The Roadhouse, Manchester is not the biggest venue in the world. In fact it is one of the smallest venues to grace the streets of this Northern city. One room, with a few doors and a bar is the blueprint for the layout and instead of a gap or barrier separating the audience and performers, there is just a small ledge, that can easily be hoped over with one flick of the leg. Luxurious it is not, but what The Roadhouse lacks in style, it certainly makes up for in the calibre of bands that have graced its petite stage. Blink 182, Biffy Clyro and The White Stripes are just a few big names that have played at The Roadhouse, who have gone on to become notable successes and made worldwide names for themselves.
Rolo Tomassi are the headliners tonight and whilst they may not be as big as the names above, they do seem to be making a good impression in all the right places. With raving reviews, about not just their physical offerings but their live shows as well, Rolo Tomassi are fast moving up the ranks. Another band seemingly making waves wherever they go, are Trash Talk, with their hardcore brand of punk and destructive live shows that have caused many people to stop and take note of the talented foursome’s unique style and sound.
Before either of these bands can be unleashed however, its time for first act of the night Throats to start us off. Like the headliners, Throats are also from the UK and with tours aplenty and a spot on the Ghostfest bill in June, Throats are a busy band. For all their hard work however, tonight they just cant seem to rile the crowd with their fast-paced brand of Grindcore, which in all truthfulness does get more and more repetitive and boring as the set goes on.
The audience clearly share this sentiment too and when they attempt to gather some life from the people in front, their shouts and squeals of enthusiasm fall on deaf ears. Technically however, Throats do show tonight they have the ability but unfortunately, whether this is an occurring problem or a one-off issue, they lack the charisma on stage to really impress anyone tonight.
Next up is Trash Talk and the silence that fell before, is now well and truly lifted. Originating from Sacramento, California, Trash Talk have become a formidable force in the hardcore punk scene and with music as brutal and punishing as theirs, this quartet are not for the faint hearted. The crowd at The Roadhouse tonight however, know exactly what is about to be unleashed upon them and are waiting for it with arms open wide.
From the off Trash Talk are in top form, with songs such as “Destroy”, “Explode” and “Walking Disease” turning the audience from civilized humans into aggressive creatures and its not just the people on the other side of the barrier who are turning from Mr Jekyll into Hyde. Lead singer Lee Spielman also embraces this transformation, turning from relaxed front man beforehand to growling beast on stage.
Not content with just holding the microphone however, Spielman joins the onlookers on the floor throughout the gig, starting mosh pits and at one point actually picking people to follow him to the front, based solely on the band t-shirts they have on (Rolo Tomassi tee’s were the most visible) or whether on not they look like someone who can handle themselves. Still not happy, the front-man decides to climb inner roof of the Roadhouse for a short period of time, subsequently destroying part of its structure, whilst the band behind him thrash out an amazing set of hardcore punk, brimming with attitude and bursting with snarl. “Sacramento Is Dead” and “Leapers To Feed” are met with wild applause, whilst closing number “Birth.Plauge.Die” sends the audience into a near frenzy.
Trash Talk go off to all around murmurs of delight and so they should. A fierce and unruly set, that not only was fantastic to watch, but for many was immensely fun to be part of too. Up, close and personal a set as anyone could ever imagine, Trash Talk proved tonight why they have had so much praise showered down on them recently and why they truly deserve it.
To beat such an incredible set is going to take something special and thankfully Sheffield progressive hardcore rockers, Rolo Tomassi are on paper every bit capable of doing so. They may not be quite as hardcore as Trash Talk but what they do have is a loyal fan base and a stellar catalogue of music, that combines the screams of vocalist Eva Spence and fast paced guitar riffs with electronic splashes and keyboard dabblings.
It’s not straight forward music Rolo Tomassi but what they do specialise in is making noise and lots of it. From the off Spence and company are on top form and the audience respond with loud enthusiasm, singing and cheering throughout the set. Older track “Abraxas“ gets one of the biggest “woops” of the night whilst new material such as “Party Wounds” and “French Motel” are greeted with large applause and obvious enjoyment. The biggest crowd pleaser tonight though goes to “I Love Turbulence”, which gets the audience moving the most throughout Rolo Tomassi’s set.
Clearly enjoying their time on stage are the quintet themselves, who often converse with their fans through keyboard player and part time vocalist James Spence, whilst the rest of the band often exchange quick smiles at each other and genuine looks of a band revelling in the moment. What is surprising about Rolo Tomassi however, has to be the sheer volume and venom in vocalist Eva Spence’s voice, especially taking into consideration how small her frame actually is.
Proving that looks can sometimes be deceiving, Spence delivers a performance full of bark and howl, showing that its not just men who belong in the world of hardcore punk. Soon enough though, Rolo Tomassi’s time is up and for all involved it has certainly been a very energetic and very convincing performance by one of the UK’s brightest bands today.
There is no denying that tonight has been an all out hardcore affair and for anyone thinking of seeing either bands, they should prepare themselves for a gig like no other. Loud, brash and full of manic vigour, both Rolo Tomassi and Trash Talk are turning from young hopeful’s into blossoming bands, set for stardom.
Tonight however, Trash Talk did just manage to steal the limelight and whilst Rolo Tomassi may have pulled off a very strong performance inside this sweltering Roadhouse, Trash Talk have managed to give the people a show that they will undoubtedly find hard to forget and will almost certainly leave some of the audience drooling for more.
Original article first appeared on Altsounds website on 17/06/10