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Hils Ovation

O2 Academy3 Birmingham 29th July 2017.

Tonight’s Hils Ovation event see’s me heading back to the O2 Academy3 in Birmingham, which has fast become a regular haunt for up and coming bands and this evenings line up is one that is most definitely one not to be missed!

Opening up tonight were ‘The Dalliance’ and I gotta say, it was pretty cool to see a couple of familiar faces up there on stage namely Jamie Downes and Harry Colley as these two guys absolutely rock and have a pretty cool pedigree when it comes down to delivering some great rock n roll. With this being the bands fourth gig, you could forgive any errors or nerves taking over but that was never going to be the case as these guys were under starters orders and served up a prime selection of great songs and a wealth of hearty vocals from start to finish. Get these guys on your radar and be sure to check them out live first chance you get.

Next up were WAVE and I’ve been looking forward to seeing these guys as not only does what I’d heard of their music sound good but after seeing their recent video about the show tonight, I’m also a fan of Gerty – as that Guinea Pig rocks! No Gerty tonight but with the might of Dave Musson (Guitar and Vocals) and Will Stokes (Drums) combined, WAVE certainly lacked for nothing and I especially liked the fact that Dave is the kind of performer who makes the most of the stage and the opportunity to get the audience involved. As far as trying to describe their sound goes, I heard the influence of rock, metal and a twist of punk that should definitely please a wide range of tastes. Highlight of their set tonight for me was a song about Stephen King, simply called ‘Stephen‘ which is definitely an unusual focus for any lyrics but undeniably worked. WAVE released their ‘Jurassic Parkour’ EP in June of this year and after giving it many a repeat play, I would highly recommend that you go treat yourself to a copy.

Our third band of the night were ‘Tear it Down’ – and that’s exactly what they did! Lavishing the O2 with an abundance of their classic rock and blues, these guys positively brought the room to life and the audience were certainly keen to show their praise and support for tonight’s set from the band.

Our fourth and penultimate band for tonight were ‘Treeherder’ and by name alone, they categorically conjure up a wealth of wonder as to what one might expect. Describing themselves as Alternative/Stoner, they unmistakably provoke the thought process and I have to say that I like that very much. Through both their lyrics and melody, this trio tell the stories held from within the social conscious of these guys and I felt that tonight’s set portrayed exactly what it is that make this band tick perfectly.

It hasn’t been that long since I saw ‘Unchanged’ here at the o2 Academy at another of Hils Ovation’s gigs and with the memory of that last set still firmly fixed in my mind, I was just a little bit chuffed to see them back here again but this time as tonight’s headlining band. Hailing from the West Midlands this four piece cut quite an impression this evening and not just with me, as their audience appeared to magically grow from out of thin air. As with their previous set, the voice of Adam Martin is quite captivating and with new material blossoming from the band, they are making giant steps in exactly the right direction. Tonight’s set included a new track titled ‘Slippin Away‘ which has nothing less than a mammoth sound in total and if this is the shape of things to come, then Unchanged look set to be very busy over the forthcoming months!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Hils Ovation

Tonight’s Hils Ovation gig has been a much anticipated one in my gigging calendar, as it is set to mark the release of ‘Torousnew album ‘Mindfield’ and getting this rather special night underway, were the Birmingham/Stourbridge based rock/prog band, Unchanged.

Having already been intrigued by the content of their biography over on the band’s Facebook page, there was clearly a lot more to Unchanged than that which you initially see on the surface. Describing themselves as a concept seems to have opened wide the flood gates for the many musical influences they collectively hold and these varying genres just flow like a raging river through their songs. The bands skill on stage was equally as intriguing and I for one, was definitely left wanting more!

Adam Martin - Unchanged

Our second band of the night were Cause To Effect and over the past few years, these guys have steadily earned themselves a much respected reputation and quite rightly so, as these guys always deliver the kind of hard rockin sound that never fails to leave a great lasting impression. Whilst tonight’s set felt like quite a short one, it still hit the spot and with the band just about ready to play their headlining show over at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on 20th May, which is also the official launch for the new albumCircumstantial Creatures’, then there’s not too long to wait for some more Cause To Effect!

Ged Green - Cause To Effect

One of the great things that I always love about a Hils Ovation night, is that it gives me the chance to discover some of the great up and coming bands from across the region and our next band of the night, Signs Of Fire, most definitely fall into that specific category! If you could bottle the on stage energy and presence of this band, then you’d never have a bad day again as the vibe that they deliver on stage, is really quite something. With the band currently in the process of recording some new material, I can’t wait to hear the finished product, so I will be keeping my ears and eyes open for more updates on that and wholeheartedly recommend that you do too!

Tommy Smith and Liam Dyer - Signs Of Fire

There is nothing quite like an intriguing band name to get me curious and when presented with a name such as Bad Llama – I’m hooked straight away! Hailing from the Burton In Trent area, Bad Llama have set about creating an all consuming alternative rock sound that carries its own individual stamp which is very easy to get engrossed in. Bad Llama are set to return to the studio shortly to record their second EP, so keep your eyes and ears open for more news from them on that too.

Kyle Jordan - Bad Llama

When our headlining band first came on the scene back in 2014, there was something about them that had me hooked from the very first encounter. For a band such as Torous, there is no limit to the heart, soul and depth that they capture within their music and with each new track that they pen, they always succeed in creating something quite spell binding. Recent months have seen the band busy writing and spending time in the studio with the final outcome being the glittering prize and rather spectacular debut album, ‘Mindfield’, whose launch was now upon us.

Marc Malone - Torous

Torous’s headlining set was very much welcomed by the O2 Academy3 audience and it was apparent from the get go, that ‘Mindfield’ makes for as much of an invigorating live experience as the recorded material does, when it comes pouring out of your home speakers. The set included the album pretty much in its entirety with only a few tracks omitted and Torous more than did it justice – this album will most definitely be a big smash with fans old and new.

Tonight’s set list from Torous consisted of: 1.Sideline (intro track) 2.Frontline 3.I Am 4.Colours 5.Close My Eye 6.Seven 7.Nine 8.Mindfield 9.God Game Suicide 10.Shadow Self

Tonight’s event was the kind of gig that lights up the path for the future of these five great bands and it’s gonna be one that I shall certainly class as a highlight of 2017. Big thanks have to go out aswell to Hils for making it happen and also to the sound engineer for giving us A+ sound and lighting tonight.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.