Live Review: Hundred Reasons / Hell Is For Heroes / My Vitriol – O2 Academy, Leeds 23.02.2023

Phil Pountney

On a particularly chilly February evening, I made my way towards the O2 Academy in Leeds, ready for an evening crammed full of British Rock of the alternative variety. Hundred Reasons were in town and for good measure, they had brought My Vitriol and Hell Is For Heroes with them. 

As the stage was prepped for the first of the rocking trios to grace us with their presence, our attention was drawn to quite a mesmerising mike stand which was front and centre, entwined and decorated with a whole host of tiny lights reminiscent of many a poor Christmas tree which will have recently departed thousands of festive abodes. The turnout for My Vitriol was fairly poor to start with, especially given that the door times were of fairly sensible nature, but as the band hit the stage and poured into their set, the crowd was visibly growing and bringing more and more noise with them which only helped to show their obvious appreciation for the effort which was spilling over from the stage before them. 

Som Wardner led the charge and the cavalry followed with energy and gusto to create a fairly faultless set. The majority of the set was taken from the brilliant debut album ‘Finelines’ with tracks such as ‘Alpha Waves’, ‘Infantile’ and ‘Under The Wheels’ sounding as fresh and as relevant as the day they were written a hefty 21 years ago. After a fairly healthy set length for an opening act, Wardner et al departed to rapturous applause and a healthy anticipation then grew for the next crew who were going to carve us open with their brand of Post-Hardcore. 

As the lights dimmed we were entertained by the anthemic ‘Hero’ from none other than Enrique Iglesias which was belted out over the PA and spontaneously opened up a sing along from pretty much every set of lungs in the building,  and as the final chords started to fade, the Hell Is For Heroes troop strode onto the stage, took up their positions and blasted into the opener ‘Folded Paper Figures’ with sublime purpose and intent. Schlosberg was looking very dapper, suited and booted in a sharp grey suit, and the rest of his horde were charismatic and genuine in every motion they beat their chosen instruments with. As with their predecessors, the set was made up predominantly of one album which was then peppered with one or two other chosen desires from other albums, but the core of the set was taken from 2003’s ‘The Neon Handshake’ and was delivered to us with vitality and verve. The crowd was now impressive in its size and stature and this only led to louder and louder responses which well and truly enabled them to show their appreciation for the shift that was being put in on the stage. It simply was a true welcome to the North and a true welcome back to the form we have so dearly seen from this mob in previous years. 

So, onto the headliners, and lets face it probably the main reason that the majority of the Academy are in attendance for tonight. As the icons of the rock world greeted us in the only way they know how, a true battering from the speaker stacks, the crowd went ballistic, drowning out the vocals at times with the dedication and venom that the lyrics were spat back at the stage from most of the gathered masses worshipping at this particular rock altar. The set was lengthy and impressive in its stature, constructed of a good cross section of the band’s back catalogue giving old and new attendees the chance to party with the alternative psalms that they all hold so dearly to their hearts. Each round of applause and cheering only seemed to spur the band on to become more toxic and tight with each song that poured out of them and they grew into the set like a ravenous cobra emerging from its nest in order to hunt down its next prey. ‘Remmus’, ‘Silver’, ‘Makeshift’ and ‘Falter’ were all colossal exhibits with the set closer ‘If I Could’ being magnificent in its delivery to the now near rabid crowd.

I can only surmise from the success of the evenings events that Hundred Reasons are back and definitely have a point to prove, they are back with a vengeance and well and truly beyond hungry to unleash the next chapter in their ever-evolving story upon us.

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