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Hils Ovation

O2 Academy3 Birmingham 28th January 2017.

Oktopus with support from Netherhall, Brocken Spectre and Sonata Fall. It seems like January 2017 has been an exceptionally long month, so to say I’m just a little bit happy to be heading off to the first Hils Ovation gig of the year, is most definitely an understatement!

And what a little gem tonight’s gig looks set to be as it’s line up offers an intriguing mix of bands both known and previously unknown to me and that definitely warrants a big thumbs up in my book.

Getting tonight underway were Sonata Fall and it quickly became apparent that tonight’s set was to hold great meaning, with this being Simon Tranter’s last gig with the band. Ramped with a profusion of intense guitar licks combined with the rich vocals of Justin Reeves, tonight’s set hit gold for the band and albeit an emotive end to this particular chapter in their career, it delivered one hell of a great promise for the next one!

Simon Tranter - Sonata Fall

Our next set of the night was from the Hereford based band Brocken Spectre and hand on heart, these guys stand in a league of their own! For any band whose music is progressive and purely instrumental, there is a need for that music to completely set the scene and the aura of Brocken Spectre was nothing short of mesmerising! Individually, the level of ability possessed by Phil Rochard (Guitar), Jordan Payne (Drums) and Duncan Edwards (Bass) warrants the title of virtuoso and when collectively delivered in a setting such as this, the best description I can give is to say that this was one of the most awesome live master classes I’ve ever seen.

Duncan Edwards - Brocken Spectre

It has been way too long since I last saw the fantastic band Netherhall, and after watching their set tonight and reflecting back upon that last previous performance, as good as they had been then, their evident evolution over the past twelve months is nothing short of spectacular. The guitar work of Tom Bushell has always been charismatic in both its delivery and content and with Tom positioned pretty much centre stage tonight, I felt that this really brought to the forefront, the immense passion and intelligence that lies within Netherhall’s sound. Netherhall will be back in Birmingham again on the 19th Feb at The Hammer & The Anvil, so give yourself a treat and get yourself along there to see them.

Tom Bushell - Netherhall

Our headliners for tonight were the Birmingham based band Oktopus, who’ve been playing together since 2014 and comprise of Alistair Bell (Vocals/Guitar), Tim Wilson (Drums/Vocals) and Sam Roberts (Bass).

Sam Roberts - Oktopus

Given that I’ve not seen Oktopus play live before and had only heard snippets of their songs, I don’t think I was fully prepared for the experience of their set tonight – and what a truly amazing set it was! The style and progressive sound that Oktopus deliver is fresh, vibrant and through the sheer excellence of the bands ability, they breath the kind of life into their songs that you don’t tend to come across that often.

Alistair Bell - Oktopus

Highlight of their set for me, was the performance of ‘Worlds Apart’ which also happens to be the title of their debut album aswell.

Tonight’s gig certainly blew away those January cobwebs and left me heading for home, one very happy gal indeed!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.