Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Rolo Tomassi The Flapper by Graham Reynolds

Rolo Tomassi at the Flapper 19/04/2010

eaving a trail of destruction in its wake, the Rolo Tomassi headline tour rolls into its last port of call: the Flapper. Surprisingly it isn't sold out tonight, which is lucky for me as I hadn't got around to buying an advance ticket. Yet, despite this, the place is still packed to the rafters. After grabbing a pint of Red Stripe and trying to manoeuvre myself into a position where I can see the first act, Throats, take the stage. Well, I say the stage, their singer actually spent most of their set throwing himself around on the floor in front of the stage. Sadly, despite the energy these guys had they didn't do much for me. Their short bursts of noise remind me a little of Napalm Death, but not being much of a hardcore kid their 30 seconds of feedback and distortion did little to capture my imagination.

Trash Talk however were another kettle of fish. Rumour has it they got kicked out of the venue after playing. From where I was it looked like the guitarist started on the DJ or something. Anyway, it felt odd watching an American band (they are from Sacramento) as nearly all the bands I watch these days are from our home shores, but I was suitably impressed by their hardcore workouts which unlike the previous band had some good riffs going on to get my attention. Their singer liked to provoke circle pits around the room, which for anyone who has been to the Flapper will realise is near-lethal. He also had a penchant for grabbing fans by the head to let them scream down the mic. They were mental, and did have a real air of danger around them. I, for one, could understand why people like them so much. Certainly not a band I would listen to of my own accord, but as a live act tonight they worked well to warm up (most literally) the crowd for the mighty Rolo Tomassi.

I was little uncertain as of what to expect of Rolo this evening. Last time I saw them was one of the most intense gigging experiences of my life, an experience that cost me my brand new camera (lost in the mosh) and my dignity. Sadly, they don't sell the latter in Argos for £69.99. Since then, however, the band have holed up with Diplo and produced a new record. Now I quite like Diplo's work, but when I found out he was going to be producing Rolo I worried slightly. My thought was it would either be killer or catastrophic. Fortunately, if tonight's performance is anything to go by, the fans have nothing to worry about. The band thrashed their way through their set, sprinkling new material alongside tracks from debut
Hysterics. New tracks such as the excellent 'Party Wounds' show Rolo are as exciting as ever. They still remind me of Refused; it must be that guitar sound, or perhaps those jazz breaks which simply rule hard. The band seem also keen to prove they're not a one trick pony too, and some of the new material shows the band experimenting with their sound, such as in my new personal favourite, 'Kasia', which starts all post-rocky with chiming guitars before building up into a super-massive Envy-esque tune complimented perfectly by Eva's stunning vocals, backed by some oh-so-throaty screams from her brother. Finishing with 'Abraxas' it is clear to see why Rolo Tomassi are one of Britain's most formidable bands, both in technicality and originality, and from the sound of things Cosmology is going to be slaying some stereos when it comes out at the end of May.

By Graham Reynolds

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