LIVE REVIEW: Rolo Tomassi @ Scala, London (09/11/2018)

Credit: Promo

Date: November 9th 2018
Venue: Scala, London
Support: Blood Command / Cassus


Tonight is Rolo Tomassi‘s biggest ever headline show, and it’s thoroughly deserved. Having been a band for more than a decade, the Brighton quintet have done more than their fair share of the toilet circuit, and with this year’s ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’ receiving rave reviews, it’s finally their time to shine at the legendary Scala in Kings Cross.

Blame the early doors, but you could hear a pin drop in this crowd, which is a shame as openers Cassus [8] are well worth watching. Smack-you-in-the-face heavy, with techy guitars and breakneck drums from Sonny Patten, the Norwich quartet seem eager to make an impression.

Frontman Natty Peterkin‘s cleans are smooth enough that he could easily be singing in a boring radio-friendly indie rock band, but thank God he isn’t, as this is much more interesting. Set closer ‘Reduced Possibility: Engendered Determinism’ has a mellifluous, melancholic air that’s reminiscent of the headliners themselves. Keep an eye out.

Norway’s Blood Command [8] are something quite different, but no less exciting. They blend poppy melodies with raw punk attitude and have bags of energy, finally waking up the now considerably larger crowd. They’re brash and bold, and more than a little tongue-in-cheek, as proven when they launch into a cover of the Bryan Adams hit ‘Heaven’ halfway through the set.

Vocalist Karina Ljone darts around the stage, getting arms waving and feet stomping, and either they already had a lot of fans here, or they’ve won over almost the entire audience. Either way, you might want to catch them before they’re huge.

Rolo Tomassi [9] emerge to the haunting opening sounds of ‘Rituals’, which eventually give way to gut churning grooves and Eva Spence‘s incendiary roar. Once the turbulence of ‘Funereal’ kicks in, it’s evident that this will be exactly like a regular Rolo show: and there’s nothing regular about a Rolo show.

Unsurprisingly, it’s a ‘Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It’-heavy set, though with a few tracks from ‘Grievances’ (notably the wonderfully weird ‘Opalescent’) and a few even older songs sprinkled throughout. As a treat for long-term fans, there’s even a nod to the band’s debut album ‘Hysterics’, now ten years old, in the form of ‘Oh Hello Ghost’, with that unmistakeable retro synth riff courtesy of James Spence.

There are so many vibes encompassed in a single set that’s it’s almost disorientating – they fluctuate between sludgy unrestrained chaos (‘Alma Mater’) and soothing, mellow serenity (‘Aftermath’) – and it’s best to just allow yourself to get swept up in it. In fact, it’s close to impossible not to.

Finishing off on the epic ‘A Flood Of Light’, a breathless Spence asks the crowd to hold up the torches on their phones to create, literally, a flood of light. Cheesy? A bit, but the effect is so stunning that you’d have to be made of stone to not enjoy it. To wish Rolo Tomassi an even more successful year in 2019 would seem almost out of reach, and yet, after sets like this, entirely fathomable.