While most of the country have their eyes on the happenings at Worthy Farm, a few thousand dedicated rock fans brave the heat to pack into the legendary Hammersmith ‘Eventim’ Apollo.
The reason is that US rockers Incubus are in town. The band aren’t the most regular of visitors to these shores and when they do come over it’s very rare to find then outside the usual handful of major cities.
There is enough draw then for fans to find their way to this part of London and there is also relief for those fans too after a spate of recent cancellations from the band due to ill-health. Tonight though is set and once the crowd are mesmerised by the unique opening act Lealani, it’s time for a blast from the past.
With no new album since 2017 and only two albums on offer since 2006, the set was always going to be a familiar delivery of fan favourites. That’s not always a bad thing and tonight the crowd delight at the selection available.
The energy never really dips over the ninety minutes or so that the band grace the stage and the audience feed off the connection that develops with the group. Even a cover of ‘Come Together’ goes down well as the audience savour classics such as ‘Are You In?’, ‘Pardon Me’, ‘Dig’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’.
An encore of ‘Drive’ is more than enough to send the crowd back away again happy. Recent issues overcome, tonight Incubus remind everyone of their power… now perhaps a new album next?
The average age at the Eventim Hammersmith Apollo in London tonight is tellingly specific – mid to late 30’s! Those filing into the venue are here tonight to relive their teenage years and to remember a scene that delivered some seriously talented, yet incredibly underrated bands.
Three such acts are on offer tonight starting off with the openers My Vitriol. The band showed much promise with their debut album, ‘Finelines’, in 2001 before they entered a perennial state of hiatus. Most of their set tonight comes from that album which ensures that the early attendees are already engaged. Set closer, ‘Always: Your Way’ sounds huge and leaves you wondering what could’ve been.
That is a constant feeling for me when remembering the British rock scene in the early 2000’s, who seemingly were hindered by the insatiable focus on nu-metal at the time. So much quality was given so little attention compared to their US contemporaries. This combined with the emergence of illegal downloads at the time seemed to stifle the growth of a generation of artists.
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So many bands arrived with a big debut album whilst rock was the genre, only for their subsequent material to be ignored by the mainstream music media who had moved on. Another prime example would be our special guests tonight Hell Is For Heroes whose debut album ‘The Neon Handshake’ must go down as one of the best British rock debut albums ever.
Again, tonight they have the audience onside from the get go with their set featuring a slew of tracks from that album. ‘I Can Climb Mountains’, ‘Night Vision’, ‘Five Kids Go’ and ‘Out of Sight’ all receive huge reactions tonight from the passionate crowd and by the time they are done, as corny as it sounds, they receive a heroes ovation!
There are quick turnarounds tonight so it isn’t long before our headliners Hundred Reasons arrive onstage. This tour is another to have suffered postponements since it was originally scheduled to take place. That has meant that now we have a new Hundred Reasons album and it’s stunning. There is no surprise here then when the band choose the title-track ‘Glorious Sunset’ to open the show.
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The rest of the set is a celebration of the past but with some of that fantastic new music mixed in with ‘It Suits You’, ‘Replicate’ and ‘The Old School Way’ all more than fitting in alongside the older fan favourites. Hopefully that’s a good sign for the band and they can remain viable in the future. Certainly more new music and live shows from Hundred Reasons is never going to be a bad thing.
Clearly that debut album theory has something to it tonight as tracks from ‘Ideas Above Our Station’ receive the biggest reactions with the sing-a-longs to ‘I’ll Find You’, ‘Falter’, ‘Silver’ and ‘If I Could’ simply deafening.
That said tracks from the bands other albums like ‘Kill Your Own’, ‘What You Get’ and ‘No Way Back’ also get the crowd active. This has been Hundred Reasons at their magnificent, majestic best, with the band members slipping back into those comfortable shoes. The addition of Jack Bottomley from Marmozets to the live line-up also helps to ensure that the band sound just as massive as before.
Hopefully with the revival of acts such as these, that early 2000’s British rock scene can get some overdue attention; but if nothing else at least a few thousand millennials get to relive the soundtrack of their youth!
Muse have stated that their new album, ‘Will of the People’, is “influenced by the increasing uncertainty and instability in the world”. For two nights in Hammersmith the band do what they do best in order to help. That is of course play live, and over Monday and Tuesday they raise money for 3 important causes – War Child, Médecins Sans Frontières and The Big Issue.
The chance to watch bona fide stadium-fillers Muse, oft recognised as the best live act on the planet, in the relative intimate surrounds of the Eventim Apollo is salivating and these shows aren’t just sold out but the queue stretches and bends all around town.
There is no support for night one, but Razorlight do a superb job of warning up the audience on night two. Choosing to focus solely on their first two albums, the reunited band have the crowd singing along to hits such as ‘In The Morning’, ‘Golden Touch’, ‘Somewhere Else’ and ‘America’.
Muse start both nights with the first single from their upcoming album, ‘Won’t Stand Down’, which already appears to be a fan favourite. Momentum is then maintained through a rip roaring ‘Hysteria’ and ‘Pressure’.
The setlist remains largely the same over the two nights with only a couple of alterations. Monday gets ‘Bliss’ and ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, whilst Tuesday gets ‘Map Of The Problematique’ and ‘New Born’.
There are rarities such as ‘Assassin’, ‘The Gallery’ and ‘Citizen Erased’, old favourites like ‘Starlight’, ‘Plug In Baby’ and ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ and another new single, ‘Compliance’. An ideal set mix really for fans at all investment levels, which finishes with a huge sing-a-long moment in the shape of ‘Uprising’.
Throughout the shows the band look to be having fun, relishing the opportunity to return to the stage after two awful years for the world. Speaking of which, these shows aren’t going to fix the mess that is Earth, but the money raised will help those in need; and those in attendance will be overjoyed at the majesty of Muse on top form.
An encore of ‘Space Dementia’ and perennial closer ‘Knights of Cydonia’ provide a spectacular end to both the evenings and serve as a reminder of the genius of this band.