Last Night: Touché Amoré, Pianos Become the Teeth, Seahaven, The News Can Wait Sons of Hermann Hall November 7
Better than: Glenn Danzig's "performance" at Fun Fun Fun Fest this past weekend.
The persistent early evening rain did nothing to keep Touché Amoré's fans from making their way out to Deep Ellum. Yes, the Los Angeles five-piece was worth standing out in the rain before doors opened.
If you think it's impossible to have intimate hardcore shows in which there is zero division between band and crowd, this show would have proved you wrong.
Touché Amoré decided to set their gear up in front of Sons' stage, putting them at eye level with the crowd, who had already taken up half of the venue's hardwood floor. That simple decision alone was enough to get things off to a great start.
A few seconds into the band's first song, the crowd immediately started moving to the music and frontman Jeremy Bolm quickly disappeared into the crowd. Four songs would go by before the band took a breather, which meant Bolm would kneel down, breathing heavily and sipping water.
Almost 20 songs were delivered in 35 minutes, and while none of the songs passed the three-minute mark, they weren't kitschy novelty blasts. This was about quality and quantity.
Touché Amoré can be compared to a number of hardcore/metal heavyweights that have come before them. Bands like Converge, Cave In, Modern Life is War and The Hope Conspiracy come to mind -- and yet they have something more to them that keeps them on the varsity squad. Whether it's the moody interludes every once in a while or Bolm's clear yells, it all works in the end.
Two other national touring bands played after local opener, The News Can Wait, finished. The News Can Wait had a sound that recalled early At the Drive-In but also bands like Pop Unknown and Mineral.
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Seahaven did six songs in 25 minutes, tunes that tended to tip towards a style previously heard from bands like Spitalfield and Brand New. Yet it was Pianos Become the Teeth that overshadowed the other openers, with their spazzy, screamy theatrics interspersed with brooding post-rock found often in Isis. Lit only by four lights facing the crowd, there was pure electricity in their 30-minute set.
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Personal bias: I thank fellow writer Darryl Smyers for introducing me to Touché Amoré.
Random note: A few Spiral Diner employees were in the crowd. They brought vegan doughnuts for Touché Amoré and Bolm thanked them at the end of the set.
By the way: As Touché Amoré set up their equipment, drummer Elliot Babin played the hook from Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles" on the piano. People picked up on it right away and laughed.