We’ve already brought you photos from this gig earlier this week, but now we’re bringing you the critical eye of Alex Andrews as he reviews what went down when Touché Amoré, Pettybone and Grappler brought – or tried to bring – their A-game to the Camden Barfly….
Six things we found out when we went to see Touché Amoré at Barfly in Camden:
1) Why does almost every hardcore band in 2012 feel like they’re trying to outdo each other for insecurities? You really can’t fault Grappler’s frontman for trying. When he wasn’t confessing to being trapped in the shadow of his father, he was either punching himself in the head or using the microphone cable in what looked like an attempt at asphyxiation. A charismatic performance for sure, but when all that greets your band is a stony wall of folded arms, it can feel a little awkward.
2) Pettybone, on the other hand, appear to be bucking every trend in the book. Most impressive was the tangled mess of discordant riffs coming from the direction of the guitarist. They’re a long way from the finished article, but there’s a sense that in due course they could be considered as quite an important band.
3) Not to be taken as a dig at either Pettybone or Grappler, but it’s rare that the difference in quality between the headline act and their support is this obvious. Touché Amoré come bursting out of the blocks, like a cage animal finally released. They sound lean, mean and exactly like a band that spent virtually all of last year on the road.
4) Their set is different to the one they played in 2011. They open with ‘Method Act’ and rush through blocks of four or five songs at a time before pausing for breath. Most of the crowd pleasers are delivered early on, but it’s a new song that makes the biggest impression sonically.
5) Jeremy Bolm may well be the best frontman currently in the game. As soon as the band starts playing, he shakes off the shackles of his mild-mannered, unassuming persona and takes complete ownership of the stage – often flinging himself off of it. Though one of the guiltiest parties in the conundrum mentioned in the first point, there’s nothing about the man that feels like it’s for show. You don’t ever wonder why he’s as angry as he makes out, because you couldn’t imagine it any other way.
6) With the exception of the new song, every word gets sung back at the band. I’ll admit to some trepidation at noticing how young a lot of the audience seemed, but it became quite evident just how much Touché Amoré mean to a lot of people. For anyone looking to grasp some kind of sense behind the hold that hardcore can have over its many disciples, the Barfly would’ve been a great place to start.
Touché Amoré are currently off touring around Europe, but they’re coming back to the UK next month for another set of dates, this time with the rather magnificent Pianos Become The Teeth in tow. If any of these shows are near your neck of the woods, we highly recommend you get yourself a ticket.
Touché Amoré March 2012 UK tour dates
23 Birmingham HMV Temple Room
24 Glasgow Stereo
25 Nottingham Basement
26 Bristol Thekla
27 Manchester Sound Control
28 London XOYO
Watch the video to ‘Home Away From Here’ by Touché Amoré: