Touché Amoré, Balance and Composure and VOW
Is Survived By & The Things We Think We’re Missing Co-Record Release Show / Los Globos, LA - 9/25/2013
Two shows in two nights and three of my favorite bands add up to equal one experience I’ll never forget.
So I already gave you guys the rundown on the Title Fight/Balance and Composure show (9/24/2013 in San Diego). Well, the following day I made the short (but not so short) journey to Los Angeles to catch the Touché Amoré/Balance and Composure co-record release show at Los Globos. TA and B&C both put out records in September, and since B&C was on this side of the country at the approximate time of TA’s new album release they played a show together to celebrate the release of both bands’ new albums. After the announcement was made, and ticket sale times were announced I set an alarm on my phone to make sure I could score a ticket. The show sold out in three hours. I didn’t miss out.
I made the trip up to LA with relatively no problems. I say relatively because about five miles away from the venue I got stuck in traffic. According to the Maps app on my phone it should’ve taken me eleven minutes to traverse a five mile distance through the urban terrain. Wrong. I was in traffic for no less than an hour, and got to the show about forty-five minutes later than I wanted to. I was worried I was going to be too far back in the line to score a record release variant of TA’s new album, but that wasn’t the case. They had a pressing plenty big enough to allow the collectors and non-collectors alike to grab the exclusive copy. After grabbing that, scooping a tour press of TTWTWM for my brother, and paying the merch dude five dollars to hold my stuff for me ‘til the end of the show, I waded into the crowd. The bar banter and crowd chatter dimmed with the lights as the first band setup.
It was a short and sweet lineup. There was only one opener before Balance and Touché went on, and as if to match with the show the day before, the opener was not what I expected. VOW definitely seems like a band name you’d see on a flyer with Hardcore acts like Alpha & Omega, Rotting Out, or Reign Supreme. I was expecting something either along those lines, or with a sound similar to TA or B&C. Nope. VOW is a three-piece, female fronted, Synth-Rock band. I feel like if you combined Lana Del Rey with New Order and then some newer, hipster, Indie Rock band then you’d get VOW. But don’t take that as a negative combo of adjectives. VOW was pretty cool. The singer was nervous and missed a few notes here and there, but she had a pretty voice that seemed to float along with the music over the heads and through the ears of the crowds. Her voice was soothing and had surreal qualities with the effects they used. The music was played by a Bass/Synth player (who also handled the electronically programmed Drums) and a Guitar player who happened to be Nick from TA. The music was at times fun, playful, and Pop-esque and then in other instances it sounded eerie, trippy, and Hip Hop-ish. I really enjoyed VOW the same way I did Dakota Slingshot; not expecting anything, but being pleasantly surprised at the output.
Then, as if giving me an encore from the show the night before, Balance and Composure took to the stage to blow everyone away. Well, at least they blew me away. I loved Balance’s set just as much, if not more than the night before, but the LA crowd didn’t seem to be into it as much as San Diego was. I was a bit disappointed - in the crowd, not BalCo. There was little to no energy or movement from the crowd until about the fourth song. There were a few people here and there singing along, but the crowd didn’t take off for them until about six songs in. The only key difference I noticed in their set was that they played “Burdens”,which wasn’t played in SD, a personal favorite of mine from their split EP with Tigers Jaw. It’s one of my favorites by them, period. So I didn’t wait or rely on the crowd to get hyped. I took it there myself. I got some really good crowd surfing done towards the end of the song. The aggressive outlet of that one seemed to wake the crowd up a bit. The latter half of their set was filled with crowd surfers and kids screaming along. It was also filled with a older material which may explain the shift in the energy. Not to say that their new stuff doesn’t have a similar energy or aggression, but people are more familiar with the old stuff so they get more excited. The setlist was the same as the night before, old songs and new ones, minus the addition of “Burdens” I spoke about above. Jon Simmons and crew sounded just as good, just as electric, and just as impassioned as the night before (minus the wonky speaker that the previous night had been flawed with). You can tell the guys really enjoy playing their music and you can see how much they feel it by the way they jam on stage. There’s no horseplay or parlor tricks, just five guys doing what they love to do and giving it their all every time they do it. Sorry for the lame cliché, but my third time seeing Balance and Composure was definitely a charm.
