Live Review: Rolo Tomassi – London

Live Review: Rolo Tomassi - Electric Ballroom, London
15th February 2023
Support: Heriot, Holy Fawn
Words & Photos: Jacob Schwar

Upon arrival at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, a prolific venue which has played host to big names such as Prince, Joy Division and Public Enemy, it was a pleasant sight as always to see such a large queue of concert goers patiently waiting in the cold. Tonight’s bill is a fantastically diverse selection of bands from death metal to prog metal and it was evident in the crowd who was here to see which band specifically.

Without further ado, on came the first of tonight’s performers and ‘OMFG’ was I and pretty much the entire room taken aback! Heriot were a fine choice as the tonight’s openers helping to get us all warmed up for the night ahead with their signature form of sonic brutality that hits like a hammer! I’d been wanting to see Heriot since last year having loved their material and hearing much praise from Daniel P. Carter over at BBC1 Radio and I was not disappointed at their live output in the slightest.

They would play a fierce yet tight set, despite a technical fault requiring them to pause the show for a moment, which consisted of some great tracks from their EP Profound Morality including the crushingly doomy title track with its nerve rackingly atmospheric intro containing a Geordie Walker-esque guitar tone that sounded incredible in a live setting. Heriot put on an outstanding performance tonight, they’re definitely a band to keep an eye on and one I look forward to seeing again on their first UK headlining tour in May this year.

Photo Credit: Jacob Schwar

Following on from such a crushing set we have shoe-gazers Holy Fawn, providing some truly hypnotic and dream-like soundscapes, another example of the real diverse individuality of each band tonight. They opened their set with the track ‘Candy’ accompanied by a full on assault of strobe lights before slowing down to become dreamy and brooding but in a very grandiose way, I really appreciated this kind of sound and I have to say it comes across excellently in the live environment. There’s a kind of resurgence in this ‘gaze’ sound which was popular in the 90’s especially, Holy Fawn do it justice in my opinion combining it with a more heavier element which is not to say that they’re only band to do so but to hear this music live with its near ethereal atmosphere was completely mind blowing for me personally.

They played a selection of songs from their most recent release Dimensional Bleed including the song ‘Void Of Light’ which begins calmly before building up to become a truly fierce number showcasing the more metal side of Holy Fawn. They would finish their set with the song ‘Seer’ which once again was a real dreamlike epic which left myself and the audience positively reeling with a whole array of emotions from sorrow to euphoria, overall an unforgettable performance.

Photo Credit: Jacob Schwar

Last but not least of tonight’s trio of bands we come to the headliners Rolo Tomassi, a band whose style could be considered progressive metal though with hints of post-hardcore and even some mathcore. The crowd went crazy as the band walked out on stage and straight away they kicked into the beautifully epic ‘Almost Always’ a song that is slow in pace but composed of uniquely different sections including a melancholic piano passage accompanying leadsinger Eva Korman’s soothing vocals. Though they wasted no time expressing their heavier side with the next track ‘Cloaked’, a proper chugger of a song with some amazingly subtle keyboards in the background that got the crowd moving.

Rolo Tomassi played a big chunk of material from their most recent release titled Where Myth Becomes Memory with a personal highlight being the song ‘Labyrinthine’ which sounded truly evil with its viciously catchy riffage and almost blackened vocals but with an alluringly dream-like chorus that uplifted my soul before being trounced by the return of that punishing main riff. Rolo Tomassi went on to play an extraordinary set finishing with the proggy number ‘Drip’ as their encore, their performance really impressed me being a relatively new fan of their material, they’re a band I’ll be keeping an eye on and one I’ll definitely be seeing again next time they’re in the neighbourhood!

Photo Credit: Jacob Schwar
Photo Credit: Jacob Schwar

All photo credits: Jacob Schwar

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