In a few decades' time when people like back on who were the best bands of this decade, Touché Amoré are going to be firmly up there with the best of them. Arguably the finest and most important punk band of our times, across four albums Touché Amoré have managed to craft a wholly unique sound with punk and hardcore ferocity married with the more sentimental and reflective nature you get in genres like indie, post-rock and emo. This is made by Jeremy Bolm's highly emotive, often yelling, passionate vocals set to guitars that are pretty and tender, but also speedy and punchy as well as punishingly fast rhythms. Their latest album 'Stage Four' saw Bolm deal with his mother's death through music to heartbreakingly powerful effect and tonight they hit Leeds' Brudenell Social Club to provide a truly cathartic experience.
First up though are Departures who have quite a bit in common with tonight's main event, playing emotional post-hardcore that wears its heart on its sleeve, with their frontman sounding miserable, but like he's desperate to do something about it whilst being reinforced by morose, but tough guitars.
Next up are Angel Du$t who, in the nicest way possible, feel like a hardcore covers band, the way that every song of theirs sounds and feels like a classic from way back in the day, their sound being burley but having a happy-go-lucky nature to it. There's considerable amount of people going giddy for them, skanking or yelling every word.
Touché Amoré are one of those bands who could play their 15 least bests songs (whatever they may be) and it would still make for an utterly life-affirming experience. There's not a song this band have put out where Jeremy Bolm doesn't put anything less than 100% percent into every word and it's the exact same live.
Whether it be the mourning nature of 'Stage Four' material or the utterly p*ssed off at everything attitude of '...To The Beat Of A Dead Horse' songs, Bolm is screaming the majority of the words as if the life of everyone in this room depends on it. Whenever anyone gets the mic, they too put absolutely everything into it, probably feeling like they need to do it justice, compared to Jeremy.
Speaking of the crowd's reaction, they go off-the-chain, with there being a vast amount of crowdsurfers and stage divers to the point that some of them just fall though the people who cannot manage to hold them. On the one hand, it's a bit strange seeing people go that mental to songs that are so introspective and reflective, but on the other it makes perfect sense with Elliot Babin's blastbeat addicted drumming and the lively riffs, even if they do have a shade of vulnerability.
It's hard to pick out highlights when the whole set is such a consistently high level, but if we have to pick a few '~' is always about as cathartic and as it gets with battering, but souring guitars and lyrics full of fortitude like 'if actions speak louder than words, I'm the most deafening noise you've heard.' Tonight's opener 'Flowers And You' would trick anyone here, who's not actually heard the band, the way flowery, twangy guitars kick this thing off, before descending into utter chaos as soon as this song properly kicks into overdrive. As for 'And Now It's Happening In Mine' whilst it's a credit to Touché Amoré for often being able to marry the speed with patience, it's nice to have a full on mosh, which you can't resist to this with its stompy stabs, gnarly swing and venomous lyrics.
For the encore, they play 'Gravity, Metaphorically' from their split 7" with Pianos Become The Teeth. Not many bands can close with a song off a split and have it be a well-rounded finale, but people are still yelling every word with Jeremy and it's truly a testament to how there's not a single short-coming with this band.
Touché Amoré are frankly one of the best live bands going these days. Their shows are as lively as it gets, as emotional as it gets and just an excellent time all-round. If you've not heard this band, you're missing out big time. At least one of their records will give you something you need, even if you didn't know you needed it and you'll want to know all the words when it comes to seeing them, because yelling yourself horse, with others who have a connection to this band is truly magical.
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