Hundred Reasons/Snow Patrol : London ICA

You can’t knock charity

You can’t knock charity. It’s a bit like calling Frank Bruno ‘mad’ to his face or pointing out to Prince Philip that his wife is a bit of a minger – really not the thing to do.

Two years ago, Amnesty International held a comedy charity week. This year, they’re doing music. Tomorrow, we’ve got [a]Music[/a] and Tim Booth, Thursday it’s Billy Bragg, Friday [a]The Thrills[/a] and Saturday Big Brovaz and (ahem) Lemar from the first Fame Academy. Each night is compared by a guest DJ – Jo Whiley, The Dream Team and Tony Wilson have all signed up to help. Tonight, we’ve got Zane Lowe off of The Evening Session on heckle-defecting duties.

Not that Snow Patrol head honcho Gary Lightbody needs much assistance. [I]”Say something political,”[/I] shouts someone from the audience. [I]”We’ll be here all night,”[/I] replies Gary, stretching out his hand to reveal his signature felt-penned Chris Martin-style onto his palm. [I]”So give me your money and I’ll pass it on. I’m very trustworthy.”[/I]

Opener ‘Wow’ is crunchingly beautiful, as is imminent new single ’Run’ , surely to song to elevate them to Coldplay-type ubiquity. As the guys work their way through a catalogue of amusing faces (lead guitarist: ‘orgasm’; drummer: ‘constipation’; bassist: ‘opening a gas bill that turns out to be a pay cheque’), their affability is clear proof that they’re sure of their impending success.

The mixing desk is turned up to ‘ear-bleed’ by the time [a][/a] reach the stage. Which is apt, as opening new song ‘Savannah’ ditches the Surrey quintet’s thought-provoking but big-riffed emo in favour of some full on Rock Action. Which is good. Now slightly heavier, hairier and more tattooed than when ace debut album ‘Ideas Above Our Station’ emerged last year, the new songs match their appearance: ‘What You Get’ and flyer single ‘The Great Test’ are beefy chunks of Britrock.

[I]”We all know why we’re here,”[/I] yells singer Colin Doran from under his slight poodle of a haircut and – for a moment – you think he’s going to add [I]”let’s rock”[/I] and break into ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ by Bachman Turner Overdrive. But festival favourite ‘Falter’ is an even better choice, and the kids down the front are loving it, po-going along like AC/DC had never been invented.

A mighty return, then, and a sterling introduction to a five day event with a simple message: what are you doing sitting at home dribbling on yourself in front of Wifeswap when you could be watching your favourite bands giving it their all in a tiny setting for the rest of the week, and doing a little bit to change the world for the better? Just this once, charity doesn’t begin at home.

Rich Pelley