Rolo Tomassi at Tramlines – review

Returning to Sheffield for their first live performance of 2014, Rolo Tomassi tore up Corporation for the Tramlines festival.

The show follows a period of creative hiatus for the band as they have locked themselves away writing their fourth album, four years since their first, Hysteric (2008).

Eve Spence and the band did not disappoint, playing with true exertion and energy to a crowd of dedicated and surviving festival goers on the third and final day of Tramlines.

Rolo Tomassi played their half-hour midday set like they were headlining the bigger rock festivals such as Download and after thanking fans for their continued support they indulged the audience by playing a few new unreleased tracks during the set, unfortunately due to the sheer energy of the crowd (not at all a complaint) I was unable to hear the titles.

These new tracks followed the same winning Tomassi formula as their previous work, using a mixture of vocal registers with complimenting heavy instrumental thrashing and softer building up pieces.

The songs weren’t the only new things Rolo Tomassi had to offer either: mid-set the band introduced a new member, drummer Tom Pitts, to the group noting it was his first show with them. Something a casual listener might have overlooked as the band played with a united harmony as if they were still all the original members from when they formed in 2005.

Looking back at the previous Tramlines that Rolo Tomassi have been involved in one thing is always a guarantee for their shows and that is the energetic crowds. Whilst the scene might have been different in the dark Corporation main room from their sunlight shows in front of City Hall, the ‘pit’ emerged loyally again in front of the band.

Not many bands evoke audience participation in the way Rolo Tomassi does. There’s a sense of passive adrenaline that comes with the sight of all those bodies being thrown about to beat of their music. With the crowd being constantly combed over by an intense industrial light display, and the strobe lighting flashing in unison to the music, you can’t help but feel energised and pumped even if you daren’t enter the ‘pit’ yourself. During ‘the scales of balance’ the movement in the crowd was so electric there was a moment I almost forgot what I’d come to see, the band or the crowd.

Sadly there are currently no more confirmed shows for the rest of this year although Eve ended the set with a very promising and exciting “see you guys later in the year.” Personally I hope to see them again next year at Tramlines, as it’s become some sort of a ritual for me. Rolo Tomassi were followed onstage by London’s instrumental trio Three Trapped Tigers (Sunday’s Corporation Headliners), who brought their own unique captivating noise to round off the show – and round off Corporation’s live contribution to the festival.