Rolo Tomassi – The Haunt, Brighton – 7th June 2018

Photo by Dan Whitehouse

As a fitting warm up to Download Festival, Rolo Tomassi played an intimate but packed out gig at The Haunt this week. The show and tour were in support of their latest album Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It which was released back in March this year. The gig saw the band continue their trend of high energy performances, and to add a bit of versatility to the line-up they featured support slots from Orchards and Conjurer.

Despite the doors opening at 7pm and Conjurer taking to the stage shortly after 7.15pm, the queue was already round the block before the venue had even opened, in fact by the time Conjurer took to stage, The Haunt was already full up from front to back.

If you’re a big Rolo Tomassi fan, there’s a pretty good chance you’d have liked Conjurer too. Where Rolo have started to explore their melodic side with their latest release, Conjurer left no room for theirs and their performance had the crowd screaming and jumping like no first support I’ve ever seen. The band took a moment to shout out both Orchards and Rolo in their sets, but said they felt Orchards were a strange choice to play in support of Rolo.

While Orchards put on a great performance, it was immediately apparent why Conjurer had said this. The band couldn’t be further away from the sounds of the other bands on the bill, as they presented their chilled alt-pop set. While some fans may have been left a little bemused by Orchards supporting, they felt like a light relief between two such heavy bands and did the best they could to try and win over the crowd. It would’ve been easy for them to attempt to play a heavier set or to change their attitude on stage, but Orchards stuck to their guns and soothed the room effectively.

By the time headliners Rolo Tomassi took to the stage, the crowd had just about had time to recharge its batteries from Conjurer’s performance and it was probably just as well. As the room went black, the intense lighting began to flash in accordance with opening track ‘Towards Dawn’ as the crowd chanted “Rolo”, the anticipation and energy that flowed round the room was breathtaking. The lighting Tomassi incorporated into their song patterns were some of the best I’ve seen in a long time and easily the best I’ve seen in a reasonably small venue such as The Haunt. As the band progressed through the set, the signature mosh pit formed and the crowd couldn’t have looked more involved.

With the band’s popularity and energy, it’s a shock they’re not playing bigger venues. This show was an experience due to their stage presence, but also the loyal fans who were in their element throughout. Despite overhearing the show hadn’t sold out upon arriving, there must’ve only been a handful of tickets available and I’d imagine a lot of those in attendance will be heading straight to Download Festival to experience Rolo on an even bigger scale.

Dan Whitehouse