Live: Rolo Tomassi, Terrible Love & Elegies – Picture House Social Sheffield – 12.04.16

As the crowd shuffle into an almost full Picture House Social local band Elegies kick into their own brand of metal pulling from elements of metalcore, hardcore and melodic rock. Despite being the first band they manage to draw a reasonably sized crowd and show their appreciation with a high energy set. The bands twin vocal attack is in full force as both singer’s trade vocal lines with a high level of expertise. One vocalist stalks and prowls the stage whilst the other chooses to charge round the floor like a scrappy little Pitbull, belting out his lines with a ferocious tenacity. It also has to be said just how good the band’s sound is, the guitars sound monolithically huge as they bombard the crowd with a mixture of dirty southern tinged riffs and intricate melodies. The highlight of the set comes during the bands song Money, a track which features a highly simplistic but incredibly catchy chorus.

Second on the bill are Terrible Love, an emotional hardcore act who dive straight into a relentless punk rhythm with both guitarists thrashing away at their instruments. Their lead vocalist is clearly heavily invested in every single lyric and is not shy of showing his passion, thrashing about the stage and occasionally throwing himself into the action near the front. Each song is broken up by poetic speeches detailing issues based around family and home. The energetic quintets set flies by in what seems like a matter of seconds but for this period of time Terrible Love perfectly showcase what they’re capable of.

It’s difficult to breathe let alone move by the time Rolo Tomassi take to the stage. The venue is now completely packed full of people eagerly awaiting the band to tear through their catalogue of angular and expansive hardcore. As the abrasively strummed riff of Funereal begins the excitement of the Tomassi faithful, particularly those closest to the stage, is tangible. For a band with a reasonably substantial back catalogue it was interesting to hear just how much the band chose to play from their latest record, Grievances. However, there’s no complaints from the crowd as everyone in attendance is completely captivated by the bands performance with fans echoing every lyric.

Lead vocalist Eva Spence glides across the stage in an amalgam of grace and chaotic energy allowing herself to become completely enveloped in the band’s sound. When not at his synthesizer James Spence is equallty as frenetic flailing limbs and banging his head. Whilst not as physically involved the other members of the band perfectly complement their livelier bandmates. Bass guitarist Nathan Fairweather gazes out into the audience completely immersed in the music, seemingly unable to come out of this trance like state. Despite being the only guitarist Chris Cayford does an excellent job of providing the band with a substantial amount of heaviness. Along with this he never once seems to miss a single note, an impressive feat considering just how technically demanding some of Rolo Tomassi’s songs can be.

Although they may be playing inside somewhat of a small venue the band’s sound is simply incredible. Somehow this opinion wasn’t shared by everyone in attendance as one gentlemen, who had clearly taken advantage of the nearby bar, repeatedly shouted and slurred his disapproval. However, this didn’t seem to affect the band one bit and nor did it anyone else in the venue. One of the many highlights of the set was the ever awe inspiring Opalescent. The delicate keyboard intro combined with Eva’s angelic voice fills the room with an ethereal sound as the song builds towards its powerful crescendo. Due to this being one of the band’s first hometown shows in quite a while the group truly appear grateful for the positive reception they receive. As Eva notes her mother being in attendance the band go into one of their classic anthems Oh, Hello Ghost the only track heard tonight from their debut record. It has to be pointed out just how great this song goes down live as the entire room grooves to the funk laden bassline.

Closing out the set is the expansive seven-minute epic that is All That Has Gone Before. As the last few notes of the song ring out the band leave the stage to raucous chants of “We want more” before returning for one final song. In similar fashion Tomassi play yet another epic album closer, this time the song being Illuminare from 2012’s Astraea. It’s hard not to become completely entranced in this melancholic and beautiful anthem as the synth lingers on its closing bitter-sweet chords. The song proves to be an excellent show closer to a predictably brilliant Rolo Tomassi set.

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