Live: Torche at Propaganda, March 26
With Thunderbeast, Ether and Post Teens
Propaganda, Lake Worth
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Better than: What most ear plugs can handle.
There is something special about seeing an internationally successful, once local band play their old stomping grounds, and catching the sonic colonic that is Torche anywhere in the tri-county region is no exception. Though 3 of the 4 members of the sludge rock quartet currently call other cities home, they will always be a band Miami can be proud to call their own, and they certainly did right by us on Sunday in Lake Worth.
Propaganda Lake Worth turned out to be the perfect sized venue for this show, just large enough to be intimate with-out forcing you too close to that guy that smells like he's had that Melvins shirt on since 1988. Local opener Ether played a note-worthy set, sounding absolutely enormous via their wall of amplifiers and guitar tunings low enough to challenge those of Torche themselves. Definitely worth checking out for fans of bands like Isis and Neurosis.
Following two additional opening acts, Thunderbeast and Post Teens, the latter featuring Torche's Rick Smith on drums, Torche finally took the stage. This show was the final one of their ten-date tour, and there was a tangible release of pressure as "bomb notes" dropped from aluminum-necked guitars, apparently the only instruments strong enough to handle the onslaught of a Torche set. The room appeared to be a "doom pop" battlefield between the cigarette smoke screen, people yelling lyrics back at the top of their lungs, and the sonic equivalent of a squadron of B-52's flying forth from amps and speakers as they ripped into fan favorite "Grenades", kicking off a 16-song set.
The set was divided pretty evenly between selections from most recent release Songs for Singles, and 2008's Meanderthal, with "Rockit" and "In Return" being the only odd tunes out. The crowd appeared to accept the new songs well, many already having lyrics memorized. The new songs are a bit of a departure from previous efforts in their stronger use of melody over the more churning destruction many have come to expect from a Torche record. Regardless, most of the crowd could be seen head banging violently to the still very visceral rhythms of the new songs, produced by a band with a sound one can only call truly original. While their influences are worn on their sleeve, it is still an entirely unique noise this group makes, fusing together catchy vocal melodies with boisterous, thick guitars and pummeling drums, while never coming anywhere near the dreaded badlands of radio-rock most groups who attempt to fuse heavy and catchy seem to find themselves in.
This was South Florida's first time seeing Torche with new guitarist Andrew Elstner (formerly of Riddle Of Steel and currently in Tilts), who is now tasked with filling Juan Montoya's long empty and quite large shoes. It's probably a bit daunting to play to your new band's home town crowd for the first time; however, Andrew did an admirable job once he got past the nerves of the first few songs, and his band-mates seemed quite chuffed wit h their new member and his performance.
The show was aces, and it's difficult to have a bad time when it's so obvious the members of the band you're watching are having a great time themselves. These guys are very passionate about the music they make, and the show they put on really stands as a testament to it. Whether it's Steve's faces and 70's cock-rock guitar moves, John Nunez's attempts to break his own neck, or the utter hatred Rick appears to have for his drums, there is always something as entertaining to watch as the music you're are hearing, and in this case, physically feeling.
Critics Notebook Personal Bias: I'm a sucker for volume. Overheard: "Post Teens should've just named themselves 'adults'"
Random Detail: Steve Brooks' Father was in attendance, and according to Steve, it was Dad's 21st birthday.
Random Detail #2: Some dude in a Guy Harvey shirt (not the band, the fish guy) would not stop giving the band the surfs up "chaka brah". He did it easily 20 times over the course of three songs.
-Across the Shields
-Face the Wall
-Without a Sound
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