Friday 23rd February 2018 – Hell Is For Heroes w/ A and Vex Red at Pyramids, Portsmouth

This gig was one of those rare occasions in twenty years where I went to see the support band, not the headliner. This tour brought about the return of A after nearly a decade of one off shows and festival appearances. I saw them four times in two years between 2018 and 2019. For context, I only saw them twice in my first four years as a fan.

Since bassist Daniel P Carter bowed out of the band, A have had a revolving door of musicians filling in. For these dates, and the best part of the next two years, it was Dougie Poynter of McFly fame. There was a time when a lot of people, possibly myself included, would have turned our noses up at this. Not now, seeing him up there, having the time of his life and bringing an energy to match the renewed enthusiasm from A to be back on stage.

It was a very tight, concise, set. They sounded good too, which was a surprise for a venue I have complain profusely about so far in these posts (and will continue to do so I’m afraid). It should be noted though that this was actually the very last time I attended a gig at the Pyramids. The live music function at the multi purpose space came to an end in 2020.

I asked Ed C whether he had any memories of this show. I can’t remember much about Vex Red, nor whether we stayed to see any of Hell Is For Heroes. He reliably informs me we stayed for “about an hour” of the headline set. Although he also incorrectly remembers Ed S being there, so we could well have been halfway home before the first chord of Five Kids Go (it was a Neon Handshake album show) for all I know. 

We probably have this tour to thank for A having confidence to head out on their own album tour later in 2018 playing Hi-Fi Serious in full, followed by Monkey Kong in 2019. Would we have got How Ace Are Buildings in 2020? Only the parallel universe unaffected by the pandemic knows..

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