Touche Amore + Pianos Become The Teeth + Departures @ HMV Institute – 23rd March 2012

Westwood is in the house! Well he will be but that’s not why I’m here. Tonight it’s all about Departures, Pianos Become The Teeth and Touche Amore as the take over the Institute for the next couple of hours for what promises to be one of the best shows of year.

Scottish emotional hardcore types Departures open up the show with a hard hitting set. They may be relatively unknown to the crowd but as their set progresses the reaction gets warmer and more heads are nodding along including that of Jeremy Bolm who’s watching down the front. The majority of songs are taken off their debut record ‘When Losing Everything is Everything You Ever Wanted’ which was produced by the excellent Jay Mass of Defeater fame. They definitely utilise their 30 minutes on stage and their latest single ‘Green Turns to Red, Then Turns to Gold’ sounds great and chances are they’ve definitely picked up a fair few new fans on the back of that performance.

12 hours of driving to get to Birmingham and a quick cursory sound check Baltimore’s Pianos Become The Teeth take to the stage and tear straight into a heart wrenching emotional set pulling songs from both Old Pride and their stunning latest offering the brilliant Lack Long After. I’ve been waiting a very long time to catch these guys live and my God was it worth the wait. Despite looking visibly weary the played such a tight set obviously channelling all their fatigue into the music. The excellent ‘Cripples Can’t Shiver’ complete with the recorded monologue from lead singer Kyle’s mum talking about watching her husband slowly die from multiple sclerosis sounds amazing. There is so much emotion and grief channelled into the records and there are even more hard hitting live. Closing the set with ‘I’ll Get By’ the words screamed back at them by the kids down the front as Kyle spills his heart out on stage. My respect for this band has increased ten-fold after witnessing this performance, the ability to put across such personal experiences into songs and have fans still have such an emotional connection to them is something truly special.

I’ll admit that Touche Amore’s set went by in a crazy blur! After catching them last year at Hevy only knowing a few songs and being blown away by the intensity of their performance I hoped it wouldn’t be too long before I got the chance to see them again. Well 6 months later and Touche Amore are headlining a show in my hometown and there was no chance I was going to miss out. The room is packed and you can almost taste the anticipation in the air. Opening with ‘Method Act’ and barely stopping for breath between songs Touche Amore blast through a short but sweet set. With most of their songs around the 2 minute mark they come like rapid machine gun fire as crowd surfers and stage divers fill the air.

The fan base TA have built up is solid and the ones that have braved the melee down the front go bat shit crazy to every song, screaming along to every word and clamouring for the microphone as Jeremy offers it to the crowd. The 2 security guys haven’t got a clue what to do and the confusion on their faces is priceless especially when Jeremy clears the barrier and dives into the crowd for ‘Honest Sleep’ and is mobbed by fans disappearing under a sea of crowd surfers. It’s not over yet though, Jeremy is back on stage and they kick into the final song ‘Cadence’; it all goes mental in the pit for one last time and when I’m handed the microphone to scream the last lines it’s the huge cherry on top of what’s been the most fun show I’ve been to. The camaraderie of the members of the crowd and those on the stage was something special and I urge you to get yourself to a Touche Amore show, you’d be a fool not to.

Catch The Wave.

Review – Hannah Sebestjanowicz

Photos – Steve Gerrard

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