I arrived just in time to see the first support band finish in a welter of ‘power electronics’ (I believe that’s what the young ‘uns call it). Therefore I cannot offer an unbalanced and objective summary of their performance. So I won’t then. On to Iron Witch. For some confused reason I thought they were American hardcore outfit Polar Bear Club, who the internet said were the support for Torche. Lying fucking internet, with its pictures of naked ladies and random facts about tropical fruit and genocide. I kept thinking ‘the singer doesn’t sound American, he kind of sounds like he’s from somewhere in Northern England’. It later transpired that my suspicions were indeed right and the band were not some well-heeled US post-HC kids but instead a dirt-poor scouse act who do Eyehategod impressions in any two-bit toilet that will let them play. And let me tell you this, they may not be in any way original, but they do have a real affinity for belting out the sounds of the dope-fried Deep South of the States. I liked them actually, they could kick ass, but they do need to, ahem…find their own sound. I’m sure they will, over time. Otherwise Mike Williams and Jimmy Bower will sue them.
Torche? Never been sure how you pronounce it – as in those things that light up or ‘Torsh’. I’ll have a look on the lying internet later – there’ll be an interview with ‘em on PooTube no doubt. I got right down the front, just by the right speaker (my customary position at Moho Live) and enjoyed a fantastic view of Steve Brooks in his so-vile-it-worked Hawaiian shirt throw outrageous rock shapes and Eddie Van Halen-style postures over his guitar like a poodle-haired eighties axeman of titanic aplomb.
I’ve never creamed over Torche like many do but the great thing about gigs is that you can see the conceptual point and meaning of a band – the wholeness of an act. In essence Torche the live act merged with Torche the recorded act and I understood what they were about – FUN!! Yes that three-letter word that is so much the stark anathema to many gloomy doomy British acts (which is fine too – we don’t want every fucker enjoying themselves in public do we?). Brooks and co love to rock out! They dig summery pop tunes and heavy fucking riffs in a way that the Foo Fighters could only dream of nowadays.
Opening with the jolting punch of newie ‘Letting Go’, Torche ran rampant like sugary lions dunked in a tasty blend of Floor (no surprise)/Black Sabbath/Melvins/Cheap Trick for fifty solid minutes. Not once was I slightly bored or distracted by images of internal porn or thoughts about global catastrophe. Their enthusiasm for what they do was infectious; Torche clearly get a real Kung-fu kick out of blasting through their lovely candy-coloured back catalogue like a lightning juke-box ransack and giving the punters down the front something to punch the air about.
Not sure about the new album though – I purchased one at the gig for a tenner. Lovely cover, as per usual, but I’m not convinced that the hooks stay in your head like on previous outings. So doubts about their loss of creative muse aside, I lapped up their super-duper muscular show of boss tuneage. Peppering their set with sugar-blasts from new album ‘Harmonicraft’, Torche treated the bouncing throng with head-punchers like ‘Grenades’, ‘Healer’, ‘Across the Shields’, ’Piranha’, ’Sandstorm’, ’Safe’, ‘Mentor’, ‘King Beef’, ‘Charge of the Brown Recluse’ and ‘Tarpit Carnivore’. How heavy is that last track? And how much pop-perfection is encapsulated within the entirety of ‘Healer’? It’s fucking perfect. Respect due to Torche then – I loved ‘em and I just hope that one day they can return to the brilliance of their first album (although ‘Meanderthal’ is pretty hot too). And if they can’t, I forgive ‘em.
Like Kylesa, they are one of those few Southern States bands that triumphantly mix indie pop with brutal sludge dynamics and dust it all with pseudo-psychedlica, and I LOVE IT. Go see them before you die!
Scribed by: Adam Stone
Photos by: Lee Edwards