Rolo Tomassi - Deaf Institute 18/01/10 Review

by John Consterdine 19. January 2010 20:06

When a band goes off to record an album, it's usually months before we hear anything from them until it's released, however Rolo Tomassi decided to do things differently and play some very small shows after they recorded their new album. And so The Deaf Institute was Manchester's port of call for the quintet. If you've never been to The Deaf Institute, it is actually a lovely venue as it's set out as a theatre/old fashioned music hall, with a large dance floor and tiered seating at the back, and due to the doomed roof, the sound is fantastic!


Kicking things off was a local indie trio, whose name I don't think anyone managed to catch, however they played their slot and warmed the crowd up. The second support act were much more interesting, hailing from Manchester, via Wales, Pocketknife dabbled in various different waters, incorporating the styles of Queens of The Stone Age, Sonic Youth, Fantomas and Sunn O))) to give a very twisted, dynamic sound, which the crowd, including myself, seemed to pick up on a lot more.


However, it was very clear that there was only one reason everyone was here, and although they were running a bit late, the bull in a china shop style of aggression and ferocity displayed by Rolo Tomassi is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Opening their set with "Fofteen", from their debut album 'Hysterics', meant an abrupt start to the most intense 45 minutes I'd bore witness. What makes Rolo Tomassi so unique is their ability to chill out the atmosphere with their synthesised interludes mid song, which means the band appeals to a wide variety of people. The striking keyboards on follow up "Cirque Du Funk" saw the crowd pick up a bit more, to the untrained ear this may have sounded like a bee trapped in a tornado however, to the Tomassi collective it was a much more meaningful and powerful visceral experience.


 I'm sure new song "Party Wounds" will remain in future set lists due to it's groove orientated tone and the powerful vocal collaborations of the Spence siblings, Eva and James. “Abraxas” and “Jealous Bones” went down a storm, and it was from this point onwards that the crowd started to liven up, the floor started to open and the fun began! During “Nine” and “Beatrotter” James ended up crowd surfing whilst screaming, bassist Joseph was stood on top of the bar playing and the crowd played their part by going absolutely mental!



The rest of the set was rounded off with a mix of new songs, which sounded terrific, and songs from 'Hysterics'. However it was the encore of "I Love Turbulence" that set The Deaf Institute off for the last time, with Eva Spence flailing and dancing during the synth intro before the rest of the band tear in and chaos ensues. Whether this venue was designed for the raucousness of Rolo Tomassi is debatable, however the ovation they recieved as they walked off stage suggests that this band are set to keep climbing and that those of you asking who this Rolo Tomassi chap is will be enlightened.






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