There are good shows, and there are shows like this one that you know have all the potential in the world to be brilliant and then the band goes absolutely above and beyond what you were expecting.
I could wax lyrical about head-liners Touche Amore for hours on end, emerging in 2007 they were part of ‘The Wave’ of new emotional hardcore bands that hit the scene at a similar time along with the likes of Pianos Become the Teeth and La Dispute. The first record ‘To The Beat of a Dead Horse’ was a highly charged and raw record and although their sound has changed over the years with the inclusion of slightly mellower songs the rawness and intensity has not been lost. Last year saw them release the incredibly emotional and highly charged record ‘Stage Four’ and it was going to be the first time they’ve played any of those songs live in Birmingham. In fact its been one hell of a long time since Touche Amore were last here and its evident they’ve been missed because its a sold out show and the room is heaving with bodies.
Unfortunately I missed Elliott’s Warm Thoughts but I managed to catch Angel Du$t, fronted by gold toothed Justice Tripp its fast and fun hardcore punk. 30 minutes and probably something like 15 songs in that space of time! Not exactly something I could ever get into myself but they certainly seemed to get a decent reaction from the crowd and they do a great job of warming up the crowd for the headliners.
20 songs in just under a hour, that’s an achievement in itself but to have as much passion and energy from the first to the last song is something else. Opening with ‘Flowers and You’ its evident from the crowds reaction that they are as stoked for the new tunes as well as the older material surging immediately for the stage and already hoisting themselves up to crowd surf. There’s a lot of love in room both on stage and off.
Jeremy is obviously the main focus and although seemingly shy and retiring when addressing the crowd between songs he comes into his own when its time to sing. Screaming the lyrics with unbridled passion, the crowd in the palm of his hand screaming every lyric back at him desperate for the microphone to yell into. Not one to be held back by the barrier Bolm makes sure to interact with the crowd as much as possible over the course of the set and it doesn’t go unnoticed.
They dedicate ‘Harbor’ to drummer extraordinaire Elliott Babin after he stepped in at the last minute to open the show with a solo performance which must have taken some balls and he looked humbled to get the recognition from his band mates. Lets take a moment to appreciate the wonder that is Elliot Babin, that boy can certainly play and is one hell of a backbone for the band and is a pleasure to watch. ‘Rapture’ is an emotive and sad and certainly rings true for anyone that’s ever lost someone close to them. Touche Amore certainly have some hard hitting lyrics, none more so for me personally than ‘Just Exist’ and its a huge cathartic release getting to sing back the lyrics loud and proud.
Dripping with sweat the band close the set with ‘Honest Sleep’ leaving the stage only to come back for one last song, a song that goes out to ‘anyone that’s going through something’ as they head into ‘Gravity, Metaphorically. The energy levels from both the stage and the crowd are still high and I’m literally shaking. Its been forever since a band has elicited that kind of response from me, I was buzzing before they even got on stage and literally couldn’t help myself when they hit the stage to push my way into the crowd for a piece of the action. I’m forever thankful for the existence of bands like Touche Amore, no egos just hard hitting and heart-wrenching songs that are always super relatable so thanks guys, you rule!
Reviewer – Hannah Sebestjanowicz
Photo – Christian Cordon (courtesy of PR)