It’s been ten years since Rolo Tomassi came onto the East Midlands music scene, refusing to be defined and playing their own style of genre defying music. Known for a frenzied performing style and a DIY ethic, those ten years have been exciting ones for a band who took their name from a character in the film “L.A. Confidential”, including a line-up change and a change of record label. Earlier in 2015, they released their fourth album “Grievances”, which was met with acclaim.
On the 11th November 2015, they returned to their spiritual home of The Bodega in Nottingham. Strong support from Employed to Serve and John Coffey prepared the crowd nicely for what was to come. Not only was it my first time seeing Rolo Tomassi, as a newbie to Nottingham, it was my first time at The Bodega as a venue. I was pleasantly surprised by the venue, as I loved the small size and intimacy.
Rolo Tomassi came onto the stage a few minutes later than scheduled – nothing like building up to the big entrance though is there? Still, it was worth the few minutes of delay as the band swept into ‘Stage Knives’, much to the crowd’s frenzied delight.
If you haven’t seen them live before (as I hadn’t), then as a live band, they more blast than blow you away. With frontwoman Eva Spence’s anguished, enthralling voice searing out over a background of acid jazz, experimental rock and post- metal, parts of the set put me in mind of another female fronted band, Nightwish. It proved to be a bipolar hour, in which tormented jagged vocals contrasted with a melodic backdrop, resulting in a combination that was as intriguing as it was unsettling.
From a solid start, things got better as the band rocketed through their tracks, with the likes of ‘The Embers’ sitting alongside the wistful, strangely calming ‘Opalescent’. At this point, the crowd at the Bodega were mesmerised, now completely under Rolo Tomassi’s spell.
As it neared 10 o’ clock, the crowd decided it was too early to go home and shouted for one more song (with some members of the audience demanding more than that). The band duly obliged and launched into ‘Party Wounds’, successfully finishing off our party.
Rolo Tomassi’s set at The Bodega should be enough to satisfy their Nottingham fan base, having spent the evening being serenaded with scowling, fragile, lullabies that sent them home to their dreams – or to their nightmares.