by Brian Corliss
In the dim, deceptively spacious basement of (le) Poisson Rouge, Wednesday night's sold-out performance by co-headliners Touché Amoré and mewithoutYou was a mixture of powerful shrills, head-banging instrumentals, and lots and lots of stage dives.
The show opened with a hardcore punk band from Las Vegas, Caravels, who sounded like they were still playing around in their garage—trying too many techniques to find a niche, only to muddle the effectiveness of their sound. Maybe it was an off performance, because their studio work sounds pretty solid. My favorite set of the night came from the California natives Seahaven, though: Strumming heavy pop-punk guitar riffs, the band played just as loud as the others, but were overall more melodious than the rest of the bill.
Weiss dipped and danced all over the stage while hollering into the microphone; a lead singer that reminded me of Zack de la Rocha, Rage Against The Machine's lead man. Though their studio sound has seen some changes over time, they blended the new—opening with "February, 1878"—with the old—closing with "Bullet to Binary"—to put on a great show that had the crowd moving and jumping along with Weiss.
The crowd's clear favorite, hands-down, was Touché Amoré. I think people mistook the end of their sound check as the cue for crowd-surfing, because as soon as they took stage, (le) Poisson Rouge turned into a tryout for UFC.
Natives of California, TA is a post-harcore, screamo band reminiscent of (the now broken-up) Underoath, but distinguished in intensity that's spurred by the band's voice, Jeremy Bolm. A few times he talked with the crowd and was quite soft-spoken, until the bass drum kicked and he screamed melancholic lyrics into the speakers. From their new album, Is Survived By, the crowd was treated to an opening of "Praise/Love" and "Anyone/Anything."
One underappreciated quality of the band was that, though Bolm was wailing into the mic, his words were clear. When it comes to this genre, particularly, I like to hear what they have to say instead of just how they say it; it makes the distinction in quality when you compare bands like Touché Amoré with bands like Caravels. TA's watery guitars, backed by a drummer who kicked hard enough to puncture his bass' head, created a rich-sounding group that, if allowed to play any more than their 20-song set, might have sunk the basement of LPR further into Manhattan's underground.