Live: Hundred Reasons, Hell Is For Heroes, My Vitriol @ Eventim Apollo, London

By Ellie Odurny

Tonight’s line-up at the Hammersmith Apollo is testament to the power of a dedicated fan base. The three bands playing this evening emerged onto the scene at the turn of the millennium, and it’s clear from the already busy floor that the vast majority of the audience have stuck with them for the past couple of decades.

Opening proceedings tonight are My Vitriol, who kick things off with their own brand of melancholy shoegaze. With a stage shrouded in darkness for a lot of the set, the mic stand covered in fairly lights is often the only clearly visible point, the moody lighting reflecting the feel of the music. The majority of tracks this evening are pulled from their 2001 debut album ‘Finelines’; the band sounding as confident and assured now as they did twenty years ago. The sound isn’t always as finessed, with some hefty bass feedback and vocal levels wavering at times, but these minor glitches don’t seem to detract from the mesmerising performance that My Vitriol give from start to finish.

In a striking change of pace, next up are post-hardcore act Hell is For Heroes, who have probably been the most active of all the bands on the bill over recent years. Appearing on stage to Enrique Iglesias’ ‘Hero’, they waste no time launching into ‘Folded Paper Figures’, the only track of the evening from sophomore album ‘Transmit Disrupt’. The energy of the band is palpable and this sense of fervent enthusiasm is present for every moment of the band’s set. Vocalist Justin Schlosberg is the epitome of charisma, running up and down every inch of the stage, performing acrobatics over the drumkit and spinning the microphone without ever missing a beat.

Many bands have taken time out over the course of their careers to focus on their families, but Hell is For Heroes have gone a step further, with their children joining the band on stage for new track ‘I Should Never Have Been Here in the First Place’, Schlosberg declaring “It’s a family affair”. When he announces the following track simply as “This is an old one”, this sense of family is one that stretches across the crowd, with a roar of collective appreciation for the opening notes of hit “I Can Climb Mountains”.

Giving everyone a moment to catch their breath, ‘To Die For’ showcases the instrumental prowess of the band, with post-rock guitars adding subtle depth to set chock-full of vigorous beats. It’s testament to the band’s writing ability that the couple of new tracks performed on this tour sit seamlessly alongside the classics, with chunky riffs and pinpoint drumming underscoring emotive lyricism and impassioned vocals.

The crowd-pleasing antics of Hell Is For Heroes continue with Schlosberg shouting “London, I’m coming for you” before stage-diving onto the masses during ‘Five Kids Go’, mic in hand. Taking time to thank each member of the band during closing number ‘Slow Song’, he announces that the band will be back soon, perhaps alluding to more new music and potentially a headline tour. Judging by the reception to their support-slot tonight, it’s safe to say that whatever they have planned next, it’s going to go down a storm.

Backed by the emblem of new album ‘Glorious Sunset’, Hundred Reasons take to the stage to rapturous applause and growls of anticipation from the audience. Opening with the title track from said album, they seem to be in their element from the very beginning, following their new track with old favourites packed full of noughties nostalgia. The audience sing along to every word, with beautiful canon harmonies from the band on ‘I’ll Find You’ soaring over the vocal melody being belted towards the stage.

Technology has advanced considerably since the early 2000’s, and the lighting tonight gives the set a more modern edge, complementing the evolution of the band’s sound to make even the oldest tracks seem relevant and current. The middle of the set sees new track ‘It Suits You’ sandwiched by the ever-popular ‘Remmus’ and ‘Silver’, the newer material sitting comfortably among the better-known anthems. Bolstering the guitar section is Marmozets’ Jack Bottomley, adding layered rhythms to the multi-faceted sound that Hundred Reasons produce.

The audience are called to arms once again for “an old-fashioned singalong” to huge hit ‘Falter’ and they don’t disappoint, the throng of voices echoing to the very back of the balcony seating. The end of the main set adds some electronic wizardry to the mix, elevating the band’s sound further and adding to their arsenal of sonic expertise. A three-song encore consists of new track ‘Replicate’, ‘No Way Back’ and closes with the anthemic ‘If I Could’, the band sounding equally as tight and powerful whether they’re playing a new track or one from 20 years ago.

With any revival tour, there’s a chance that the bands could rest on their laurels, relying on nostalgia alone to carry their setlist. That was not the case tonight, and with new material, headline tours and a promise of more news, these three bands are sure to keep the fans happy for many more years to come.

ELLIE ODURNY