Date: December 8th, 2013
Venue: Rock City Basement, Nottingham
Support: Dad Punchers / Self Defense Family
When the venue is packed before the first band have even started, you know you’re in for a treat. 100 people crammed themselves, minutes after the doors had opened, into the Rock City Basement, a venue with a maximum capacity of around 250. Previously home to the likes of TRC, Gallows and even The Acacia Strain, shows in the Basement always have a really great atmosphere and tonight is no exception.
Anticipation fills the air as Dad Punchers (****) take the stage, immediately exploding into incredibly upbeat pop-punk with enough hooks to fill a pirate ship. The band consists of members of Touché Amoré, with drummer Elliot Babin acting as the frontman and rhythm guitarist. Their easily accessible brand of emo and pop-punk, much like Nai Harvest, is engaging throughout, made better by how tight they are as they constantly jump between 3/4 and 4/4 time signatures. They’re received warmly by the crowd, even though they’re only met with people nodding their head to the beat.
The size of the audience swells as New York’s Self Defense Family (*****) take the stage. The band’s style is extremely difficult to pinpoint, though they often resemble an atmospheric and almost psychedelic La Dispute or Pianos Become The Teeth. Frontman Patrick Kindlon delivers an incredible performance too. His jerky movements and bizarre hand gestures immediately bring to mind Dan Smith of Listener whilst the almost schizophrenic delivery of his lyrics seem to echo Jordan Dreyer. Touché Amoré-frontman Jeremy Bolm takes over guitar duties for a song towards the end of the band’s set. Though Self Defense Family play for around forty minutes, their set never gets boring, and the hilarious banter Kindlon spouts, including the memorable “Does this look like a beatdown show? Do I have a tattoo on my face?”, goes down well with the crowd.
Excitement fills the air, and it’s not long before Touché Amoré (*****) hit the stage. This is their fifth time in the UK, and like always, they fail to disappoint. The band blast through around 25 songs in an hour, each lyric screamed straight into the face of singer Jeremy Bolm, who is hardly ever standing still. Bolm himself is nothing but a pleasure to watch in action. Though he comes across as a shy and reserved individual before the show, his stage presence and the way he commands a crowd is nothing short of incredible. From the first note of opener ‘Pathfinder’ to the closing note of golden oldie ‘Nine’, Bolm is absolutely everywhere, even throwing himself over the barrier into the crowd for the acapella verse in fan-favourite, ‘Honest Sleep’.
The band’s new songs are received just as well as their old material too. Highlights include the latest single ‘Harbor’, ‘Gravity, Metaphorically’ as well as just about every song off their debut, ‘…To The Beat Of A Dead Horse’. The sheer intensity and passion with which they deliver song after song is what the band’s performances have become known for, and tonight is proof of just that. Whether you love them or hate them, Touché Amoré are nothing but a pleasure to watch. Come back soon, we’ll be waiting.
Written by Jack Boaden