A packed Birmingham Institute hosted a night of nostalgia. In Hundred Reasons, Hell Is For Heroes and My Vitriol, we have three bands who all have had careers that have been in fits and starts. Tonight, we were all there to see if they each still had it.
Hundred Reasons – Hell Is For Heroes – My Vitriol
O2 Institute Birmingham – 3 March 2023
Words and Photography: Andy Shaw
Tonight’s headliners have a tough act to follow, but we need not have worried as Hundred Reasons hit the ground running with the title track from their fifth and new album Glorious Sunset. Strobe lights around the stage gave a really atmospheric feel to the room.
Prior to Glorious Sunset, it had been 16 years since they released their fourth album, and tonight they didn’t disappoint by playing loads of classic material. Next was What You Get, and Answers followed. The reunited band featuring vocalist Colin Doran, Larry Hibbitt, guitar, Andy Gilmour on bass and drummer Andy Bews were certainly back with a bang.
Straight into Stories With Unhappy Endings, followed by The Perfect Gift and then we came to the first big sing-a-long of the evening – I’ll Find You.
The crowd is in full voice, and the band is in full swing. Next, a bit of an unexpected song in Remmus from EP2, then a new one, So So Soon from Glorious sunset.
It was then sing-a-long time again with Silver, straight into This Mess from Kill Your Own, then Makeshift from Shatterproof Is Not a Challenge, followed by The Old School Way. The institute loved their nostalgia trip, voices and arms raised to the sky.
More songs down memory lane end the set with No Pretending, Falter, Oratorio, finishing with Kill Your Own. The encore opened with a new song Replicate, with the crowd about to explode with No Way Back and a full sing-a-long finish with If I Could.
What a brilliant set, and hopefully, this tour has given Hundred Reasons the impetus to keep doing what they do best. They are as relevant now as they ever were.
Hell Is For Heroes
With three albums behind them, the last, self-titled, released in 2007, this was a long overdue tour. With a few dates with Hundred Reason in between, this tour was greeted with palpable excitement.
The band came on to Hero, the Enrique Iglesias song, with frontman Justin Schlosberg looking rather dapper and with the first notes of Folded Paper Figures from Transmit Disrupt, we were off. Schlosberg was jumping, cartwheeling over the drums and blasting out his awesome vocals. Immediately the packed institute was singing along and loving it.
The bulk of the set was made up from their first album, 2003s The Neon Handshake – starting with Out Of Sight, then Stranger in You from Hell Is for Heroes. Up next is a new song – I Should Never Have Been Here In The First Place.
Night Vision from The Neon Handshake was next, then To Die For from Hell Is for Heroes and back to The Neon Handshake for You Drove Me to It.
They were now in full swing, and this was a brilliant set. Their latest single, Together In Pieces, followed. “Enough of the new stuff,” Justin said, and Hell Is For Heroes finished with a trilogy from The Neon Handshake, Five Kids Go, I Can Climb Mountains and Slow Song.
This was a blockbusting end to an amazing set. Let’s hope they continue because this band look like they are ready for the next stage of their journey.
First up were My Vitriol, whose 2001 album Finelines was an instant hit and made them the darlings of MTV. It was brilliant to see them back and at their brilliant best.
The early part of the set had a few technical issues, but this didn’t deter them from a stunning start to the set with Losing touch, The Gentle Art of Choking and Kohlstream blending into Cemented Shoes all from Finelines.
The institute was filling up and loving the performance. Som Wardner, vocals and guitar, was in imperious form and back to his best. Grounded was next, followed by a newer song, It’s So Damn Easy, from The Secret Sessions, then back to Finelines with Infantile and Ode To The Red Queen.
Drummer Ravi Kesavaram, bassist Tatia Starkey (Ringo Starr’s granddaughter) and guitarist Seth Taylor were the perfect foil for Som. Tatia has returned to the band after her maternity leave few years back. Next was Moodswings, from Between The Lines, before finishing the set with yet more from the brilliant Finelines – Under the Wheels, Alpha Waves and Always: Your Way.
Rumours abound about possible new material and tours later in the year. Fingers crossed that this happens.