hmv.com reviews... Rolo Tomassi @ Cardiff's Clwb Ifor Bach
Epic noiseniks Rolo Tomassi hit up Cardiff last night (November 1st) and we were there to take it in...
Sheffield mathcore five-piece Rolo Tomassi, touring their critically helmed fifth album Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It.
Upstairs in Cardiff’s premier intimate venue Clwb Ifor Bach. When you feel that the floor underneath you is shaking; then that is clearly the sign of a good gig...
Was it full? And how were the crowd?
After first playing this venue almost ten years ago, they return back to Cardiff with their biggest crowd yet. What’s great to see and almost a rarity these days is an entire crowd that are not reliant on their phones, everybody is there and transfixed by the music on show.
So what was the set like? What did they play?
The band are only barely visible as illuminated silhouettes; as it begins with a sea of smoke surrounding them. There’s a sense of foreboding and darkness to it all as the drums build up and then we hear that iconic gnarly growl comes from Eva Spence. Rituals is the first taste we got from their fifth studio album and feels as though it’s about to erupt at any moment, which is nothing but a good thing.
The set's material is mainly taken from their latest two outings, which as albums almost work like Ying and Yang. Grievances, their 2015 effort acting as the dark and their latest Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It as the light. They also dip their toes into their wide back catalogue with 'Oh Hello Ghost' from their debut and 'Ex Luna Scientia' getting early outings in the set.
On stage, it looks as though we are seeing a completely new band evolve from anything they’ve done before. They all form together to create a sonic noise that feels like a huge progression from the sporadic early days of 'Film Noir' and 'Curby'.
That’s not to say that the madness still doesn’t ensue, it sure does on the likes of “Party Wounds”; opening up the floor to flying limbs. Every song is filled with some type of highly organised chaos in the best possible way.
This is most notable on 'Estranged', with all of the energy and noise happening on stage; it transpires the guitar isn’t even plugged in, prompting a restart of the song shortly afterwards.
Set closer 'A Flood Of Light' is announced as a “power ballad” in disguise and you can see where they are coming from; it’s at times euphoric and at others just pure headbanging brilliance.
Even after all of these years of being critically acclaimed and one of the UK’s best underground mathcore acts, they have somehow reached a new creative peak. It will be exciting to see what road they'll look to take next; whether they stick to their mathcore roots or follow an even more mature path that they are currently on.
Did they put on much of a show?
The show tonight feels as though they should be playing venues ten times the size of the one they are. However, we should be thankful that they are still performing these types of shows that generate such raw intensity.
What was the highlight of the set?
The Hollow Hour spans for over seven minutes but never does it feel a second too long. It’s everything that’s great about Tomassi and has the creative output in one song that most bands would dream for in one album.
Where can I catch them next?
Tonight they play Nottingham, before their biggest ever solo show in London’s Scala next Friday (9th). On the basis of their rise in the last year, it’s likely that we will see the record atop of many AOTY lists and bigger venues to come.