REVIEW: ROLO TOMASSI AT BRISTOL FLEECE (21/10/12)
The first stop on their 11 day tour across the UK showed little in the way of nerves or rust; rather it served as a proving ground to both the crowd and themselves. Lead vocalist Eva Spence thanked the crowd halfway through the set, ‘for still caring’ which was met with a roar appreciation and a cue into a new track from their upcoming release, Astraea.
Rolo Tomassi, a five-piece group from Sheffield, cross multiple genres and draw on influences that are as eclectic as their sound. With elements of progressive, hardcore, jazz, math rock and more, the group gives themselves a huge challenge to perform with such intensity and cohesion.
Spence’s juxtaposition between guttural screams and visceral croons are accentuated by her elegant but fierce stage presence, engaging you both sonically and visually. On the night, the band, especially bassist Nathan Fairweather, brought the systematic chaos of Rolo Tomassi into a nice head banging package.
The most interesting element of the band is how accessible they made a sound that would often be met with glances of confusion to those not familiar with the genre. Walking a tightrope between abstract and strict form, each song, both from new and old albums, felt fresh and distinct but not unconnected. It’s easy for any band, let alone heavier ones, to sound muddled and repetitive but Spence and the rest of Rolo Tomassi used tight transitions and a desire to perform to orchestrate their set.
Tracks like ‘Kasia’ and ‘Party Wounds’ built on progression and building a tempo to a fever pitch and then bringing back in the explosion of screams, synthesiser, and crashing drums displaying a mastery of their musical form and performance. With the release of Astraea, their 3rd full length album, they might not appear as a young band on paper, but their raw sound and intensity exudes an intense emotional and youthful attachment to their creations.
Again, this personal investment in the set may come from the upcoming release of their new album or from the start of a new tour; regardless, it left a strong impression and was fun to behold. They truly performed their songs, not simply playing them for the audience making it well worth the price of admission.
While they may have expressed concerns as to whether their appeal had faded, it was clear by the end of the solid set, they had nothing to worry about.
Words and photo: Albert Testani
by 247 Magazine