LIVE: Touché Amore / Angel Du$t @ Islington Academy, London

By Glen Bushell

With last year’s stunning ‘Stage Four’ Touché Amore reached a new, emotionally jarring level. With the unfortunate passing of his mother to cancer, Jeremy Bolm sought catharsis in the record, and immortalised her in song. It is a subject that hit home with many, and others were able to find solace in Bolm’s grief.

On this night, at the end of their first UK show in support of ‘Stage Four’, and as Storm Doris beats down upon a windswept London Town, Touché Amore play with the tenacity and heart that is unrivalled. The songs of their fourth LP come to life, and seeing Bolm wretch every word from his body with passion is nothing short of moving.

Before we get to that, Angel Du$t open proceedings by bringing a light to the shade of Touché Amore. On record, particularly their excellently titled second album, ‘Rock The Fuck On Forever’, Angel Du$t are a fun and exhilarating listen. If you were to blink you would miss them, as they waste no time between tracks and get straight down to having fun.

While it doesn’t quite match up to their recorded efforts, largely due to vocalist Justice Tripp not sounding quite as refined, ‘Stepping Stone’, ‘Toxic Boombox’, and ‘Headstone’ offer a good time. In a venue without a barrier Angel Du$t would have thrived. However, the energy of the band exudes from the stage and transposes into the crowd, leaving a feeling of enthusiasm all round.

Given the deafening roar that greets Touché Amore as they take the stage, it’s clear from the outset that the adoration people harbor for the Los Angeles band has only grown in strength. The chorus of voices that bellow every word of ‘Flowers and You’ and ‘New Halloween’ back towards the stage is redolent of the emotion in the bands songs, and it is a connection with the audience that few bands achieve.

Touching on every corner of their deep back catalogue, Touché Amore tear through a colossal twenty songs in less than an hour. ‘And Now It’s Happening In Mine’, ‘Home Away From Here’, and ‘Just Exist’ still sound as potent as the first time they were unveiled. It also shows how far they have come, refining their sound on the heart wrenching ‘Benediction’ and ‘Palm Dreams’.

As Bolm paid tribute to his mother in a speech towards the end of the set, he struggled to hold back tears while hoping she was proud. There’s no way she couldn’t be. For someone to bear their soul like he did on ‘Stage Four’ takes a lot of courage, and it has only enhanced the relationship between Touché Amore and those who hold them dear.

The most humbling thing about tonight’s show is how Bolm is visibly moved by the reaction to tonight’s show. This is their biggest London show to date, and with a work ethic like theirs, they deserve it. By the time they reach ‘Gravity, Metaphorically’, it closes out one of the most triumphant shows of Touche Amore’s career.