Each with an album out this year, all three of tonight´s bands have brand new material to showcase for the excited crowd in attendance at the Asylum this Saturday afternoon. Opening the show for the few people already at the venue at the early hours of 6:30 PM, London’s Terrible Love provide perhaps the most straightforward affair of the evening. Their hardcore is of a fairly melodic variety, stepping in the shoes of bands like La Dispute vocally, with a talky/shouty approach that is sure to split people down the middle as it has to straddle a fine line between sincerity and pretension.
Luckily Terrible Love seem genuine to their (hard)core and it feels like they went with spoken word on their own accord rather than to follow a trend. However, there´s a certain heft missing in tonight’s vocal delivery that is present in the recorded versions of the songs. This may be a consequence of the fact that we’re now at the end of the tour and night after night of screaming passionately into the mic can take its toll.
Regardless of the reason, there’s enough passion in frontman Jon Desmond´s stage presence as well as the rest of the band’s delivery for anyone in attendance to be convinced to check them out further. A solid start to a great night.
Next up is Minnesota’s Tiny Moving Parts, the first of the night’s two tremendous traveling trios, whose latest album Celebrate has been in heavy rotation recently with its summery, pop-punk-meets-math-rock stylings and posi lyrical themes. That positivity is definitely felt from the second the band comes on stage, especially from guitarist/vocalist Dylan Mattheisen who does not stop smiling for the entirety of their set. It’s easy to believe when Dylan sings that he’s the happiest man in the world but with that said, hearing some of the more emotional early material like the “Vacation Bible School” chant of “I came with confidence and I left with emptiness” or the entirety of “Dakota” is definitely a welcome addition for the fans in the room who have been with Tiny Moving Parts since the beginning.
It really is a pleasure to see Dylan and bassist/vocalist Matt Chevalier jump around the stage like 90s pop punk is still the coolest thing around while effortlessly, and very skillfully, playing their math rock tap-tappies (patent pending). A special shout-out to drummer Billy Chevalier as well for maintaining enough straight forward drive to keep the songs feeling deceptively simple and devilishly catchy while throwing in enough chops to remind everyone that Tiny Moving Parts are excellent math rock musicians.
The setlist covers the band’s three full length albums and while the whole set has a large portion of the front rows singing along with every word, it’s obvious that the songs featuring repeated chants like “I think I think too much” are specifically designed for the passionate belting of the emo kid within all of us. That aforementioned emo kid has a lot to be passionate about these days after all, but even with all the emo revival happening and the return of American Football it’ll be hard to beat Tiny Moving Parts this year for pure emotion – even if that emotion happens to be happiness this time around.
Finally we come to the once fallen, but re-risen The Fall of Troy, touring on the back of their comeback album OK, which was released for free earlier this year along with several alternate versions. The setlist this evening seems to have been built with this reviewer in mind, as the bulk of the songs are from 2005 breakout album Doppelganger and OK, with a glorious cameo from “Chapter I: Introverting Dimensions” from the amazing EP Phantom on the Horizon, where drummer Andrew Forsman gets to let his grooves really shine.
So we’ve covered that the setlist is finely crafted, but any setlist is only as good as the performance of it. Luckily the performance side this evening is way beyond what Fall of Troy promise with their latest album’s title. On top of the songs being performed to perfection – which is definitely something that becomes a concern for bands where vocal and guitar duties are shared and both are as intricate as The Fall of Troy’s – the band always have a little bit extra up their sleeves. That little extra bit tends to vary; when they play “Act One: Scene One” they starts with a very calm, ballad version of the song before launching into the full version – while at another point they launch into an impromptu cover of “A Whole New World“.
This, along with a bit of jamming here and there, gives the night more of a personal feel, almost like a glimpse into a band rehearsal with a bit of added stage presence and theatrics. Speaking of this stage presence, guitarist Thomas Erak and bassist Tim Ward tend to dance with each other, have miniature mosh pits on stage and play off each other for energy, which in turn gets an even bigger buy-in from the crowd who they have eating out of the palm of their hand.
Sadly, the start of the set suffers a bit from Erak’s guitar being quite low in the mix but this is quickly remedied and everything gets back on track. As time goes on it becomes clear that the band is not really looking to give material from Manipulator or In The Unlikely Event a lot of (or any) coverage; why this is remains a mystery but it’s hard to complain when the set is essentially a fan-favourite line-up anyway.
On the topic of fan-favourites, it’s impossible to talk about The Fall of Troy without mentioning their breakout hit “F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.” and unsurprisingly the band ends their set with it. What may come as a surprise is the line-up with which they play it: Thomas Erak moves to bass while Tiny Moving Parts’ Dylan Mattheisen and Billy Chevalier take on guitar and drum duties respectively. The crowd has been energetic the whole night but when they launch into “F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.” the floor seemingly becomes lava with everyone trying their best not to stay in one place for more than a second.
It’s clear after the terrific trio of Terrible, Tiny and Troy that this is not a tour that any self respecting post-hardcore fan should miss so if you have missed it already when reading this make sure you mark your calendar the next time one of these acts roll into town, you won’t regret it.