I Was A Cub Scout & Rolo Tomassi: Liverpool Barfly

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Getintothis favourites get their woggle out as eager young beavers show who’s boss.


Hype. What a joke.
We’re into the second week of February, barely having had time to salivate and digest the fruits of Winter, and already in last week’s broadsheets we’re reading about who’s hot for Spring 2008. A glut of hair cuts and alt-X Factory hopefuls making you blood sick.
Who’s going to be hot in 2011? I can tell you cos I’ve been there. There’s asphalt-skinned Zulus with tambourines made out of vulva with kick drums the size of ping pong balls transmitting sounds to make you deaf. The hype is huge, your ears will cry. And it’ll give you ill.
Then, all of sudden out of nowhere you find something worth faintly believing in. And you’re mildly embarrassed. Say nothing, and it’ll eat you up. Shout it out and you’ll look foolish – joining this merry band of Piper’s at the Gates of Dud.
So what to do…?
Ah, what the hell… Rolo Tomassi are quite simply the most life-affirming UK band witnessed in Liverpool for 18 months. It gives me a sense of ENORMOUS WELL BEING to recount to my unborn siblings I was there when Eva Spence – she of immaculate blonde barnet and arresting denim hot pants – funked and fucked her way through a set of atom-loaded grind punk that make Locust seem conservative. Alternating between My Bloody Valentine barely-there angelic swooning and guttural, larynx-swelling growling is impressive stuff – all the more arresting, given it’s coming from the body of a teen beau who’s neck veins are ready to burst.
Of course, over gravy pours, my extended family will also soon be akin to tales of how Joseph Thorpe grinned his way through an entire set of apocalyptic disco resembling Jack Nicholson‘s psychotic offspring while donkey-kicking the front-row, dry-humping the monitors and skimming his fret with a lightness of touch which had your ears throbbing to the sound of deafening bass pangs belying some kind of ‘is he really plugged in’ kind of attitude. Backed up by steady Edward Dutton on drums there’s a non-stop feeling of carnage and festivity about these Sheffield wunderkinds.
Then there’s Joe Nicholson, this undernourished prodigy that just stands there – but for the penultimate track – arrogance personified; safe in the knowledge that he’s good, and fuck, is he good. Twiglet digits dance up the neck of his instrument while his tongue jerks out of his mouth at intervals, lapping, lapping and lapping it up. Hood ALWAYS up. Cool as fuck. Oh, the joys of youth.
Then there’s Eva’s bro, James Spence, a wedge hair line the size of 1987, all post-punk but with the attitude and musicianship that underlined why Rolo Tomassi matter. If anything James’ want, and spirit, matter more than any craft or technicalities in tonight’s utterly incredible show.
If you want soundbites – imagine Battles with an MA in metal work. If you want your head blown believe the hype and swallow Rolo Tomassi.

Such is the overwhelming chunk on tonight’s starters menu, finding room for the main course was somewhat difficult. Particularly having indulged in I Was A Cub Scout cake all week.
Nevertheless, they didn’t disappoint. Opening with Save Your Wishes they stuck to wazzing through their debut offering to aplomb. Highs – a particularly frazzled Our Smallest Adventures and a rousing Pink Squares to finish it was gratifying to see how the two-man army of William Bowerman and Todd Marriott assembled their glorious offerings.
If there’s a criticism – and it’s a minor one – for a band that make the grandest of big tunes, they really need to either add more branches on stage or employ the savviest sound guys to fill those small spaces crying out for the riches.
On tonight’s offering I Was A Cub Scout soared but our minds were already blown to oblivion.

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