Inglorious + Mason Hill
Friday 19th May 2017
Islington Assembly Hall, London
The end of a sad week found yours truly at the fabulous Assembly Halls in Islington to see some young old Rock. A sad week as we come to terms with the untimely loss of Chris Cornell - singer, songwriter and inspiration to a whole generation of younger musicians. Young old Rock because those young musicians inspired by the Seattle frontman are now producing some great old style Rock. Something we should be eternally grateful for. In these days of industry produced music for the masses it’s great to see young musicians doing it for real. None of this lot would be seen dead on a TV music competition……
Opening the evening’s entertainment are Glaswegians Mason Hill, a quintet of youngsters who have made their way through a European battle of the bands competition, ‘Surface Festival’, winning the Scottish section beating 12,000 other bands. Entering the stage alone, to launch the opening track 'Broken Son', is lead singer Scott Taylor giving us no doubt that we are in for a good night. Immediate thoughts of a Highlander reference had to be dismissed on purely geographical grounds. Following on are twin guitarists James Bird and Marc Montgomery dealing out the riffs with a fine Les Paul/PRS combo. And providing the steady rhythm are bassist Matthew Ward and drummer Craig McFetridge. Following straight into 'Your Memory', you can see these guys were born 40 years too late. If they were around in the seventies they would be filling arenas today. Think Alter Bridge meets UFO. And then has a love child with Black Stone Cherry. As a nod to that era, they performed an excellent cover of Mountain’s 'Mississippi Queen', with a fine solo from JB before lowering the tempo with 'Out of Reach'. Definite Alter Bridge tones there. 'Survive' has a more modern feel to it with a head down Rock feel rather than a shredding frenzy. And 'No Regret' has an almost Stoner feel to it. And then their debut single from 2 years ago 'Now You See Me'. In a display of heartfelt emotion, and an indication of their younger influences, Taylor dedicates the closing song 'Where I Belong' to Chris Cornell. Starting with just guitar and vocals this track grows into a full Rock ballad. Another tasteful solo, showing that minimalist is often best in a song like this. Well received by the crowd, many of whom are here specifically to see them, Mason Hill warm the heart. And the stage.
Out Of Reach
Now You See Me
Where I Belong
Headline act for the night are the Planet Rock championed Inglorious. PR’s Wyatt Wendell took to the stage to introduce the five piece outfit, reminding us of the meteoric rise they have had. Formed In 2014, the band immediately drew a lot of attention, as well as high praise, from such luminaries as Brian May and current producer Kevin Shirley. Frontman Nathan James is a man mountain of a guy, with looks like Thor from The Avengers (minus the big hammer) and a voice to match. Powerful - a word often used but totally appropriate for Mr J. He’s a cross between Meatloaf, David Coverdale and DLR (Dave Lee Roth? Danny La Rue?). He clearly has that X-factor… Bassist, and He-Man lookalike (by the power of Fender!) Colin Parkinson takes front of stage with James and contributes to vocals on a couple of numbers. Between the two of them they could take on most of the WWF community and sing them out of the ring. I wouldn’t argue with them.
Twin guitar chops are provided by white Les Paul wielding Andreas Eriksson and black Strat wearing Drew Lowe. To be fair to Lowe, he wields his Strat as well but gets little opportunity to shine when alongside the notable Mr E. but when he does, he’s very good. Bringing up the rear physically, but in no way musically, is drummer Phil Beaver. There’s something of the pretty boy look to the band that might explain why there are so many adoring ladies in the audience. But they still have that hard edge – something for everyone. As a look, there are huge hints of 80’s hair metal flamboyance about the band – hats and clothes reminiscent of the mullet era, and what are those comb-over epaulettes on Mr James jacket? But there are all the good things of the 70’s and 80’s about the band too – great songs, musicianship and a showmanship that is genuine, not produced. This is a band clearly influenced by bands like Whitesnake, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin but with nuances reflecting the diversity of their background that makes the music their own. Tonight is their night to show what they can do, promoting their latest album, the imaginatively entitled 'Inglorious 2'. I wonder what the next album will be called? Mind you, that didn’t do Led Zeppelin any harm did it? Can’t wait to see how well 'Inglorious 4' will be received. 'Inglorious 2' was made to be a traditional sounding Rock album where the musicians all performed and recorded together in the same room. No click tracks, autotune or overdubs. Just raw talent and tight playing.
Entering the stage to the rather unusual choice of entry music that is the Grandstand theme tune, their opening track of the night, 'Read All About It', is the first of many from the new album. It’s a showcase of the Hard Rocking song that could be their calling card. Radio friendly Rock it is (one of the Planet Rock playlist regulars) but never bland, this will get you dancing or rocking in equal measures. As Nathan demonstrates for the crowds delight. He’s got some moves up there. 'Breakaway' has a classic 80’s Metal feel to it, including obligatory wah pedal noodling, that Graham Bonnet might want to sing along to whilst 'High Flying Gypsy' slows to a glorious chug. It has that epic, dramatic feel to it. 'Black Magic' is another new track, that I wasn’t overly impressed with, but was generally well received. 'Making Me Pay' has a slow Blues groove feel to it that is very Whitesnake as is 'Change Is Coming', although with a more prominence of keyboards. Another great feeling solo from Eriksson too. 'Hell Or High Water' is another track from the new album that will become a mainstay of the set for years to come (hopefully). A fast Rock with a singalong chorus, it gets the blood pumping. Not sure if Inglorious are a moshing band but this song comes close. The drummer and bassist solo intro on 'Warning' is somewhat different. The song is sex, drums and Rock and Roll, a slow twin guitar chug into fast Rock with screaming vocals. On to the self titled 'Inglorious' with it’s ‘end of the world’ intro riff and dual vocals with bassist Colin Parkinson. It felt like an epically long song that seemed to be much loved by the ladies…
The mood of the set changed dramatically as James took the opportunity to voice his own Chris Cornell tribute. With just Drew on acoustic guitar, he launched into a wonderful rendition of Soundgarden’s 'Black Hole Sun'. Prompting a heartfelt crowd sing along, it was very poignant. Probably the stand out moment of the night. Continuing the acoustic break was a cover of Deep Purples 'Burn' - another clear influence on the band. It was a great interpretation, slow but melodic, James strong voice accompanied by Andreas on acoustic lead, Drew on acoustic rhythm and Parkinson on acoustic bass. Back to electric with some punch in the face Rock, 'Taking The Blame'. I think they should. Following a well received announcement of an October tour Electric Ballroom, they finished off the set with the popular 'Girl Got A Gun' and 'High Class Woman'. The obligatory encore saw another new track, 'I Don’t Need Your Loving', aired – another Whitesnake sounding Bluesy Rock track. Followed by Andreas dreamy Bluesy solo leading into what is arguably Inglorious most well know song, 'Holy Water'. Finishing with 'Until I Die', they went out with a bang. And at their request, we made some fffing noise. Inglorious are one of those lucky bands that have the talent, but also have the support of the likes of Planet Rock too. It’s tough for bands to make a name for themselves out there these days, despite the flourishing live music scene. But Inglorious have jumped on the jet propelled roller coaster and are heading for the heavens, like the flying god of thunder himself. It’s where their destiny lies. They are masters of their universe.
Read All About It
High Flying Gypsy
Making Me Pay
Change Is Coming
Hell or High Water
Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover) (acoustic, tribute to Chris Cornell)
Burn (Deep Purple cover) (acoustic)
Taking the Blame
Girl Got a Gun
High Class Woman
I Don't Need Your Loving
Until I Die