Live Review: Touché Amoré Give Perth a Cathartic Rollercoaster of a Show
It was a packed crowd that filed into Amplifier Capitol on the night of the 12th of July, grateful to escape the bucketing rain outside. The night promised a diverse line-up, with 90s grunge courtesy of local lads Glass Wave, indie rock from Turnover, and post-hardcore courtesy of the inimitable headliners Touché Amoré.
Glass Wave ensured the night got off to a good start. Bringing the Violent Soho and Love Junkies-esque vibes to the opening roster (the latter of whom was championed by one member via t-shirt), the band performed well as a unit and delivered an energised set that captivated me enough to check out their catalogue (note: it’s good). Following were Turnover, whose melodic soundscapes were the perfect balm for the heavier acts they were sandwiched between. Filled with slick guitar riffs and a tight rhythm section, the group played largely from their latest album (2015’s excellent Peripheral Vision), plus treating the audience to new single “Super Natural”, earning a warm reception from an appreciative audience.
Entering on stage to the sounds of Daniel Johnston of all people (I think), Touché Amoré were immediately firing on all cylinders, with “Flowers and You”, “~” and “New Halloween” immaculately setting the stage for what was to come. Just as you’d expect, Touché’s set was an energised and formidable display of expert musicianship, with a palpable bond between the audience and performers. Vocalist Jeremy Bohm frequently handed the microphone to fans to scream lyrics into, while occasionally embracing or grasping the hands of ecstatic viewers; which was exactly as cathartic as you’d imagine. About halfway through the set, Bohm delivered a short “personal note” on the importance of playing in Perth, with their last show on our shores being the first after the death of his mother (the topic of their exceptional latest record Stage Four, one of our albums of the year in 2016). This was greeted by huge cheers and probably more than a few tears.
Everything about Touché Amoré’s set was on-point. Elliot Babin is an absolute force of nature on the drums, delivering fill after killer fill while keeping the band together as they chugged and soloed away. Frequent tempo shifts and a consistently manic pace helped demonstrate each member’s mastery of their instrument. Meanwhile, Bohm’s impassioned screams were powerful to witness, with a stage presence to match. Whoever was on the soundboard also deserves a massive shout-out; these types of shows aren’t easy to capture, but the mix was absolutely perfect; the cheers that greeted Bohm’s thanking to said mixer were testament to this.
As expected, the band mostly played from Stage Four. However, fans of their back-catalogue were not disappointed, with highlights from all four albums given their moment, from “The Great Repetition” and “Method Act” to “Just Exist” and “Harbor”. Every now and then, archival samples were played over ambient instrumental interludes between songs, creating an almost ghostly atmosphere. One of their earliest songs “Honest Sleep” capped off the night perfectly, with Bohm allowing the audience to shout the final verse unaccompanied to create one of the most powerful moments of the night. Touché Amoré clearly loved being here, and man don’t we love having them.