Review & Photography by Paul McGowan for MPM
It’s a beautiful April evening in Manchester and the 02 Academy is hosting, what can arguably be said, are three of the hottest up and coming bands on the rock scene.
The large queue of fans into the building is a delight to see, after the horrors of the last couple of years, and the associated chatter is all of excitement for what is about to take place.
After a delay in being issued my pass, I join the throng of fans on the staircase and are still being checked in as opening band The Fallen State hit the stage.
This five-piece outfit certainly know their craft and have the crowd on the boil from the first notes. Mighty riffs and solid solo’s from both Jon Price and Dan Oke on guitars are backed by the solid thumping undercurrent of drums and 5 sting bass from Greg Butler and Rich Walker. The whole package is topped off with the powerful vocals of front man Adam Methven
The band barely pause for breath which fully allowed them to maximise their opening slot time. The choruses of many songs were noticeably being sung back at the band, by the enthused crowd.
With just the one minor snag of a broken bass guitar strap (sorry Greg) the band made a solid impact and they clearly made new fans. With continued performances, like this one, The Fallen State will be chasing established bands up the pecking order soon enough.
Second up are Scottish powerhouse Mason Hill. The intro starts and as they walk onto the stage the crowd simply erupts into applause, chants of appreciation and they’ve not even hit a note!!
Mason Hill are going places and have graciously stepped into the void, left by Phil X & The Drills being unable to undertake the tour.
The band tear into an eight-song set, opening with the superb Hold On and there are no fillers here tonight. Regulars – DNA, Find My Way and Out Of Reach follow and it is not until enigmatic frontman Scott Taylor pauses to introduce the bands new song ‘Freaking Out’ the crowd get to catch a breather.
The band are, as expected, tight and appear well rehearsed. The solid thumping back beat of Craig McFetridge on Drums is ably accompanied by the extremely capable and animated Matthew Ward on Bass.
Marc Montgomery and James Bird continually trade epic riff after riff with James providing some of the most sublime sounding solo’s I have heard in a good while. The circle is completed with the no fuss, heart on his sleeve frontman Scott Taylor, on vocals.
The final song of their set, Against The Wall, was introduced by Scott and dedicated to his Mum who sadly passed away, only a few days ago.
The emotion in the room was palpable as the band started the song to rapturous and supportive applause and Scott expectedly moved by it all. By the end of the song, the crowd were almost as loud as the band, with Scott managing to raise that fist into the air for the last time of the night.
If you have yet to hear Mason Hill live, you can now catch them on their superb new live album ‘Live In Galsgow’ released 22/4/2022, though I would personally implore you to simply hunt them out at a venue and watch them in the flesh.
Third and finally the headliners, Stone Broken, hit the stage. The second band of the night to have a new album released that day, being the highly acclaimed ‘Revelation’, the crowd are almost at a frenzy for new music.
Stone Broken have risen over the last few years to become one of the potential greats of the future. ‘Revelation’ builds on the solid foundations of both ‘All In Time’ and ‘Ain’t Always Easy’ and now gives the band a whole additional arsenal of songs to deliver live.
Deliver they do and by the bucketload it comes at you. The album is barely 24hrs old and they open with the magnificent song of the album title ‘Revelation’, tear through ‘Stay All Night’ , ‘Doesn’t Matter’ , and ‘Heartbeat Away’ before coming up for breath.
The band are, metaphorically, on fire tonight and have the crowd eating from the palm of their hand throughout their set.
The band are only a four piece yet deliver a sound akin to having additional members, that other bands simply can’t or chase to create.
Drummer Robyn Haycock is an absolute master and machine behind the drums. The relentless solid beat, created with an almost aloof flair, is simply sublime in delivery and consistency.
The bass of Kieron Conroy is also ably solid in style, delivery and cleverly aligned to Robyn.
Rich Moss delivers a superb vocal to the band along with some seriously meaty riffs, helping the cohesive element of the music work, which is all topped off with the searing lead guitar and showmanship of Chris Davis.
The band continue with their musical onslaught with ‘Black Sunrise’, ‘Let Me See It All’ and ‘This Revival’ that are all greeted and seen out with rapturous applause and vocal appreciation from the crowd.
The band then have a brief jam on stage, whilst Rich throws numerous items of band merch into the eager crowd, before kickstarting full on into ‘Better’ and ‘Let Me Go’.
The sound is absolute quality, as it has been for all three bands tonight, with some additional lighting for Stone Broken to uplift on the stock LED’s of the 02 system. The band continue charging and complete ‘The Devil You Know’ and are well into ‘Worth Fighting For’ before someone notices an issue in the crowd.
The band finish the song and stop, what starts as an appeal for water soon develops and it becomes clear there is a medical emergency in the crowd.
The band are dignified, caring and show a genuine concern for the individual in question. This is nobody’s fault; it has happened before and will happen again at gigs.
After roughly 15 minutes the decision is made to cancel the rest of the gig, which whilst frustrating for some, is the right thing to do and thankfully with just the last two songs of this epic set missed.Stone Broken are quite rightly going places.
The new album builds perfectly on its predecessors and the band are simply superb live on stage. There are many dates on this tour, yet to go, so if you can see them live, then I would heartily recommend you do so. The Broken Army will rise.