I’d discovered these a few months earlier and was instantly mesmerised by their energy, noise and playfullness. Not to mention Eva Spence: a pretty girl, with a gut-wrenching howl. You have to see her to believe her capabilities.
Date: April 20, 2009
Venue: Bodega Social
It’s normally possible to slot bands into verified genres. Rolo Tomassi, though, are no normal band and simply refuse to be pigeonholed. These Sheffield deviants take math-hardcore, progressive punk and the Rainbow theme tune to dizzy heights before slamming them all into one noisy maelstrom, defying the very blueprint of rock music.
Strange alien squiggles are forged from what sounds like a Fisher Price keyboard; guitars churn, crunch and throb before suddenly spiralling into acid-jazz, and drums and cymbals are furiously battered while band members plunge themselves into the moshpit, endangering their lives in the process.
It’s the kind of music you might expect to hear in Hell.
But what about the vocals? Well this is the best part.
Eva Spence looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth; she’s pretty, diminutive and vacant-looking.
But when she opens her mouth the most guttural roars are set free as she emits bilious low tones which fans of Slipknot would cherish, and turns from cute kitten to rabid Rottweiler in one move, growling down her mic with caustic yelps.
Rolo Tomassi eschew recognised musical formulas or patterns. They care little about time signatures or song structures. It’s messy, it’s confusing, it’s at times completely perplexing, but it’s absolutely compelling.