Mason Hill @ The Garage, Glasgow Aug08

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Mason Hill @ The Garage, Glasgow

Mason Hill @ The Garage, Glasgow

So how do you actually gauge how a show went if you are a band? Well if any of the bands on this bill looked at social media this morning they must have got a serious idea. I woke up to post after post about Mason Hill, Anchor Lane and Deever, in fact I could probably save myself a couple of hours and just put on here everyones comments, such was the fervour and accolades for this show.

The surprise of the night for me was the reception Anchor Lane got as they took to the stage. Was this really the band I only discover last year, a support slot again in the much smaller Audio venue. Very few people had heard of the band back then but they left a lot of people with open mouths that night and so I have watched their journey from that day and tonight really felt like a milestone in their career.

Nothing seems to phase this bunch of youngsters, there is no fear and singer/guitarist Conor Gaffney looks as if he was born to be a front man. He smiles continuously throughout the show and he also knows how to work a crowd. One of the best compliments I saw on the numerous facebook posts was he is a young Chris Cornell, now that really is high praise indeed. Even the infamous Tom Russell heaped praise on the guys and he should know, he has been in this game long enough.

With a cheering crowd still in my ears the band dove straight into their homage to fallen rock stars with the number “Twenty Sixteen”. This is a main stay in the set these days and when you hear it you will know why.

The fan favourite “Hunters Heart” is up next and it gives the crowd a chance to sing along, something that continues as we go right into the song “Annie”. Just like the headliners Anchor Lane only have one EP out but you could never guess from how tight they are as a band, all of them in their early twenties and with so much talent it is scary. The bigger the gig, the better the set from them.

Each gig they just grow and improve and I see a hell of a lot of similarities between them and Mason Hill. The stage presence, the talent, the brilliant songs. You could say it is easy to play in front of a home crowd but you have to remember this is Mason Hill’s crowd but as they walked off that stage tonight you would never have known it. They owned the time given to them. With songs like the stunning ballad “Take Some Time” you will get lost, you will be singing along and you will be clapping and cheering as loud as the ardent Anchor Lane fan the moment they leave the stage. It is just what they do and with ease so just like that first time I saw them, tonight I am reminded of what they can do and am 100% behind my original thoughts that this band is going to make it out of Glasgow and break big.

If I had even one niggle of doubt it would have been sent packing with set closers “Cog In The Wheel” and “Finished For Twelve” which even got its own t-shirt tonight in the form of a rum and coke with a little slice of Lime.

All this band needs is a break, one support slot on a tour, one big festival show and the world is their oyster. Just like Mason Hill are doing right now so maybe, just maybe when the Mason Hill album is complete and the UK tour booked they might just take this band to the masses as I challenge any fan of Mason Hill to dislike this band on a stage. There is only one way for anchor lane and that is upwards.

Deever was always going to have a tough ask. Sandwiched between two Glasgow bands, their first ever show, nothing like making life difficult for yourself but kudos to the band for giving it their all. Very few of us would know any original songs which also does not make life easy, the only easy part about tonight was that pretty much everybody here knew Billy Taylor from his previous band Inglorious. This was another band when I saw them knew they were destined for big things so a lot of people may have wondered why leave all that but you can tell from Billy’s stage presence he does things his own way and he also has one cracking voice which did surprise me.

The band rode in on the crowds excitement that Anchor lane set and they kept up the tempo. They kicked off with the song “Fire At Will” which surely is an opening for objects to be hurled at the singer but no, we don’t know the songs well enough yet. They then proceeded to hit us with a barrage of solid modern rock tracks in “Not Back Down’, Alright” and “Monster”. This kept the crowd going but you could feel that lull when you are seeing a band that you do not know so the timing was perfect for the first cover and a homage to Chester Bennington in “ What Ive Done” and what a cover. They ripped this one apart and what a way to say goodbye to Chester.

We got another original song in “Waves” before hitting the covers again with a crunching rendition of “Rebel Yell” and that got the whole place singing along. All in all a good set in difficult circumstances. I reckon Deever are still trying to find themselves musically but tonight was a great way to start and I am very happy to say I was at their first gig. I look forward to seeing what this bunch can do in the future.

And now to Glasgows one and only Mason Hill. What can I possibly say about these guys that I have not said before? Plenty it seems. Tonight just felt like a party atmosphere, this gig has been a long time coming, we have known about it for some time and it really felt like a family get together. I think everyone I know through music was here tonight. All the same faces, all desperate to see this band they took to their hearts put on a hell of a show. I have no doubts there were a few here tonight who thought the previous headline gig at The cathouse was not going to be topped and I am also sure that every one of them left tonight thinking man they dusted that show with ease.

The crowd was delirious as the band took the stage, I have been to many gigs over the years and as I stood in the photo pit listening to the deafening roar behind me it could have been an arena show. I have witnessed the biggest bands in the largest venues and tonight the crowd gave every one a run for its money. Throughout the night when the fans sang if you closed your eyes you would have sworn you were listening to thousands of people. It took me back to the Glasgow Choir in the best venue ever in the Glasgow Apollo. A venue I earned my stripes as a fan in my teenage years and a place and time that I will never forget.

Tonight we are also introduced to two new members of Mason Hill, two seriously sexy and sultry bitches in the form of James and Marc’s guitars. I have taken it upon myself to name these beauties so say hello to Raquel and Elvira. Raquel is James deep red Les Paul and named after one of the all time sexiest women ever in Raquel Welch. Elvira on the other hand is dark and moody with that you can look but don’t touch. Marc you better look after this beauty!

For a band with one EP to pull in this crowd and to turn heads the way they did at Download this year tells you what type of future they have. They basically have two sold out hometown shows( tonights had to be upgraded to the big hall as it sold out over a month ago).

Anyone who knows me knows I have been shouting about this band for a long time now, I have seen them live so many times and each show just gets better to the point you wonder what the hell they can do to top it. I have covered the songs from the EP live so many times I could have run out of words but as always they are played to perfection. The crowd knows these songs inside out and I could swear Scott could leave the stage at times as everyone is singing the songs note for note.

Tonight we are treated to some new tracks and two of the best covers I have heard. The new songs fit in perfectly and give us a good idea of where this band is going. It is very much Mason Hill but they have taken the gigs, the experience and the hard work and used it to craft even better tracks. This album is shaping up to be one hell of a release.

On the covers front I was absolutely blown away. First of the night got me straight in the heart. “Simple Man” is one of my favourite tracks of all time. It is definitely in my top five and as morbid as it may be I picked out this song as my funeral song many years ago purely for the message held within those lyrics. If you are going to play this song when I am about you sure as hell better do a good job or you will hear about it but by god the boys just nailed it. What a rendition of a classic.

The next cover saw Billy Taylor take the stage again and join the boys for their homage to Chris Cornell with “ Cochise”, which is my favourite Audioslave track( are you guys digging through my brain for classics to play or what?). This also is not an easy song to play/sing but I have given up any doubts on what this band can do a long time ago. It was incredible.

The band finished up with “Where I Belong” of course and at this point I was in the balcony awaiting the confetti canon going off but I stood in awe as a band and its audience become one, the lyrics screamed back at the band with full force. It was a beautiful sight to watch that crowd and that band from the higher vantage point, at that point in time for all in attendance nothing else mattered, something that only music can do.

What an incredible night this was, a sheer pleasure to watch it unfold and to see a band in their prime kick Glasgows ass. I have only one question of Mason Hill and that is WHERE THE HELL IS THE ALBUM?

Images and review Ritchie Birnie

Mason Hill

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