HELL IS FOR HEROES, Bristol Academy (Live Review)


Fifteen years ago Hell Is For Heroes released an iconic debut album, in a way The Neon Handshake became a blueprint for the British rock sound.

Support acts A and Vex Red gave a glimpse to what the 2000’s version of an 80’s revival tour might look like. Both bands played with professionalism but delivered sets that were just filler waiting for the hits. The hits were great slices of nostalgia but far from ground breaking.

Then the anticipation for HIFH was amplified by opening to ‘Five Kids Go’ also the opener of the debut album. The digital rumble, the distorted guitars and then the band burst on to the stage and absolutely nailed the first two numbers. The musicianship was water tight there was passion, heart and performance and everything was flowing beautifully, until vocal range was really tested.

Throughout the set nostalgia carried this show straight into an eight out of ten, how can anyone not enjoy seeing every song on a life affirming album in full and most importantly in order!?

The band were definitely up for this nostalgic tour and as the Neon Handshake drew to a close Sick/Happy and Retreat ended the show with an incredible double header. Musically tight and executed with passion and presence. What followed was an opportunity to play some of the other hits as an encore instead HIFH chose to play an indistinguishable cover and songs from the following releases. Maybe the issue here is that the album flows so perfectly it made the encore sound somewhat clunky or maybe as it was the first night of the tour they were still working out the perfect encore.

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Hell Is For Heroes, looked older but they had the same passion and enthusiasm as fifteen years ago. It’s a shame the huge emotive moments and shouts were missing, hopefully they will find them over the rest of the tour. Nostalgia carried the performance but sadly nostalgia can’t fix vocals.