Following on from the acclaim of ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’, epic noisemakers Rolo Tomassi are touring the UK with support from Palm Reader and Cryptodoria on what they described as their “biggest ever headlining tour.”Full of bouncy energy and enthusiasm, Brooklyn quartet Cryptodoria, open the evening. Switching between screaming and decent melodic singing, the band displayed good musicianship, tight breaks and interesting syncopation as they experimented with dissonance, multi-layered soundscapes and haunting minor key guitar lines.
Declaring it was only their second ever show in the UK and the crowd were already “doing better than Glasgow” they easily won over the medium-sized Manchester audience, who were respectful and attentive despite not knowing the songs.
Sporting a massive set of headphones, the drummer kept things steady at the back, providing some interesting beats and a solid rhythm section along with the stoic bass player, feet firmly planting on the stage unlike the other two. The lead guitarist was the most exciting and interesting to watch, barely able to keep still as he threw himself around, scissor kicked and added backing screams down the mic like his soul depended on it. By the final song, the lead singer was leaping about too as they led an appreciative crowd into the end of their opening set. (3/5)Announcing themselves as a “heavy band from the South”, Palm Reader wowed the audience with a slick, no-nonsense and brutal set of relentless noisy hardcore. It was an onslaught of thick guitars and a thundering rhythm section, led by the inimitable Josh Mckeown.
Standing on a monitor, one hand raise outstretched emphatically in the air while his three guitarists headbanged in unison behind him, Mckeown dominated the stage and commandeered the crowd, screaming in their faces, a dozen hands reaching up to try and touch him. The venue had filled out a little more by then and the crowd were beginning to warm up, with a few people sporting Palm Reader shirts who were obviously big fans of the band, and eager responses to a lot of their numbers, ‘By The Ground, We’re Defined’ being a particular fan favourite.
The band previewed new album, ‘Braille’, as ‘Internal Winter’, ‘Like A Wave’ and ‘Swarm’ get as much riotous applause than the old favourites off ‘Besides The Ones We Love’. Declaring how thrilled they were to be on the tour, Palm Reader left the crowd wanting more, a little sweaty from the mini mosh pit, and excited for the main act. (3/5)During the slow and dramatic build-up that led to Rolo Tomassi taking the stage, ‘Towards Dawn’ plays through the PA, creating an electric atmosphere full of anticipation. With people standing in front of the toilet doors and cramming themselves in wherever they could, they finally emerged to whoops and cheers, starting off their set with the pretty laid back ‘Aftermath’ before building up to the heavier stuff with ‘Rituals’, a song which brought out the first crowdsurfers and stage divers. With a set that heavily leant on ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’, the band played a slick and incredible set to the awe inspired crowd, the mosh pit frequently descending into chaos during the heavier moments.
Switching between spine-tingling screams and beautiful sweet clean vocals in a matter of seconds, Eva Spence danced around the stage, twisting and contorting her body, smiling happily and clearly enjoying herself. Backing screams were frequently provided by her brother and keyboardist James Spence. Although he spent most of his time hidden to the left behind his synths, tinkling the ivories, he did occasionally grab the mic and emerge out the front to join in with Eva. Their voices perfectly matched and complimented one another’s as they dueted, screamed together, and bounced about the stage.
Towards the end of ‘Estranged’, James climbed the Deaf Institute’s balcony before leaping from it at the song’s climax. After climbing back onto the stage, he complained that he dropped his mic but at least it “looked cool” to cheers from the amused audience. Eva was in good humour too, mentioning how excited they were to take Cryptodira to Wetherspoons since it was their first time in the UK, referring to it as “loony spoons”.
Ending their main set with ‘Balancing In The Dark’, the band left the stage to chants of “Rolo Rolo Rolo!” Eventually, they returned to end the night with longtime fan favourite – ‘Illuminaire’. There’s a very good reason why Rolo Tomassi are considered one of the most talked about bands in the heavy scene at the moment, and their insanely intricate and complex metal opuses are even more impressive to hear live. (4/5)