Empyre, Hollowstar and Mason Hill in Brighton

So what can you do on a September Friday night in Brighton when you’ve got £12 in your pocket. The answer is blow the whole £12 on a ticket to see three of the countries best up and coming bands at Patterns. It’s ridiculous, only £12 to see the likes of Empyre, Hollowstar and Mason Hill, how is anyone making any money?

Brighton was the latest stop on the Mason Hill tour of the UK and they have certainly picked two great bands to go on the road with. The venue, Patterns, presented its own challenges in that it is really a late night club and there was a 10pm curfew for this gig to allow the club to re-open at 11pm. This resulted in shortened sets for at least the support bands. I use the word “support” glibly because both Empyre and Hollowstar are bands that can fill venues in their own right. So what did this evening offer.

Empyre were first up and delivered a short but very sweet set. As regular readers will know I have a very high opinion of the Empyre guys, both musically and as people, and that was not diminished here. It was a disappointment that there were only four numbers but the boys gave it their all for the early evening audience. As always Henrik’s vocals were chill down the spine worthy, Did’s guitar work was first class, Grant’s bass powerfully underpinned the songs and Elliot worked extremely hard on drums, especially during new song Parasites where he lived up to his pre-gig promise when we had a chat, and really sweated. This 4 song set featured My Bad, Stone and New Republic from the Self Aware album as well as the previously mentioned new song Parasites, a strong number which promises much for the next album if all new songs reach this standard. I think the thing I really like about their music is that it is atmospheric and you can lose yourself in it. All in all Empyre were a fantastic start to this three handed gig, whether you were a hardcore fan (like me) or new to their music. Nothing has changed my opinion that it won’t be long before these guys are arena fillers.

Hollowstar were a band I had seen a couple of years ago at the Giants of Rock in Minehead and although I had enjoyed them I was not really over familiar with their music….that has now changed! They put in a very energetic set that was drawn from their 2019 album simply entitled Hollowstar. The highlight of the set for me was the track Good Man Gone which was dedicated to guitarist Phil Haines dad who had recently passed away. His son’s guitar work was certainly something to be proud of. My major view was that this was a band that had matured significantly since I had first seen them. Whilst drawing on that classic seventies rock sound, which infuses music classed as NWOCR , they have added their own twist of originality to it which produces a hard hitting set, hard rocking set. I am certainly looking forward to seeing these guys again.

Mason Hill were a band that I had been looking forward to seeing. I have been playing their music on the radio for some time and recently had a zoom interview with vocalist Scott Taylor. As you would expect the major part of their set was taken from the best selling album Against The Wall. They did not disappoint. Throughout their 75 minute set they were full of energy and sharpness and were obviously pleased to have a small but extremely noisy and enthusiastic crowd. With Scott Taylor out front they belted out a hard rocking set which came to a close with the Best Of You and the extremely poignant Where I Belong. Would I see them again…..yes they were full of energy and swagger.

These three bands are on tour together around the country during September and October and if you get the chance I strongly urge you to drop in and see them. This is class rock’n’roll from all three bands and the future of rock music is safe in their hands. I’ll see you down the road guys.

Tony Davis
September 2021

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