Live! Touché Amoré @ Sound Control, Manchester 18/2/17
Touche Amore, Angel Dust and Departures arrive in Manchester on the third consecutive sold out gig of their UK tour and with the closing night in Europe being sold out too, the bands are more than warmed up and not one band disappointed, with all three being superbly on point.
Departures opened the night up relatively early, but for a gig starting so early, it was rather well attended for an opening slot at a small venue and the lads from Scotland were on form. Playing an array of their material, with a generous serving of current full length “Death Touches Us, from the Moment We begin to Love”. They open with slow and melodic yet still raw and emotional Sleepless, before throwing back to their 2014 “Split” which showcased the band, and Moose Blood, and we head even further back to 2012’s ‘Making Maps’. So far, the band have shown their brilliance from three separate releases, a blend of heavy hitting music blended with shining melodies and the emotion that oozes from the vocals. The band don’t let up on this, and aside from some minor technical difficulties, the band prove they’re destined for bigger things with another four tracks from ‘Death Touches Us’ including guest vocals on ‘Death of Youth’ by Rob of Azriel.
Angel Du$t erupt onstage with ‘Stepping Stone’ from their 2014 debut ‘A.D’. The Maryland punk/hardcore crew deliver their signature blend of fast paced hardcore punk, offset against the summer soaked riffs the band's songs are filled with and even at times poppy hooks, with most songs not even touching two minutes in length. As you can tell, the bands summery vibe, and extremely fast tempo made for a bouncy crowd. Where Departures gave us more of a taste of who they are with their current album dominating their set, with less than a third of the set from Angel Du$t exhibiting current album ‘Rock the Fuck On Forever’ with debut ‘A.D’ dominating the set. Yet there were no complaints from me or the crowd as Angel Du$t nailed what makes them great with the performance, the songs that make up the set are brutally fast paced yet the different elements that create the band's sound are all present, from harsh vocals, to more poppier vocal harmonies, fast paced riffs and brilliant melodies you wouldn’t expect from a hardcore band.
Touche Amore’s arrival to the stage was introduced by an audio track which silenced half the room, and had the other half screaming and cheering. Over the next hour or so, the band treat the audience to a set full to the brim with the band's back catalogue spanning nearly a decade. Both 2011’s ‘Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me’ and new record ‘Stage Four’ are heavily featured, yet for a band playing material from all their albums, you can’t tell that tracks from ‘Stage Four’ and even relatively new, the crowd goes wild from the very start of the set with ‘Flowers and You’ echoing back every word Jeremy Bolm sings to the now heaving attic room at the venue. The band’s support have done them well, Angel Du$t riling the crowd up with their fast paced bouncy set, and Departures set the tone for Touche Amore’s heavy yet melodic tone. Tracks from ‘Stage Four’ ‘Flowers and You’, ‘New Halloween’ and ‘Displacement’, open up the set intertwined with the shorter older style song structure of ‘Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me’, ‘~’ ‘The Great Repetition’ and ‘Art Official’. As I said, the reaction from fans was phenomenal, the response to an album released only a few months ago shows the dedication of Touche’s fan base, and is a great sign that they’re not slowing down ten years since forming the band. ‘... To the Beat of a Dead Horse’ and ‘Is Survived By’ are then thrown into the mix and the shorter heavy tracks get the same response that Angel Du$t did in getting the crowd off of their feet and the whole room is moving. A mix of the bands work ensues for the rest of the set, with not one song going down sour with the crowd. The band closes the night with 2008’s ‘Honest Sleep’ and the band have clearly nailed the set. For me however something was missing in the set, while the majority of the crowd had no issue getting worked up by the band's music, I felt onstage something was missing in terms of stage presence to get me full into it, while they brought their A-game in terms of musical performance, they failed to get me amped up as at times they felt somewhat stagnant on stage.
The band return to the stage for an encore for a rendition of stand alone single ‘Gravity, Metaphorically’ and here there is more energy that I feel has been absent from parts of the performance, and yet again the band more than deliver a perfect performance musically.