Rolo Tomassi – Camden Barfly

By Tom Aylott

The banner at the Barfly’s stage rear reads “Everyone remembers their first gig” (I certainly remember mine, it was Deftones and A Perfect Circle back in September 2003. It was great, thanks for asking), and tonight a band more of the age experiencing their first gig rather than commanding a room are the first up on this Yorkshire triple-bill.

Initially, the disgustingly young MARMOZETS struggle to find their feet – their full effect is a little lost amidst some awful sound, but coruscating riffs and the powerful vocal of frontlady Becca shine through. Underneath the ADHD time signatures lies a heart of raw pop-punk – this band are youthful exuberance at its best and one to catch before the inevitable limelight arrives.

Next up are HAWK EYES, formerly trading as Chickenhawk. Their thoroughly British take on Every Time I Die, flecked with a little McLusky and Queens Of The Stone Age, provides mere flashes of entertainment and never really moves out of second gear. Coming across as Lower Than Atlantis for adults, this group promise much, but only deliver adequately. Though not as dramatic as the openers, they too suffer at the hands of the sound, and that may have spoled things somewhat.

Headliners ROLO TOMASSI, though, are a class above. Vocalist Eva Spence whirlwinds about the stage like a woman possessed, and songs old and new are rapturously received by a baying crowd. Highlights from 2010’s ‘Cosmology’, an incredible achievement of a record so early in their career, frame the set well, the Mars Volta-esque ‘Tongue In Chic’ pulsating mid-set and the title track from said album closing proceedings wonderfully. The old material, with its irresistible energy along the lines of Dillinger/Melt Banana still appeals, but this band have become an element unto themselves and the news they are off to record a third record couldn’t be more exciting.