LIVE: Touche Amore

By Chris Marshman

It may be their fifth time visiting the UK, but for Touché Amoré, it’s the first time since ‘Is Survived By’ was released just a few months ago. Their powerful third album has seen the band’s fanbase widen further, and newer faces can be seen tonight at the Underworld, some older, some younger, but all restless until the LA outfit take to the stage.

Three members of that band are actually on stage by 7.45 though, with Touché drummer Elliot Babin fronting his new band Dad Punchers to open up the show, alongside Touché guitarists who are filling in on this tour. They’ve stepped into their stride so much more than when they nervously played in Brighton five nights before, and the welcoming and sizeable crowd are treated to their upbeat but emotionally mellow sound with warming versions of ‘Tire Swing’ and ‘Cul De Sac’.

The longer drawn-out post-punk vibrations of Self Defence Family were the reason some people decided to attend this show. Frontman Patrick Kindlon’s jagged movement and outcries take place to the three guitars that ring out brilliantly, particularly in the climactic end of second song ‘I’m Going Through Some Shit’, though between songs his bold attempts of wit lead some to cringe whilst others laugh.

“This is a show we’ve been looking forward to for a long time” admits Jeremy Bolm, frontman of Touché Amoré, to the sold out crowd two and a half years since the band last played in this venue. The affinity they have for this venue and part of the world is easy to understand given the atmosphere buzzing around them this evening.

Well known for punching out songs back-to-back in an unrelenting fashion, the band’s set is a full throttle affair fuelled by the enthusiastic drumming of Elliot Babin and the precise execution of the cleverly constructed guitar parts. Jeremy is still on form at the forefront, vocally and meeting the crowd head on to produce intelligent lyrics that explore more thoughtful and inspired subject matter than a lot of other bands. ‘Tildé’ and ‘Gravity, Metaphorically’ see the room yelling those such words back at them from front to back and a similar highlight is the huge sweeping latest single that is ‘Harbor’. Along with the almost post-rock inspired ‘Non-Fiction’, tracks like these display the band’s sound developing and expanding in a multiple of ways, but, as seen tonight, it doesn’t hold them back in their live setting, fitting beside older songers such as closer ‘Honest Sleep’ seamlessly.
Shows like these confirm that bands like Touché Amoré can successfully push themselves, for lack of a better term, to the next level whilst still managing to keep their art on track and integrity intact. This year has seen them produce some incredible music and though this isn’t quite the last show of the year for them, the reception they’ve been given tonight and their response is certainly part of a brilliant conclusion for their 2013.