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Live Review: Rolo Tomassi – Glasgow, King Tuts Wah Wah Hut – 28/10/12

We caught Rolo Tomassi on their first headline tour stop in Glasgow in nearly 18 months! Find out what we thought inside.

Artist: Rolo Tomassi
Support: Oathbreaker, Goodtime Boys and Hunt/Gather
Venue: Glasgow, King Tuts Wah Wah Hut

Sundays aren’t really the best of days to gig in Glasgow. Everyone is hungover and living off bacon rolls and glass bottles of Irn Bru so they’re rarely motivated to leave their respective holes to indulge in the musical delights of the city. When those delights include a band who have barely toured at all for nearly eighteen months the motivation seems to drop even more which probably goes some way to explaining the surprisingly poor attendance at tonight’s show. Thankfully, for the most part at least, the lack of attendance is made up for by great performances.

Local openers Hunt/Gather go someway to stealing the show tonight in all honesty. The intense four piece deliver something between the caustic and technical approach of Botch and the pulverizing emotive movements of Poison the Well and proceed to tear a near empty King Tuts a new one. Unrelentingly heavy but with enough of a command of dynamics to make their set as invigorating a listen as it is to watch, it’s a shame that so few people are here to catch the band. The kind of band who spend as much time in the faces of the front row and in the middle of the dance floor as they do on stage are the kind of band that everyone should be taking notice of. Especially when their songs are this good as well.

Goodtime Boys mark the first touring support of the night and strike a sound that falls somewhere between the direct approach of Touche Amore and the expansive dynamics of La Dispute. It makes for an enjoyable set, but if the truth be told it causes some of the songs to sound really similar in a live setting. While the band play with conviction, they don’t quite bring the ferocity of Hunt/Gather or the songs as of yet to make you forget the fact they their sound is somewhat formulaic.

Oathbreaker suffer from a similar issue. Every song sounds more or less the same, partially due to a muddy sound but also due to the band’s near unrelentingly ferocity. Usually such aggression translates brilliantly live but with the band’s songs being so indistinct from each other the whole thing becomes a bit of a blur, the bands full steam ahead punk/metal segments mixing with their sludgier moments in a single seemingly never ending song. Fans of the band surely enjoyed the set, but they’re not a band that are going to make you a fan off of their live show. These are songs you have to know to enjoy.

Rolo Tomassi overcome the destruction of their bass drum mere songs into their set surprisingly well and come back from a somewhat sedate start to deliver a pretty impressive set. In Eva Spence the band have a vocalist who is both charismatic and equally adept at singing as she is screaming, and there are surely people who do either or of those vocal techniques better than her, but few are as consistent with both which helps translate the band’s somewhat obtuse songs into something a touch more accessible  The band further confirmed tonight that’s its the songs where they indulge in their electronic and melodic influences that grow into chaos that are their real strength, their heavier and more direct material seeming sedate in comparison to other bands who have truly made that niche their own. New tracks from the bands upcoming album come across very well live, suggesting that the band may well be ready to gather some critical and commercial steam once again. It’s still clear though that the band are getting used to their new line up as they never quite completely ignite, which is understandable but on occasion it does detract from the impact of some of the tracks. For the most part though, those of us in Glasgow who didn’t spend the day in bed with bacon and Irn Bru are left aurally satisfied if physically underwhelemed. But for a Sunday, that’s not bad going.


Reviewer: Calum McMillan

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