man play it originally.
The new songs slotted into the set with ease and showcased the brilliance of Scott Taylor’s beautifully haunting vocals and James bird’s guitar work. The rest of the band are no slouches either, We could hardly see Craig McFetridge at the back of the stage but my god could you hear him. I was at the front and those pummelling beats tore at my chest. Matthew ward was all over the stage with his mop of curly hair and endless face contortions. This leaves the one and only sexy mutherfucker Marc Montgomery…need I say anymore?
As if this was not enough the best was left for last as we saw an emotional Scott introduce “ Where I Belong”, asking for the crowd to join in(as if he had too) and boy did we join in. I will never forget that look on each band members face as the Glasgow Choir gave it everything they had…and why not? This song is what a ballad is all about and I challenge you to troll through years of 1980s MTV footage to find anything better. I have no doubt this song is many a couples “our song”, I am sure there has been many a passionate moment with this in the background and it makes me think how many little kids called Mason there will be in the future.
The band lived up to every expectation and more, once again they blew me away, they grabbed their very first headline show with both hands and in style. They ripped the Cathouse apart and every one of us there will be saying “I was There that night” as we stand in the stalls waiting for them to stroll out onto the stage of the Hydro. Mason Hill are a Rock’N’Roll train with no brakes so climb aboard while you can and enjoy the journey.
Images and Review Ritchie Birnie