My first time seeing Touché Amoré was just as wonderful. Unlike with B&C, where the crowd seemed to need some time to shed their anxieties and loosen up, LA blasted off right along with the band (it didn’t hurt that BalCo had warmed them up). From the first few notes and drum strikes of opening song, “Just Exist”, everyone was having a blast. Being the hometown heroes I pretty much expected everyone to be going nuts during their entire set. “Going nuts” would turn out to be the understatement of the night. There was crowdsurfing and crowd sing-alongs through every song, every lyric, all night! TA went as hard as they could, and the fans (myself included) followed suit. I’d seen live videos of the guys from tours all over the place, but it would be hard to describe the energy and feeling of this show (I’ll try anyway). The crowd (mostly anyone within thirty to forty feet from the stage) were moving, swaying, ebbing and flowing along with the music. The only people not moving laterally, were the ones moving vertically (or the people in the way back of the venue). I’ve never seen so many kids crowdsurfing at one time. Frontman Jeremy Bolm even remarked at one point, “I’ve never been so scared for anyone in my life”. It was getting pretty hectic for kids at the front of the stage, but no one suffered anything any worse than some bruises and minor scrapes (typical show stuff). Touché abided by the same type of setlist as B&C; mix stuff from the back catalogue and the new album to the contentment of everyone present. And they succeeded. They played songs from all three of their full lengths and almost every EP or split in between. My favorite songs played were basically anything from Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me, “Gravity, Metaphorically”, and newer songs “Anyone / Anything”, “Harbor”, and “Steps” (which features Jon from B&C, who came out and sang his part). I wasn’t familiar with the song they closed with, but the rest of the crowd made up for my lacking. They, with help from almost everyone in attendance, closed with “Honest Sleep” and it was one of the most impressive, intimate, intense moments I’ve ever been a part of. I really wish I’d known the words to help sing along, but just witnessing and being a part of the energy was fun enough. It was an excellent way to close an excellent set, and finish up an excellent show.
All three bands were good, but the two main acts were incredible. Balance and Composure is a young band that is honing their sound technically, creatively, and in terms of maturity. But for a band still learning some of the ropes they know how to put on a damn good show. Touché Amoré is a more experienced band with a heart just as young and just as full of love for the music they make and the people they share it with. Both bands were very thankful, very gracious, and very proud of each other. There were numerous remarks made by both Jon and Jeremy (during their sets, respectively) about how they’re proud of and thankful for their friends in the other bands. It was a show filled with excitement, energy, beauty, aggression, respect, emotion, and class. It is one of my most memorable concert/show experiences ever.
TA is back on tour (I believe) with AFI. B&C is wrapping up their run with Title Fight. Go catch one of these shows if you can. You won’t regret it.
Again, as always, thanks for your time and consideration. Listen to what makes you happy.
What’s up TumblrLand? I need a favor. I’m looking for pics from the two shows I went to this week.
I’m looking for two reasons :
1. I want to see cool pictures/videos from the show.
2. I want to see if I was lucky enough to be captured in any pictures/videos.
So if you or anyone you know attended the Title Fight & Balance and Composure show in San Diego (9/24/2013, at the Epicentre) or the Touche Amore & Balance and Composure record release show in LA (9/25/2013, at Los Globos) let me know! Link me, message me, etc. I appreciate it very much.
All photographer credit and such will be maintained. I’m not trying to steal your photos. I just like collecting pictures of myself (and others) enjoying the music that I love. It’ll make for cool stories for my kids, so thanks for helping me out.
Title Fight & Balance and Composure w/ Cruel Hand and Slingshot Dakota
Epicentre, San Diego - 9/24/2012
A couple of months ago when this tour was announced I was immediately excited. Title Fight and B&C are two of my favorite bands making music right now. I’d seen them both prior to this show, but only separately; B&C earlier in 2013 on their headlining tour with Daylight, and TF on the 2012 Warped Tour. With all the anticipation, Balance touring on a new record and TF about to release a new EP, it was a solid setup to a more than solid show.
Sometimes touring lineups get kind of monotonous. If the headliner is a Hardcore band, so are all of the other bands. If the headliner is a Hip Hop artist, then so are all the other acts, so on and so forth. That wasn’t the case here. All four acts are from Pennsylvania, but none of them shared the same sound. As a counterpoint to the above statement about monotony, sometimes when everyone is different it takes away from the cohesiveness of the tour or show. Also not the case here. The music was varied, but the energy was up (WAY up) all night. Slingshot Dakota, a two-piece, aggressive Synth-Pop (yes, aggressive Synth-Pop) band opened the night. They were unique and impressive. Fronted by a female vocalist with a pretty voice and some groovy keys/synth work and backed by a drummer who pummeled everything he played. I suggest checking them out. Cruel Hand followed with their brand of straight up Hardcore, and had the crowd going nuts. The biggest (and only) mosh pit of the night award goes to them. They were just as out of place, although it didn’t matter, as Slingshot Dakota, but no one cared. They played a super solid set.
