HUNDREDTH. Face Bar, Reading. 23.02.12

Most of Hundredth’s songs are about hope, pushing forward, and moving on. The few that aren’t tend to deal with escaping small towns and the people, practises and attitudes within them. It might seem more like punishment than reward then, to play a show on a gloomy Thursday in Reading. But if the South Carolina outfit feel any twinge of bitterness tonight, they don’t show it. Instead, they tear into their set like their lives depend on it. Hell, like the lives of thousands depend on it. And they do it with a passion, honesty and sincerity which are increasingly rare in this toilet circuit slog too.

‘Weathered Town’, one of those odes to escape, sounds breathless, five times as fast as on the band’s excellent second record, ‘Let Go’, but its point is never lost, ‘Catalysts’ immediately inspires a pit as big as this tiny room will allow, and ‘Willows’, which could sound cheesy and cheap in the wrong hands, is both a crushing rager and beautiful call to arms. The set soon rings to a close but the crowd refuse to leave, asking for more- more songs, more time, more chance of their own getaway, if just for tonight- and it’s fucking priceless.

Sure, they’ll play bigger and better places but it won’t be because of their admittedly sweet tattoos, any industry hook-ups or the odd breakdown. No, Hundredth have no cool factor, they’ve swapped it for heart and soul and you can hear it in the songs they play and see it in the way they play them. Terrific stuff.

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