Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, AUS, 19 Oct 2014
By Rahul Menon
22 October 2014
Torche may not be the most popular band in Australia, but they definitely should be. I for one was very keen for this show because I simply knew from listening to their songs that they would sound huge live. I ended up completely underestimating just how huge they would sound, and I can still feel my body shaking from the gig last night. It was a glorious night at the Oxford Art Factory, made even better by the fact that the opening bands absolutely killed it!
Starting off the proceedings was Sumeru. I hadn't listened to these guys before but I had heard good things about them. They completely surprised me with how good they actually were. They have this hard rock / stoner vibe to their music with some pretty upbeat vibes. Those rocking tunes combined with great stage presence ensured that they made a lot of fans on the night. Great melodic riffs, still heavy, and they make you want to move. The drummer was a class apart - relentlessly pounding away on the kit, hitting everything in sight. You give him a 20 piece drum kit, he will find a way to hit all 20 pieces. They were really energetic and kept inviting the crowd to get involved. The crowd was initially on the quieter side but they eventually warmed up to the music. The band, however, were completely rocking out on stage. From the very first song, everything seemed perfect. The sound was spot on and the band looked like they were 'in the zone'. This is a band that you should most definitely get into as I expect big things from them in the future.
Next up were the mighty Lo! I'm a big fan of this band, and I always try to not miss their shows. They had a different vibe from Sumeru. While Sumeru were more upbeat and 'rocking out' music, Lo! are on the darker side, mystical and magical. Everyone in this band stands out, but it's the vocals and the vocalist's on stage personality that stands out a little more than the rest. His growls are absolutely huge and he looks kinda possessed while performing. The bass was loud and shaking the venue, the drummer was attacking with great grooves and the guitarist with great heavy catchy riffs. Their music almost sounds ritualistic, and is very confronting, dark and haunting. There is a good deal of progression in their music and their performance was spot on - nearly flawless! Lo! is the kind of band whose performance you wouldn't want to see come to a close. The more you listen to them, the longer you want their set to go on. They definitely had a few fans present on the night and made new fans as well.
Finally on stage came Torche who delivered a relentless set. The energy in the room was already high and these guys took it to a whole new level. They barely stopped between songs to take a breather – it was just nonstop music.
They have a heavy sludgy stoner rock vibe to their songs and people were rocking out to their music. The drummer Rick Smith was so energetic and his stamina is commendable. The riffs from Steve Brooks and Andrew Elstner were spot on and the bass from Jonathan Nunez - oh that bass. So beautiful and loud. The crowd got pumped with every song and each song got a great response. No Australian tour is complete without a band dropping the C-Bomb and Steve yelled out - "Come on your cunts!" which was received with a roar from the crowd. They thanked the crowd for coming out, and the promoter for bringing them although they hilariously stuffed up his name. Life Is Noise promoter is Dave Cutbush, and Steve called him 'Catbush' and then went "Oh My God! Did I really just say that!" (Sorry Dave). They then continued their assault.
Torche's music has progressed over the years. They initially started with absolutely heavy sludgy grooves and their later albums has seem the heaviness tone down a little bit (still heavy), more crazy patterns and their latest album Harmonicraft saw a rather upbeat vibe. In the later part of their set they unleashed those old heavy songs and wow. The venue was shaking. I was leaning against the sound desk and my whole body was moving - the intensity of that bass was a whole new level of heavy. I feared for the venue collapsing but it made through their set in one piece. They played a whole bunch of songs in their set but the song "Harmonslaught" was unbelievable. They did an encore and ended their set in style with the band going nuts, and bassist Jonathan swung his arm and - sounds off, lights out!
Overall, it was a fantastic show with a decent crowd. There really should've been more people for this show because it was music that a lot of people would enjoy. Amazing effort from the supports as well! Check out all these bands if you haven't, you won't regret it!