Converge and Touché Amoré live at London Koko

Converge,
London Koko,
25/11/12

Tall, cavernous theatres like Koko may not be the ideal setting for a hardcore show, but then Converge are no ordinary hardcore band, and tonight’s line-up reflects this.

A Storm Of Light are armed with some seriously seismic grooves that fill the venue with ease, and give its foundations a bit of a shake into the bargain. Behind the band, a huge projector screen shows footage of rioting, war and burning cities – an appropriate backdrop if ever there was one, as this is perfect ‘impending apocalypse’ music. It’s an assault on the senses, and an oddly reassuring one at that.

A combination of almost non-stop touring and last year’s excellent ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’ album have gained Touché Amoré plenty of well-deserved recognition, and tonight they justify the hype in fine style. Every word is screamed back at vocalist Jeremy Bolm as his band rip through the likes of ‘Pathfinder’ and ‘Home Away From Home’ with minimum stage patter and maximum conviction. They’re clearly stoked to be touring with Converge, and with their intelligent, honest approach to hardcore, greater things surely await Touché Amoré.

The last time we witnessed Converge separated from their audience by a barrier (at the Electric Ballroom a few years ago), frontman Jacob Bannon seemed uncomfortable – prowling the stage like a lion unable to savage a nearby herd of wildebeest. This time around, he comes across more like a hardcore Spiderman – zipping around the stage with barely a pause for breath, and that’s when he’s not actually down on the barrier screaming into the front rows.

Never slouches in the live department, Converge get through a good 20-odd songs tonight. ‘Sadness Comes Home’ (a highlight of recent album ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’) is already a crowd favourite, although – as ever – ‘Jane Doe’ era favourites like ‘Bitter And Then Some’ are the ones that really push the already-seething pit into overdrive.

Few bands find themselves making some of their best records after nearly two decades’ existence, but such is Converge’s position. No surprise that their fans are as devoted as they come, and on tonight’s evidence, that shouldn’t change anytime soon.

Alex Gosman

Touché Amoré – Live

London Barfly
27.02.12

Touché Amoré’s ‘Honest Sleep’ provides the most emo of emo moments tonight at the Barfly. Exceedingly earnest in a way that is both endearing and slightly unsettling, the band have a dedicated crew of followers hanging on their every word at this show.

The aforementioned offering prompts shout-alongs from the audience to the emotive lyrics ‘I’m losing sleep, I’m losing friends’. In fact, pretty much every track blasted forth tonight is met with an enthusiastic, fists-in-the-air, screaming-lungs-out kind of a reaction. Everyone present loves this band. And Touché Amoré are more than receptive to the crowd’s willingness to participate, expressing their gratitude at being there and putting their all into an energetic, if a little short, set.

There is an eerie quiet that comes over the venue in between tracks as the crowd awaits further words from vocalist Jeremy. However, listen closely and you can hear people discussing the band’s lyrical content. Nobody is going off the topic of the band tonight. If you thought the crowd was fervent during the band’s main set, you hadn’t seen anything until they return for a much-encouraged one-song encore of ‘Cadence’. This time Jeremy abandons his mic, putting him on an equal footing with each and every person in the crowd tonight, a fact that they relish and everyone partakes in one last group-voiced emotional pouring out before filtering out of the room.

Touché Amoré’s ability to hold a captive audience is undeniable. Their raw emotional power and cutting riffs make for a crushing live experience, in the best possible way.

Winey G.

Touché Amoré frontman starts new label

Jeremy Bolm of Touché Amoré has started a new multimedia label called Secret Voice.

The label is a partnership with Deathwish Inc. and the frontman said of the deal:

“It’s an excuse to release different things that I fully believe in, whether it’s a record, book, video, etc. I have been lucky enough to spend most of the last few years traveling, and in my travels I have met a lot of talented people and seen a lot of fantastic bands that have influenced my decision to get this project off the ground.

When we were in Europe this last Summer I made the mistake of forgetting my music and books in our van back in the states. This lead to a lot of time to think about what else I wanted to do with my life aside from Touche Amore. I’ve always dreamed of working at a label, so what’s better than starting one with your friends helping you out?”

Single Mothers will be the first band to release on Secret Voice, with their self-titled EP, a song from which you can hear below:

SINGLE MOTHERS “Winter Coats” (on Secret Voice) by deathwishinc

Live Review: Touché Amoré

Touché Amoré w/ Lighthouse / Throats
Old Blue Last
21.11.10

Coming to the UK for the first time can be a daunting experience for international bands. Although undoubtedly exciting, playing foreign cities to a room full of strangers has the ability to deflate or add gusto to a band’s performance. In Touché Amoré’s case, their cause is strengthened by a stellar selection of support bands, and a loyal fanbase garnered off the back of their exceptional 2009 LP ”…To The Beat of a Dead Horse”.

Warming up the crowd are Throats, playing yet another London show in support of a debut album of their own. As the band struggle to fit all of their equipment on stage prior to playing, it seems inevitable that they are struck by technical problems midway through their set. Although this makes for a slightly stumbling performance, as ever Throats are hugely impressive when in full flow. Up next are German hardcore outfit Lighthouse, who had partnered Touché Amoré on the rest of the European tour. Having no prior knowledge of the band I wasn’t sure what to expect, yet come away completely won over by their lively performance.

This leaves Touche Amore to round off the night with a show stealing headline performance. The band are met with a hero’s welcome, as they play the bulk of songs from “…TTBOADH”, both contributions to their split with La Dispute, and even a new song from their forthcoming album on Death Wish. Highlights come when the instruments are broken off, leaving the audience to shout the band’s lyrics back at them in moments of pure euphoria. A great example of this comes in the bridge section of ‘Cadence’, which sees TA’s singer jump down into the baying crowd. Set closer ‘Honest Sleep’ is another of the best moments, bringing the night to a close with the triumphant chant of the song’s final refrain. As the band leave the stage promising to return next year, Touché Amoré have marked themselves out as the hardcore band to watch in 2011.

Sleekly Lion

La Dispute & Touché Amoré

Searching For A Pulse / The Worth Of The World
No Sleep Records

Two of the pre-eminent members in burgeoning Post-Hardcore scene ‘The Wave’, La Dispute and Touché Amoré release this brand new split 7”inch Searching For a Pulse / The Worth of the World. This pairing of some of punk’s most exciting young blood means expectations are set high, but the two bands meet them convincingly.

Touché Amoré kick off the split with I’ll Get My Just Deserve, which is boosted by the contributions of La Dispute’s distinctive vocalist Jordan Treynor. The ascending guitar melody injects the track with a great sense of urgency, which is just as well, as like most of Touché Amoré’s material the song is over in a flash. But it’s the vocal interplay between the two singers that is most impressive about the record’s first half, and although very brief, hints at the further potential of this collaboration.

La Dispute offer the weightier half of the release, which picks up where their immense 2008 debut left off. How I Feel is the heavier of the two tracks, working around up-tempo guitar riffs before breaking down into an epic shouting contest between the two vocalists. The 7”inch is rounded off by the slower paced Why It Scares Me, the record’s calmest offering which puts emphasis on Treynor’s lyrical sprawl. Whether or not you like La Dispute, or indeed this record, will ultimately hinge on what you make of Treynor’s melodramatic vocal style.

Personally I like a little melodrama in my hardcore, and few do it better than both La Dispute and Touché Amoré. As expected, then, this split is one of the year’s standout punk releases and promises much for the next full lengths from both bands.

Sleekly Lion