October 11, 2017 Touche Amore Bring Down Bowery Ballroom NYC 10-3-17
With summer in the rearview mirror, fall season is here, and with it comes some exciting bands hitting the road. That said, autumn in New York City is one of the best places to be, especially when it comes to concerts. There are so many shows to fit into already busy schedules, but fans who made their way to Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 were met with an unforgettable night full of surprises thanks to Touche Amore and their friends Single Mothers and Gouge Away. A run that began up north in Canada on September 15th, the stop in the Big Apple is part of Touche Amore’s first headlining tour in some time, and now the band are able to pack bigger venues to the gills with enthusiastic fans.
First to kick off the night were Gouge Away from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Though the room was just beginning to fill, fans were immediately drawn to the band’s unique mix of Hardcore music with cutting emotional lyrics. Touche Amore Vocalist Jeremy Bolm has been a huge proponent of the band from the start, and has released Gouge Away’s latest 7” through his record label, Secret Voice. It only took a few songs for fans to begin moshing and crowding around the stage for a chance to scream along with Vocalist Christina Michelle as she charged through tracks from the band’s 2016 debut record, Dies. She got a huge reaction from the crowd when she stated that “Bleed” was a song about stabbing rapists, and fans launched into a mosh through the killer 30-second track.
From there, the band’s energy was infectious as they played through “Calloused” and “Uproar,” gaining more and more appreciation from the crowd as the set went on. Michelle often shared her mic, with fans singing along, and she and her bandmates made the most of the Ballroom’s cramped stage. Since there was no barricade that night, that gave fans the chance to really engage with Gouge Away as they finished their set with “Swallow,” a track from their new 7”. It was exciting to see such a promising young Hardcore band with a female vocalist – something that is far too rare in the music scene these days. Make sure you check out their music and pick up something from their Bandcamp because they are donating all proceeds to hurricane relief. If you did not already have a reason to look into this incredible band, now you have no excuse not to!After Gouge Away’s impressive display, it was time for the London, Ontario band Single Mothers. Since forming in 2008, the band has released two LPs, including their latest, Our Pleasure, released this past June. Like Gouge Away, Single Mothers has also worked with Bolm to release their debut self-titled 7”, making this tour something like a family affair. Vocalist Drew Thomson, Guitarist Justis Krar, Bassist Ross Miller, and Drummer Brandon Jagersky, complete with his own personalized kit, took the stage before the packed house and kicked off their set with “Undercover.” Their wild energy engulfed the room as the crowd gathered close to the stage to take part in another new track, “Long Distance.”
Taking it to the next level, when the band began playing songs from their 2014 debut album, Negative Qualities, like the drum-heavy “Half-Lit,” Thomson worked every inch of the stage with his performance. Making sure to engage with the crowd as they pressed in close to the stage during “Marbles,” another hard-hitting throwback, next, Single Mothers took it back further when they went into “Baby” and sent fans into a moshing frenzy.
Then, Thomson took a break to tell a few dog-related jokes (“What kind of dog does a vampire have? A Bloodhound!”), which went over well with a few in the hard-to-impress New York City crowd. Appropriately, after the dog jokes came the slow, hazy “Leash” came before Single Mothers closed out their set with “Money.” Fans kept the momentum going through this last song, and the room was buzzing as Single Mothers made way for Touche Amore.At this point, Bowery Ballroom was packed and humming with anticipation as fans eagerly awaited Touche Amore’s arrival. As mentioned, it had been some time since the band made a headlining appearance in New York City, though it had only been a few months since the band come through the city supporting the recently-reunited band Thursday. Since the release of their last album, 2016’s Stage Four, Touche Amore have been touring non-stop, and they are not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Additionally, since coming together in Los Angeles, California in 2007, they have released 4 LPs, several splits and EPs, and the band has played almost 1,000 shows together, all of which are archived on the band’s website. This night in Manhattan was number 986, and it was certainly one for the books.
Guitarists Nick Steinhardt and Clayton Stevens, Bassist Tyler Kirby, Drummer Elliot Babin, and Vocalist Bolm started off their incredible set with an emotional track from Stage Four, “Displacement.” Fans from all sides of the packed house surged toward the stage to get closer to the band as they raged through “Cadence,” a track from their 2009 debut LP, …To the Beat of a Dead Horse, followed by “Just Exist” and “Pathfinder.”
Moving onward, it was time for one of the first special surprises of the evening when Thursday Vocalist Geoff Rickly joined the band on stage for “Flowers and You.” Rickly has been a major supporter of the band since day one, even lending his voice to a track on the band’s debut album, so it was incredibly exciting to see this unexpected collaboration. To think the set had only just begun! Not to worry though, Touche Amore is known for short-but-sweet songs that are only a minute or two long, so there was still plenty of time left to pack in a mix of tracks from all of their releases.
Following the special moment with Rickly, the band kept up their incredible energy with classic tracks “Nine,” “Method Act,” and “Great Repetition.” Following, everyone went wild for a pairing of “Praise / Love” and “Anyone / Anything,” two of the best tracks from 2013’s Is Survived By before Bolm took a moment to talk about the band’s relentless touring schedule. For this tour, he stated that the band were excited to mix up their set lists and play some tracks from Stage Four that they had not played before.
Normally, the majority of fans respond more to a band’s older material, but this crowd responded enthusiastically to the likes of “Posing Holy,” “Palm Dreams,” and “Benediction.” All from the the latest album, Touche Amore supporters relate to the portrait of loss heard in Stage Four just as much as they do with the band’s earlier work. That is likely due to Bolm’s stage presence as he shares the microphone and gets up close and personal with the crowd, always eager to show that he supports them as much as they support the band. It is simply, truly wonderful to watch and be a part of.
Keeping emotions high, Touche Amore received one of the strongest reactions of the evening when they went into the unmistakable intro of “~,” the opener of 2011’s Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me. Then, after “Rapture” and “Is Survived By,” they wound down their set with a setting-appropriate track entitled “Skyscraper.” Though the band exited the stage to wild applause, they soon came back for another unexpected surprise as they brought out Title Fight Vocalist Ned Russin for a cover of Title Fight’s “Crescent-Shaped Depression” to close out the night. Inspiring an already ruckus room, crowd-surfers flew overhead and onto the stage to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was the perfect end to an unforgettable night.
Thought the New York show might have been extra special? Well, be sure to check out Touche Amore next time they come as they continue the tour now through October 18th. Their show is not to be missed!
Purchase Touche Amore’s Stage Four:
Purchase Single Mothers’ Our Pleasure:
Purchase Gouge Away’s Dies: