The Paper Plane
Touché Amoré Delivers Solid Show of New and Old Tunes
On October 18th I had the pleasure of attending a Touché Amoré concert at the Mod Club Theatre, who performed along with opening acts, Tiny Moving Parts and Culture Abuse. This was the third time I’ve seen Touché Amoré. The last time having been well before their hiatus, so I had an idea what to expect but also went knowing that a lot can change over time, and this might be a much different Touché Amoré than I knew a few years ago.
Having just released their fourth album, “Stage Four”, one thing’s for sure their sound has certainly evolved. What remained to be seen at this concert is how their change in sound fits into their existing catalogue.
First up were Culture Abuse who upon getting on stage had to share the news that two of their players couldn’t make it across the border, so half their band would be made up of Canadian’s that learned the songs a couple hours before the show. As sketchy as that sounds the band played through their material without a hitch, sharing their brand of loud boisterous noise rock with a venue rumbling bass amp driving their sound. Upon ending their set, the lead singer gave a nice motivational speech using their example of what they accomplished in two hours to say you can do anything. Thanks Culture Abuse, I know you believed in me.
Next up was Tiny Moving Parts, who’s exuberant output immediately reminded me of another band that I’d seen at a Touché concert: And So I Watch You From Afar. Except they aren’t instrumental of course, both guitarists sing in addition to shredding guitar like there’s no tomorrow. The lead guitarist actually had a guy who stands at the side of the stage and tunes guitars the entire time, as every song seems to be a different tuning than the last. I went into their performance mostly blind to this band expecting to get turned onto their sound, and they definitely managed to do that.
Crowd participation played a big part in their set as well, as people climbed and dove from the stage while singing the lyrics. One nice touch I didn’t notice until the show was over and I moved over to the other side of venue, was a neon sign that just said “The Parts”. Bands from the midwest have a knack for making you feel at home like a warm fireplace, or in this case a nifty lit-up sign. Maybe I’m biased because one of my favourite bands is (or was) obsessed with lamps, but that’s besides the point.
When the Touché Amoré performance began I was immediately taken aback by how the band’s back catalogue is still very much a focus. They started with the opener from Stage Four, then switched immediately to signature track, “Tilde”. This is their most popular song to this day, so its inclusion isn’t surprising. I guess I just half expected them to play their new record in it’s entirety and a couple of old hits, but what I got was much more interesting.
As the set progressed Touché continued to draw liberally from their previous albums, even using the ender from their second album only halfway through the set as a wicked transition for one of the most mature tracks from Stage Four, “Benediction”. I’ve now found out that the set list was pre-chosen for this tour, and it shows that a lot of thought seemingly went into this arrangement of songs, as the way it hits all the right notes from every LP was remarkable. In my last Touché blog I noted that they seem to be transitioning to more standing still type music, and this could be seen by how some of the newer songs were less involved than previous works. However they haven’t changed their approach entirely, and a song like “New Halloween” did unsurprisingly well at the beginning of the set following the barrage of cathartic energy which is “Tilde”.
While the new album had been getting steady plays in anticipation of this show, it was their last 12″, “Is Survived By”, that I was most excited to see performed, and they didn’t disappoint with incredible renditions of “Harbor”, “DNA”, “Just Exist”, as well as “Non Fiction” in the encore. The only one missing was of course “Social Caterpillar” or possibly “To Write Content”, but considering how large of a catalogue they have now the choices were perfect.
Prior to going to the show I listened to TA’s discography on shuffle, and read the lyrics when I had a chance. Perhaps my most interesting find was the wording for the song “Palm Dreams” – “placed where they shouldn’t be”, referring to the palm trees non-native to California. I thought it was “place where you shouldn’t be”, referring to his mother which is a fair interpretation, but incorrect. These lyrics are important for me as they represented the greatest Touché moment I had with the new record, as singing those lyrics felt as emotionally cathartic as when I “parted the sea between brightness and me” at my second Touché concert. The fact that they’re still able to have moments like this while changing their tone and style completely is a testament to the strength of this band.
When it was near the end I shared in a laugh with fellow Touché goers who jokingly acted like they didn’t recognize the band because they had gotten so good. This wasn’t the same band I saw all those years ago, this was something so much more. To finish they played what might be my all-time favorite Touché song “Gravity Metaphorically”. As the crowd had already sort of dispersed I saw an opportunity to go up to the front and sing, or rather scream the lyrics. Though I was hesitant, I’d watched a guy wearing a backpack mosh around an Expire show in a fast food place on Youtube, so certainly I could get away with a backpack here right? Fortunately no one complained as I piled on with the group at the front, and had a perfect end to what would be a long night after my two hour ride home. I was tired at work all week because of it, and wish I could’ve bought a t-shirt, but in the end it was all worth it.
A good concert should leave you wondering when the band is coming back. Like hey that was good let’s do that again every night we possibly can, and this show was one of those. I don’t know how long until the next Touché concert, but let’s hope it isn’t the two plus years that they went on hiatus for. Fortunately they’re big enough now that they can tour pretty well whenever they want, so another mainland tour can’t be far off. I know I’ll try to be at every one I can. Maybe I can even convince a friend or two to take an interest in Screamo, or whatever kids call this these days.
About the Author
Dylan Kulcher is an avid skateboarder, gamer, music fan, and aspiring journalist from the small airport town of Mount Hope, Hamilton. Always looking for a reason to visit the big city and network outside his comfort zone, Dylan vies to bring communities together with his writing. A member of many LGBTQ groups and participator in his local Pride rallies, he strives for transparency in his life and doesn’t feel like anyone should have to hide in the closet!.