Attica Rage/Mason Hill/Titan Breed – ABC2, Glasgow, 28-10-2016
No confusion at all with who was going to what gig at the ABC on another busy night for the venue. Hipsters, dressed up to the nines, turned left for Birdy, who was playing upstairs… hairy, sweaty buggers turned right, for a night of Metal, forged north of the border, capped by Attica Rage. A clash of lifestyles came together later on though, as smokers from both gigs huddled together outside the venue, like lepers waiting to be shipped out to a remote island.
Opening the evening up were Titan Breed, a local five-piece, that offered up an all-out assault on the senses, in the same vein as Machine Head or Pantera. Don’t worry if you missed the name, as well-oiled vocalist, Johnny Hollis, reminded us at every chance, “We are Titan Fucking Breed”, sometimes changing it to “Fucking Titan Breed”. Not short of confidence, Hollis stalked the stage like a maniac, with a microphone as his weapon of choice. He clearly enjoyed his evening, and encouraged punters at the front into starting a pit, saying that if they did, then he’d get in amongst them. What followed was a bizarre scene, as two guys circled each other, like stags during rutting season, before they came together in a sumo-like clash. Hollis was good to his word, and he was over the barrier, joining in. Musically, Titan Breed opt for the dual vocal approach, Hollis brought the low growls, while guitarist Pete McCoy excelled with his clean vocals. The vast majority of the crowd witnessed Titan Breed for the first time, and their excellent set ended to nods of approval from the grizzled, older metalheads in the audience.
Mason Hill are an entirely different proposition… melody-driven hard rock, with big, soaring guitar riffs, and massive hooks. Young bands need to have an air of confidence, especially when they play a brand of rock that has “classic” stamped all over it. Mason Hill know that they have got something going. Not so much bubbling under, more like boiling over. Image and confidence will only get you so far, if you don’t have the songs to back it up. Thankfully, Mason Hill have some bangers in their arsenal. “Survive”, “Your Memory”, “Now You See Me”, and “Where I Belong” make up the debut EP, as well as forming the foundations of the live set. It’s nothing fancy, and it’s not reinventing the wheel, but when it’s played with such passion and precision, does the wheel actually need reinventing? The band were über-tight, and although it’s normally the frontman or guitarist that takes the plaudits, the workrate of drummer Craig McFetridge should not go unnoticed as he was simply mesmeric to watch. Mason Hill make their debut headlining Glasgow gig in March 2017, with none other than Massive Wagons supporting. Tickets are available now…what are you waiting for?
After a tour of UK and Ireland, tonight was an opportunity for Attica Rage to return home, play a gig, check in with friends and family, and most importantly… get some washing done! Attica Rage are on a roll after headlining the Jagermeister stage at this years Bloodstock festival. Sandwiched in between Anthrax and Slayer on the main stage, it was just reward for thirteen years of hard graft and toiling up and down the UK’s motorways. Proof indeed of what hard work can bring. Jonny Parr wasted no time breaking in the crowd, as he led the band into the opening track from this year’s ‘Warheads Ltd’ album, ‘Beyond The 45’. Based around the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum, it’s an infectious uptempo rocker, where the twin guitars, at times, remind me of Thin Lizzy, a slight celtic tinge that got the crowd bouncing. ‘Warheads Ltd’ is a damn fine varied album. ‘Falling Down’ and the title track are catchy and melodic, with some great grooves that explode into life on the live stage, whereas ‘El Chupacabra’ goes for the jugular with some frantic riffing. Live, the riffs were so much heavier, as Parr and his compadre on the the guitar, Stevie Bell, indulged in some impressive headbanging. Mixed in with the new stuff was a healthy dose of the “classics”. ‘Killer Carousel’, ‘Beyond Forever’, and ‘Dark City’ were all welcomed back by the vociferous crowd, as was ‘Ashamed’, which proved, once again, that hairy rock bands can slow it down without losing any power. In front of a home crowd, packed out with family members, Attica Rage were clearly having a blast on stage. Lots of good-natured banter and beaming smiles. Bassist, Matthew Ward pulled a double shift, as he also treads the boards with Mason Hill. Youngsters have stamina, so he pulled it off with aplomb, but hopefully he got to put his feet up after….
Attica Rage are a heavy band that can play a variety of styles, it’s all just rock n’ roll really, so the band paid tribute to the ultimate rocker by cranking out ‘Overkill’. Drummer, Richie Rage, went into overdrive, in what is surely the best drum song ever. If your arms are not hanging off by the end of playing ‘Overkill’ then you’re either superhuman, or not playing it correctly. A fitting tribute, not only to Lemmy, but also to Phil Taylor, two sadly missed icons. With the early curfew looming, it was soon time for Attica Rage to take the rapturous applause from the crowd, and hit the bar for a party that is probably still going on! After a short break to catch up on their TV planners, the band hit the road for three dates down south. Go check them out..
Review: Dave Stott
Images: Dave Jamieson