Torche and The Bronx (co-headliners) @ Limelight 1, Belfast

Hornets, Torche and The Bronx (co-headliners) @ Limelight 1, Belfast
May 27th, 2015
Review by Melanie Brehaut

Photography by Jamie Hunter 

Torche The Bronx

Belfast is becomingly an excitingly regular stop off for many international artists of late, with each week seemingly bringing another tour announcement. So when it emerged that both Torche and The Bronx were hitting town on the same night, organisers were quick to propose a co-headlining gig in the larger Limelight 1 venue.

And a wise decision it turned out to be, with the place filling up nicely as local noisemakers Hornets hit the stage. Well, ‘hit’ is perhaps an exaggeration. More like ‘saunter onto and schmooze about’ the stage – not to say that their music is in any way laidback, far from it! A howl of distortion signifies the start of a set filled with hardcore rumblings, mathcore-style syncopated beats and downtuned, heavily distorted guitars. Their loosely structured songs and general air of chaos goes down very well indeed with the rapidly filling room.

Hornets Hornets

Sludgy rockers Torche follow their predecessors’ casual air, filing onstage with no fanfare and pausing for several moments before finally exploding with a wail of feedback and a piledriving beat which immediately pounds the room into submission. You want bass? Torche serve it up in spades, their bass/drum combo all but rattling the audience’s teeth from their mouths.

Torche Torche

Eventually greeting the crowd with a cheerful “hey you fucking cunts!”, vocalist Steve Brooks says little else (barring announcing the birthday of guitarist Andrew Elsner), preferring to focus on putting in a emphatic and weighty performance. Torche’s music is quite dichotomous in nature, veering from heavy and sludgy to bouncy and boppy. As a result their set has quite an ‘ebb and flow’ feel to it, which is eagerly lapped up by the crowd – there’s a small moshpit throughout, but most punters appear to be simply gazing enraptured at the stage.

Torche Torche

This is a band that seem intent on not following rules, with their schizophrenic sound offering both ‘good time’ party rock and ‘Sabbath with a sledgehammer attached’ doomy metal – not to mention bassist Jonathan Nuñez breaking all bass laws by putting in an effervescent and dynamic performance.

Their set ends with a mighty ‘Annihilation Affair’ and they leave the stage with the raucous roars of approval and devotion from the crowd pointing to a smashingly successful set.

Torche Torche

SETLIST:

1. Piraña
2. Sandstorm
3. Minions
4. Loose Men
5. Grenades
6. Healer
7. Across the Shields
8. No Servants
9. Believe It
10. Kicking
11. In Pieces
12. Reverse Inverted
13. In Return
14. Vampyro
15. Fire
16. Mash It Up
17. Sky Trials
18. Restarter
19. Barrier Hammer
20. Undone
21. Blasted
22. Annihilation Affair

Second co-headliners The Bronx describe themselves as punk rockers, but this merely hints at the joyful mayhem about to unfold onstage. Vocalist Matt Caughthran heads straight to his microphone, bellowing “what the fuck is up, Belfast?!” with abandon, before the band kick off a set full of wave after wave of feelgood energy.

The Bronx The Bronx

Punk rock – really? This is what punk rock would sound like if Motley Crue decided to have a go, or even Judas Priest: it’s melodic and hook-driven, with a definite classic rock feel to it, which makes for an enormously fun set.

The Bronx The Bronx

Caughthran pauses often to engage with the crowd, informing us that he recently got out of prison (!) which has left him craving human contact and interaction (must be why he leaps into the moshpit so often; entire songs are performed offstage), and that the night has had ‘angel dust sprinkled on it’ (eh?). Is is cheesy? Undoubtedly. But his message is so positive and upbeat that only the surliest of folk would fail to forgive him.

The Bronx The Bronx

As is so often the case at a midweek gig the audience thins out somewhat, but that doesn’t slow the band down at all; their entire set is a pumping, blasting celebration of life – if you look up ‘high octane’ in the dictionary there will be a picture of The Bronx onstage – and it’s easy to get caught up in Caughthran’s sweet, almost childlike joy, as the crowd discovers.

The Bronx The Bronx

Prior to final number ‘History’s Stranglers’, he announces that this will be the last song of the entire tour before the head home, which is a bittersweet and thrilling prospect for those present, one that sends them into a frenzy of moshpits, singalongs and crowdsurfing. And then it’s over, with the band taking a figurative bow and exiting the stage spent, sweaty and surely ecstatic at this response.

The Bronx The Bronx

 

SETLIST:
1. Unholy Hand
2. Shitty Future
3. Inveigh
4. I Got Chills
5. White Tar
6. Rape Zombie
7. Too Many Devils
8. Along For the Ride
9. White Guilt
10. False Alarm
11. Rib Cage
12. Around the Horn
13. Knife Man
14. Kill My Friends
15. Past Lives
16. Heart Attack American
17. History’s Stranglers

Co-headlining gigs come with both advantages and disadvantages: you get to see two broadly similar bands in one night, but they perhaps don’t play for as long as you want them to. Based on tonight’s show, there can be no other response from Belfast gig-goers than MORE, PLEASE! A genuinely brilliant gig.

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