“If you keep buying the tickets, we’ll keep coming back!” – a simple statement, but one that rang true for a room full of loyal Rolo Tomassi fans at Camden’s Electric Ballroom on Wednesday night. Playing their biggest headline show to date at the London venue, the Sheffield-based five-piece spent the final night of their recent European tour in front of an appreciative and energised crowd.
Formed back in 2005, the band – comprised of Eva Korman, James Spence, Chris Cayford, Nathan Fairweather and Al Pott – have enjoyed the type of hard earned, admirable longevity that is rarely afforded to bands in any music scene, especially those in alternative spheres. After Wednesday night’s performance however, it’s easy to see why Rolo Tomassi have kept their fans coming back to shows after almost two decades of playing together.
Opening their set with atmospheric anthem ‘Almost Always’, the all-encompassing, swelling guitar sounds and Korman’s measured vocals were enhanced by an impressive light show. It set the precedent for a night of nuanced, commanding sound that was executed with tenacious, distinctive Rolo Tomassi flair. Korman’s elastic vocal range was unsurprisingly, hugely impressive. Her cord-ripping screams were contrasted with softer moments throughout the set, and made all the more potent by the crystalline, visceral walls of sound her bandmates conjured.
The setlist was comprised predominantly of tracks from the band’s recent album, Where Myth Becomes Memory, including ‘Closer’, ‘To Resist Forgetting’, ‘Labyrinthine’, ‘Mutual Ruin’, ‘Prescience’ and an encore of ‘Drip’. These were balanced alongside offerings from 2018’s Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It, (‘Aftermath’, ‘Rituals’, ‘A Flood of Light’, ‘Contretemps’) and interspersed with a handful of songs from 2015’s Grievances (‘Opalescent’ and ‘Stage Knives’). All received enthusiastic reactions from the crowd, with hands and horns in the air throughout the show.
Before Rolo Tomassi took to the stage however, their fans turned up early for sets from hotly tipped support acts Heriot and Holy Fawn. The latter, who were playing their second ever UK show, expressed a heartfelt gratitude to the headliners and the spectators for giving them such a warm welcome. The Phoenix-based four-piece delivered a genre-defying set packed with sounds that captivated and obliterated in equal measure.
Formed of Ryan Osterman, Evan Phelps, Alexander Rieth, and Austin Reinholz, Holy Fawn have a collective intuition for balancing perfectly timed, blissfully noisy drop ins alongside more shadowy, majestic sounds. This state of emotional flux is something the band captured on their recent album Dimensional Bleed, and it’s one that translates beautifully in a live setting.
Whilst the gentler, more ethereal elements of Osterman’s vocals were occasionally lost in the mix, his screams cut through perfectly. From the bruising nature of heavier tracks like ‘Death Is A Relief’, ‘Blood Pact’ and ‘Dark Stone’, through to their more melodic offerings ‘Arrows’ and ‘Seer’, Holy Fawn’s magnetic sound resonates long after listening.
Together, Rolo Tomassi, Holy Fawn and Heriot provided a welcome headrush of visceral, raw, intricately delivered noise to an attentive fanbase who will no doubt return in their droves when future tour dates are announced.
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