Cutting Pink With Knives and Rolo TomassiEdit this event
WEEDLY WEEDLY WEEDLY WEEDLY WEEDLY…
The front-row noise continues, growing louder; on stage, one of five is frantically trying to plug leads into the back of a keyboard. A keyboard that’s given out during the assembled quintet’s final song of a set that’s undulated from wickedly wild to disturbingly eerie of tone. He shrugs his shoulders and grabs a microphone.
WEEDLY WEEDLY WEEDLY WEEDLY WEEDLY…
The front row’s best attempt at replicating the Hammer Horror keyboard break in ‘Curby’ is rewarded when Rolo Tomassi kick back in with drums and bass and guitar and screams; the front row erupts in ecstasy, heads thrown back and fists punched skywards in celebration of, frankly, one of the finest new bands in Britain. The Sheffield-spawned five-piece are fresh of face and nerves do slip through the cracks of their on-stage demeanour, but their mash-up of hardcore punk-rock and something so wonderfully surreal that it defies true (i.e. hackneyed) categorisation is so utterly blissful that any technical gremlins can be ignored. This is a band that uses spirit and honesty to drive them from A to B, from the opening blasts of a song that’s over before it’s begun to the combustive anti-anti-climax conclusion of their first London show in six months. Their fringes aren’t compensating for a lack of talent. They’re not here to be scene.
Samples are drowned by frenzied four-string assaults on the senses; twin vocalists James and Eva spit and curse, high-pitched and completely removed from the room. The latter of the two mic-wielders, a girl so diminutive and softly spoken you’d be forgiven for assuming she was in attendance to earn a girl guides badge, becomes possessed by an unseen force come the beginning of each song: she waves her arms as if in a trance, shimmying across the stage like an extra in a Kylie video before letting her larynx rip. Between selections she’s the voice of an angel; during the likes of ‘Cirque du Funk’ she’s a monster, a rabid creature hell-bent on terrorising the assembled throng into dumbfounded adoration.
They’re appreciative, modest and endearingly polite: James repeatedly thanks everyone for coming, for sticking around (even though Rolo Tomassi aren’t headlining tonight), and for simply enjoying themselves. He leaps into the crowd and straight back out again; no fists are thrown, but embraces are widespread. His label’s boss stage-dives, something that’s unlikely to ever happen at a Bloc Party show (no offence to the Wichita crew). Rolo Tomassi are a mighty gust of brilliantly fresh air in a sub-genre that breeds too many a carbon-copy of The Locust or Trencher (the latter act do headline tonight, but were recently reviewed here); they enjoy themselves and don’t take their very seriously good music too seriously for its own good, and we reciprocate. They might never be huge, or even attain the status of peers Enter Shikari and I Was A Cub Scout, but they’re comfortable with all the acclaim that’s come their way to date, and one feels that should their bubble expand further, they’ve the collective mindset to welcome each and every positive opportunity they’re offered.
The front row certainly agrees: WEEDLY WEEDLY WEEDLY they go, all the way home, wearing massive grins and buzzing to the adrenaline rush of seeing a genuinely fantastic up-and-coming act with the underground theirs for the conquering.
Photograph by Brooner; visit his Flickr page here. Rolo Tomassi play the DiS-curated DiScover Club at Notting Hill Arts Club, alongside Manatees and Down I Go, on February 17 from 4pm 'til 8pm. Click here for further details.
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