Hollowstar - Summer 2019

Joe Bonson

How many times when attended a gig have you pulled up in the local supermarket car park, only to find yourself parking next to the band as they are picking up their final stage gear. Having started the night with an impromptu meet and greet with Joe Bonson, Phil Haines and Jack Bonson from HOLLOWSTAR, it was clear that the night was going to be just a little bit special at The Iron Road in Pershore.

 

HOLLOWSTAR are out on the road promoting their recently released, and I have to say most excellent, self-titled debut album. Speaking to bassist and lead vocalist Joe Bonson in front of our parked cars he explained "this tour so far has been unbelievable and exceeded our expectations. We are building a solid fan base and it is great to see the fans faces enjoying themselves during the gigs. The response to the debut album has been mindblowing and we feel very proud of the results". When asked if he had a favourite date on the tour so far he replied "Oh now that is an impossible question as they have all been great in their own way. Manchester the other night was so hot with a full house and steamy atmosphere,but we have enjoyed every gig so far. We are looking forward to playing The Iron Road tonight then we are off to our home town Cambridge which is going to be pretty special, before we finish off the tour up in Edinburgh which I am sure will see us sink a whisky or two".

Phil Haines

The guys then headed off to the venue to get ready for the tonight’s performance. Upon walking up to the main door of the venue, we bumped into the fourth and final member of the band, guitarist Tom Collet. It was great to see him outside in a totally relaxed mood, sharing a drink and a chat with some die hard HOLLOWSTAR fans, some of which have been following the band for some time and have been to more than one of the gigs on this tour. This clearly shows how down to earth the four band members are and how important it is to them to spend some quality time with their fans at every opportunity.  Tom talked about the new album and how they wanted to do something a little heavier and have a much grittier sound to their music. He believes there will be even heavier sounds to come and they are already exploring how they can evolve their sound on the all important follow up 2nd album. 

 

Once inside The Iron Road it became apparent that tonight was going to be hot and sticky, so it is no surprise that they call this month flaming June.  The eager crowd were treated to not one, but three support bands in FALSE HEARTS, TRIDENT WATERS and the amazing FLORENCE BLACK. This was going to be a late night as HOLLOWSTAR took to the stage as the clock struck 10. The room was packed, and no one was going home without seeing the star act blast its way through the 15 songs they had picked, which would see them play all 10 tracks from the new debut album. It was their special night and no one was going to stop this amazing four piece showcase their new material.

Blasting their way straight in TAKE IT ALL you could see HOLLOWSTAR meant business from the very start and despite the hot atmosphere they were here to perform at their very best. Then came another belting song from the new album in DOWN BY THE WATER before moving on to two classic songs from their first EP in LAY DOWN and GUILTY. The room was bouncing by now as each song was greeted with huge cheers from the crowd, whilst the band were dripping in sweat. they plied their trade exceptionally well with precise precision and boy did they look like they were enjoying every minute.

 

Then came four brilliant new tracks from the new album,showcasing the new heavier sound, starting with INVINCIBLE before moving on to THINK OF ME and the one track they thought would not make the album in MONEY and finishing with the foot stomping LET YOU DOWN. Through out the set Phil and Tom traded guitar riffs like two gladiators competing for the right to live. Joe’s vocals also exposed a harder edge to the norm whilst he laid down some excellent punchy bass licks. This was backed up by some excellent hard drumming from Jack behind the three front men, who was doing his best to get noticed and it was working. During the set Joe made a reference to how he was told by his former boss to get his hair cut and give up the band as it was going nowhere. He did neither and a friend Chris Jackson stepped in to pay Joe to work for him whilst the band established itself. Without Chris’s support the band may never have survived and for that Joe is eternally grateful, hence the dedication found inside the new album cover.

Tom Collet

Back to two old faithful songs in NEW AGE LULLABY andFEEL THE BURN before the band moved on to the only song in the set that was not penned by HOLLOWSTAR themselves,


WISHING WELL by Free. This classic song went down a storm as the guys put their own unique style into the mix and boy did it work well.  OVERRATED may be a new track but it is far from as the title suggests. Its melodic sound bounced along beautifully before the band turned to the next track in SINNER with its references to "the devil loves high heels" and "I’d rather be a sinner, it’s more fun than being a saint". 

 

Next came a very moving moment where Joe once again turned to a lasting memory of his past, as he remembered an old but very close school friend in Carl Malik. During their school days the pair had bunked various lessons and got into various stages of mischief, whilst having enormous fun in doing so. Sadly, Carl’s life was cut short at such a young age and Joe dedicated the song GOOD MAN GONE to his lost but not forgotten friend. Everyone in the building gave the biggest and loudest round of applause with huge cheers going out and there was hardly a dry eye in the house. This led to the final song of the night in ALL I GOTTA SAY. By now it was gone midnightand everyone had been treated to the most amazing of nights. Four great bands playing over 4 hours of brilliant rock music and HOLLOWSTAR stamping their authority in the new wave of classic rock bands that are now on the circuit. If you have not heard the album, then go out and buy it now as you won’t be disappointed. If you have not seen HOLLOWSTAR live then do so quickly as these guys are rising through the ranks at a rapid rate and show a determination to succeed. 2019 is going to be their year. Add to this some fantastic tunes and four guys who are so down to earth, then I am sure they will be around for a long time to come. Just remember where you have seen them as it won’t be long before they are playing big arenas.


Find out more at https://hollowstar.uk/.


Words & photos - Martin Woodbridge