Local heroes Stone Broken
The West Midlands and Heavy Metal are intrinsically linked, the genre finding its deepest roots in the region. From the progenitor bands like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest (who crafted the artistic and iconic hallmarks of the entire genre) through to innovators like Napalm Death, who forced the entire Metal genre to refine its edge to bigger, badder and (above all) heavier, the genre has long thrived in the city.
It might have been a couple of decades since Birmingham last produced a world-beating Metal band, but for metalheads living and attending gigs in the city the scene couldn’t thrive any harder. This is in no small part thanks to the efforts of local independent promoters who book and help foster local talent right from the get-go. Promoters like Hilary Plimmer, of Hils Ovation. To celebrate the start of the New Year, In The City Magazine contacted Hilary to get her views on the year that was, and the year that lies ahead…
Hilary Plimmer (Hils’ Ovation)
Hil’s Ovation’s 2016 in a nutshell:
“There have been so many highlights in 2016! I think for me, I’m proud of the fact that the West Midlands – especially Birmingham – has been bucking negative live-music trends, with more and more people coming back to support local bands. We all know it’s been a difficult few years for live music. So many venues around the country have disappeared and so many bands have thrown in the towel too, but numbers last year have continued to grow. Not just my shows either; Birmingham as a whole seems to be buzzing again which is fantastic! “
The high points of 2016:
“That’s a really difficult one to answer. It’s so hard to pick just one… In fact, the more I think about it, it’s impossible! But, one that really stood out has to be when Stone Broken played the Academy back in July. The show sold out Academy 3 within a few weeks, so had to be upgraded to Academy 2 and the night itself will be one that will stay with me for a very long time. The atmosphere in that room was electric. Not just for Stone Broken, but for supports Sonata Fall, Cower Hounds and Theia too. Standing in the wings, watching hundreds of dedicated fans singing lyrics back to Stone Broken was amazing and quite emotional, even for me! It’s great to see a West Midlands band finally get the recognition they deserve and I’m sure 2017 will see Stone Broken continue to grow and achieve great things and that’s good for ALL local bands. It helps give them the incentive they need to succeed too.”
“I can’t miss out November’s Midlands Metal Crusade at Wolves Slade Rooms either. I love that venue. There’s no other place like it, it really has become my second home (and that’s coming from a born and bred Brummie). The people are the most supportive and dedicated music fans and the Crusade really has become my favourite event to organise. It’s like one huge family reunion. November’s Crusade was particularly emotional as it was another great West Midlands giant, Martyr De Mona’s farewell show. The crowd did them proud; they were brilliant! The guys couldn’t have asked for a better swansong. What stood out for me though, was the comradery between ALL the bands; Exiles In Elysium, Devil’s Playground, XVII, Black Ink Sun, Haerken, Eradikator MDM and the wonderful Evil Scarecrow. That’s what it’s all about for me, and the Midlands Metal scene has it by the bucketful.”
Low-points of 2016:
“As well as my favourite gig I have to also mention my saddest here. April 1st 2016 was the final show for my beloved Destroyed Beyond Belief. Those guys were (and still are) more than just a band I worked with, they were family. I’ve never known a band that had such a bond. You can’t manufacture that, it just happens when the right people come together and it’s incredibly rare. I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much at a gig than that night. I still get emotional just thinking about it. The West Midlands metal scene lost a very important component that night, and it’s still suffering the after-effects.”
Marching into 2017:
“The exciting thing about a New Year is you never quite know what’s going to happen. That’s the same for me with forthcoming shows. I still have plenty to arrange, but the one I’m most excited about right now is my first ever show at O2 Institute in Birmingham. It’s on March 4th in the Institute2, formerly known as The Library and (if like me you go back even further) The Barfly, though you’d never recognise it as that now!
It’s a big step up for me and a massive opportunity for local bands. But, it also shows the confidence corporate venues like Academy Group have in the local music scene right now. Metal maestros, Hostile (another success story from the West Midlands) headline March’s show and it also features some young emerging bands that showcase just how much talent we still have coming out of the “home of metal”. I’m hoping this will be the first of many at The Institute.”
For more gigs and information about Hils Ovation, please follow the official Facebook page. Supporting local promoters helps support local scenes, which in turn creates the next world-beating bands.
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