Torche + Nothing + Wrong @ Bar Le "RITZ" P.D.B.

I've seen Torche twice before. The first time opening for Boris in 2008 (touring for Meanderthal), and the second time opening for Corrosion of Conformity (touring for Harmonicraft). So when I heard that they were finally headlining a local show, I was beyond excited.

Unfortunately, I arrived too late to see the first opening act Wrong, but having heard their EP Stop Giving after the show, I'm sorry I missed them. Their sound, which I'd say is similar to Helmet and Prong, is right up my alley. As a side note, I happened to be wearing my NoMeansNo "Wrong" t-shirt that night, so I was a lot of funny looks from people who weren't familiar with the classic album that shares the same name as the band.

Nothing came up next, and were quite good. They can be best described as a heavy shoegaze band, which is surprising considering they're signed to metal label Relapse. More than a few times, I found them reminding me of My Bloody Valentine (although nowhere close to being as loud as MBV).

Up next was the band I had come to see.

I was an instant fan of Torche the first time I saw them open for Boris in 2008. They were so loud and had such an amazing low-end bass sound, I could literally feel the sound in my body. However, it wasn't just the physical reaction to the music that drew me in, it was also that they wrote amazingly catchy songs. In fact, it's the pop sensibility in their music that has always been favourite aspect of Torche. Their previous album Harmonicraft really focused on this, and was my favourite album of 2012.

Torche are touring for their latest album Restarter, which alternates nicely between longer sludgy songs and shorter, catchier songs. Just like the album, Torche did the same with their set list. They started things off with "Piraña", "Sandstorm", and "Healer" (all shorter songs from Meanderthal), before they dove into their new material with "Minions", the first single from Restarter, a killer, slower song where you can't help but sway back and forth in unison to the beat. They continued to switch it up with "Loose Men", also from the new album, and then "Kicking" from Harmonicraft, all performed impeccably. The rest of the set was a nice mix of songs culled from the above mentioned albums, as well as a few songs from their self-titled debut. Notably missing were any songs from Songs for Singles and the In Return EP. Highlights included "Sky Trials" (one of my favourites), and the back-to-back heaviness of "No Servants" and "Believe It" from the new album.

Special mention should go to the sound guy because the sound was great throughout the show. You'd think such a bass-heavy band would get killed in the mix, but everything was clear. Also worth mentioning is the venue, Bar Le "RITZ" P.D.B. This was my first time there since they renovated, reconfigured the layout, and changed their name from Il Motore. The new setup with the larger stage makes so much more sense than the way it was before. Only negative would be that the sight lines to the stage are a little rough, especially without a sloped floor. I'm not a short guy, but I was having problems seeing the band.

Torche ended the set with "Annihilation Affair", the first song from the new album, and that's where I really noticed the aforementioned physical reaction of hearing this band live. You feel it in your chest and the ground rumbles beneath you. So good.

After a quick break, they returned and finished the evening with "Charge of the Brown Recluse" from their first album, and then "Harmonslaught" from the 7-inch release with the same title last year. Both slow burners, and a great way to finish the evening.

Torche albums are great, but you really haven't experienced this band until you've seen them live. Do not hesitate to see this band! You won't regret it.


--Every Thrusday night at 8PM, DJ Idle Matt plays the best in punk/hardcore/alt/indie/whatever-he-damn-well-feels-like-playing on a show he calls Radio Fun... because honestly, who doesn't like to have fun?