Live Reviews

Hell Is For Heroes – Live

Bush Hall

The Hell is For Heroes show at Bush Hall is a bitter sweet affair. The West London 5 piece are playing their final London date, and after this all the curtain comes down, possibly forever.

Having blasted onto the scene with ‘The Neon Handshake‘, Hell is For Heroes have always been growing and evolving with every twist and turn, and despite label changes, they’ve kept their heads above water and always produced inspiring live shows and two further kick ass albums.

Then in October they announced an indefinite hiatus and this 7 date UK tour is a farewell- and they’re not going to go down without a fight…

“Welcome to the rock show” Justin Schlosberg has a look of concentration on his face, tonight is all about going out with a bang, and they certainly do that. Bush Hall is rocked to its core with a set of such intensity that as wall upon wall of hard guitar sound punches its way around the venue you’re left wondering if the chandeliers will survive the night ( they don’t…but more of that later).

Picking and choosing from their 3 albums they throw usual set closer ‘You Drove Me To It‘ in early, and the pit at the front goes into overdrive, the chest thumbing anthem bringing the crowd together in one voice, it’s the first of many goose bump moments. ‘You’ve Got Hopes’, ‘Night Vision‘ and ‘Five Kids Go‘ are breathtaking- the ferocity of the music never dropping, the sheer passion in the crowd almost tangible – and as the pit cranks it up another notch the band’s guitar tech switches between lobbing ice cubes into the throng to cool them down to rescuing Schlosberg from the throng as he repeatedly throws himself into the front rows.

As ever Fin is the one whipping the crowd into a frenzy, leading the chants and air punches, whilst guitarist Will smiles throughout the set as Justin throws himself around the stage, does handstands off the drum riser – twisting, turning, flinching as through every drum beat is physically punching him. Crowd surfers are in full force and kudos to the people who continually catch a giant of a man who belly flops onto them time and time again as the band kick out ‘Retreat’ with such intensity that you can almost feel the walls of Bush Hall buckle with the pressure.

‘Kamachi‘ is stunning, with the ethereal vocals on the bridge in harsh juxtaposition to the crunching guitars, whilst crowd favourite ‘I Can Climb Mountains’ is every bit the underdog’s anthem with the crowd roaring back the lines “I can run, I can hide, I can take a wall of pain in a stride – I don’t need fairy tales to pretend and I don’t need heroes to depend on..” But they clearly do need these Heroes- and as the band leave the stage the “We want more!” chants are deafening.

“We’ve never played such a long set!” Justin smiles wryly as the band return to the stage, and gather around Joe Birch’s drum kit to decide on further songs. “We’ve not played this in a long time so sorry if I forget the words..” he shrugs as they throw themselves into ‘Five Kids Go’, the opener from the Neon Handshake, and then a cover of ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, a staple of their live show.

The last track tonight is the sublime ‘Slow Song’. As Justin climbs on top of the speaker stack the crowd are behind him all the way, even when he reaches for a chandelier and breaks a rope of crystals off by accident, leaving it swaying. As the track hits its climax, with a wall of sound, he leaps downwards to his band mates. The final guitars wail over the crowd and in turn are replaced by the sound of thunderous applause. And so Hell is For Heroes leave the stage for the last time in London, it’s a fond farewell to a great London band – Justin, Will, Fin, Joe and Tom – we’ll miss you – roll on the reunion tour!

Dee Massey