Balance and Composure. Arguably my favorite band of the past two years. I discovered them around the release of Separation, and have been a huge fan since. I was beyond stoked to be seeing them again, and they didn’t disappoint. They’re touring off their new album, The Things We Think We’re Missing, so they opened with and mixed in some new songs. They started with “Reflection”, probably my favorite song off the new album, and the crowd was electric before the first words were sung. There were people crowdsurfing (myself included), people hanging from the rafters (myself included), and people singing their lungs out trying to match lead singer Jon Simmons’ intensity (myself included). I enjoyed seeing them in a smaller venue. The more intimate vibe totally works for their sound and style. They did a good job of mixing material from Separation and TTWTWM. They played the heavy hitters “Quake”, “More To Me”, and “Notice Me” while also settling it down for fan favorite “Stonehands”, and what is sure to be a new fan favorite “Tiny Raindrop”. The band sounded great. There was an issue with one of the venue’s speakers losing its low end every once in a while, which would deprive the Bass of some of its crunch and groove, but B&C are such a pleasure to watch and sing along to it wasn’t really a big deal. Jon Simmons is a force to reckon with live. He sounds great recorded, but he has vocals that need to be experienced live. The young man is a beast. And their guitar tones are built to be heard live. They improve upon album quality when playing live. I promise. Balance and Composure are one of my favorite bands to watch live, and this show (while only being my second time seeing them) strengthens that enjoyment.
How do you follow a great live performance by a great band? The answer for Title Fight is easy : be Title Fight. But this show seemed to be an off night for them. TF was plagued by technical difficulties. Ned’s mic only worked when it wanted to, and the speaker with the missing low end would do to TF what it did to B&C. It was a rough night, but they soldiered through and put on a solid set. Title Fight is also a band that I was excited to see in a smaller venue setting ‘cos it seems like it’s the type of show where they would thrive - it is. Their energy was incredible (even after Ned got hit by his own mic stand, twice), and the crowd loved every moment of it. The crowdsurfing that took place during B&C was taken up a notch by kids jumping out of the rafters for TF. That was a new sight for me. I wanted to partake, but alas, I was not brave enough to try as the set was winding down. Title Fight played all the songs you would want them to play. “Symmetry”, “Memorial Field”, “Loud and Clear”, “27”, “Society”, and the new(ish) jams “Secret Society”, and “Be A Toy”. Like B&C, they mixed the old with the new to great effect. They had a great set, and capped off a great show.
Title Fight was headlining, but it was my personal favorite Balance and Composure who stole the show (I’m slightly biased, but who cares). It was all around a good night to be a fan of music. There wasn’t any lame openers, no drama, no fights, just good music. All the bands had cool merch, but I only shopped the B&C and Title Fight tables (although I did want to get Slingshot Dakota’s album on clear vinyl). B&C has a tour press of their new album that’s on a red/white record that looks like a Pokéball if you hold it the right way, so being the record collector and nerd that I am I had to have it. If you get the chance I would highly suggest making it out to one of these shows. You won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for your time. Go support some cool bands and enjoy good music!
(Balance and Composure / Touché Amoré record release show write up coming up next. Thanks again!)
I’m currently working on a couple of write ups for the shows I went to in the last couple of days. I went to the Balance and Composure / Title Fight show at the Epicentre on Tuesday and yesterday I was in LA to see Balance and Composure / Touché Amoré at their Co-Record Release show. I may do them as individual posts, or I may combine them into one, all encapsulating, super post.
If you’re into these kinds of things then stay tuned.
So after listening to nothing but Balance and Composure’s new record all day. I came home to discover that The Devil Wears Prada’s new album 8:18 is streaming over at Alt Press.
After one partial listen (10 of 13 songs into the album), and here’s some words describing my initial thoughts :
BIG / HEAVY / More breakdowns and more Jeremy parts than Dead Throne / I’m NOT worried about Mike’s vocals / Experimental / Sonically dynamic / The electronic/ambient elements are more prominent again (think WRAABB) / Maintains the dark side that Dead Throne brought out / Industrial (Marilyn Manson or AFI?) / A song (or multiple songs) where Jeremy is the more prominent vocalist / Creepy, sci-fi noise and ambience / Mike’s lows are just as ominous as ever - for those worrying, he’s still a beast / the songs progress well / So many good breakdowns / Daniel (I think that’s his name) may be the most underrated drummer in Metalcore (or do people recognize that he’s incredible?) / The riffs, progressions, and technicality is getting better and better / This album has all those breakdowns that Dead Throne forgot about // After a complete listen through (13 of 13 songs) : Dang. Dang. Dang. / A slow song / I’m still not loving “Martyrs”, but I like it more in the context of the whole album / No guest spots, that I noticed / Favorite songs after one listen would be “Gloom”, “First Sight”, “Sailor’s Prayer”, “Care More”, “Black & Blue”, “Number Eleven”, and “Home For Grave”. //
This may be my favorite TDWP album. I’ll take two.
How dare I forget that Justin Timberlake is also dropping the second part of The 20/20 Experience at the end of the month?! September 30th will see the follow up to highly successful first installment of the 20/20 albums.
I’m sure that will be a good album to chill, and relax to after all the madness I will be involved in the week before due to Balance and Composure, Title Fight, and Touché Amoré.
I love you.