LIVE: Touché Amoré / Gender Roles @ Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

By Liam Knowles

Festival season is officially upon us, and so is the slew of side-shows and one-offs the international bands use to make their trips to our shores more worthwhile. Tonight, before they journey down south for their performance at 2000 Trees Festival, Los Angeles post-hardcore sweethearts Touché Amoré stop off in Nottingham for one of only three UK headline shows.

The venue is fairly packed and already pretty sweaty as sole support Gender Roles take to the stage. Their catchy but hard-hitting pop-grunge is well received by the enthusiastic crowd, some of whom are clearly already familiar with the band, and tracks like ‘Plastic’ and ‘Gills’ stand out as fantastic examples of the kind of quality songwriting these relative youngsters are capable of. This style of music has seen a bit of a resurgence in the last few years, but Gender Roles make it their own with off-kilter lead guitar work and interesting vocal arrangements. Combine this with their killer sound, infectious cheekiness and charming stage banter, and the Brighton lads may well have cracked the recipe for success.

Touché Amoré don’t waste any time as they launch headfirst into ‘Tilde’ (or ~), the crowd roaring back every word to revered vocalist Jeremy Bolm, particularly the iconic closing lines. The band barely take a breath before then breaking straight into a double-whammy of ‘Rapture’ and ‘Just Exist’, the closing lines of ‘I’ll just bow my head, and leave out the back’ echoing through the hall of ravenous fans.

The beauty of this band is that with their short songs and extremely memorable lyrics, there isn’t really such a thing as obvious songs and deeper cuts, just hit after hit after hit and the crowd eagerly laps up every moment. The majority of tonight’s set is made up of tracks from their 2011 breakthrough record ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’ and most recent (absolutely heartbreaking) full-length ‘Stage Four’, with a few choice numbers from across the rest of their back-catalogue.

Every song is delivered with the kind of breathtaking intensity we’ve come to expect from Touché Amoré, with angrier tracks like ‘Art Official’ and ‘Uppers Downers’ being broken up by the melancholy of ‘Praise / Love’ and ‘New Halloween’, the latter of which sees Bolm change the lyrics to reflect the real time that’s elapsed since his mother’s passing. It’s these deeply personal moments that make Touché Amoré a band that people flock to.

The main body of the set draws to a close with ‘Skyscraper’, which features some slightly dodgy clean vocals, but once it builds to the crescendo ending it more than serves its purpose. This is followed by a short, sharp encore of ‘History Reshits Itself’ and ‘Nine’, that allows the crowd to expunge their last few drops of energy before pouring out of the venue into the warm, clear air as the sun is setting; a fittingly pleasant end to a truly special evening.