There really was no better way to spend the night of Mother’s Day 2016 than with... wait for it... you guessed it, Torche! Judging alone from the crowd at The Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix, Arizona a handful of mothers were in agreement. Moms really do know best....
The night's first band were local Phoenix sludge monsters, Sorxe. I’m pretty familiar with these guys and as expected, they prepped the crowd’s eardrums for the decibel onslaught that was to follow them. They played some songs off their well-praised debut, Surrounded by Shadows, plus sprinkled a few new ones into their set that I assume will be on a forthcoming release.
Next up were Wild Throne, a trio from Bellingham, Washington. If I had to use one word to describe their set, it would be "frantic", but in a good way. They blitzed through a set of noise-laden and frantic riffs with shrieking vocals and from time to time, would interweave some groove. They were unique and the crowd really seemed to enjoy them. While checking these guys out, two friends of mine whom happen to be drummers, both said that their drummer was really fucking good. Um, ok... pfft... drummers. OK, I’ll vouch for the guitarist/singer and the bassist... they were really good! After playing a very entertaining set, Wild Throne had the Moms primed for the main attraction.
Torche flipped off the standby switches on their retro Marshall and Emperor Cabinet stacks and commenced to tear into "Sandstorm" off the Meanderthal album. It was a great choice for an opener. Why? Because Moms love this shit! Torche then proceeded to segue song after song, covering every release they have. They even played two new songs, unfortunately, Steve Brooks didn’t mention what the titles were so you’ll have to nerd out on Setlist.fm to find that out.
After playing the majority of the set with his new baby blue glitter Les Paul Custom, Steve Brooks switched over to his EGC aluminum guitar with the "Z string" tuning for the really heavy portion of the set. For those that don’t know what "Z string" tuning is, it’s where the low E string is wound so loose, it basically flops like a limp banana when picked. When played through high gain amplifiers such as the Marshall orgy they gig with, it sounds like explosion after explosion with each and every riff. If you’re still lost, it sounds heavy-as-fuck, trust me on this... your Mom would. Most, if not all of the "Z string" set, included Torche’s earlier work and the crowd at the Crescent Ballroom reacted favorably. Moms started to mosh… OK, that’s an exaggeration, but yeah, I noticed a lot of head bobbing and fist pumping going on, especially when they concluded their set with the mother of all that is heavy, "Harmonslaught".
Even though Torche put a smile on every Mom’s face, not everyone walked away happy, actually the mood was a little morose. The rumor mill has been rampant as of late that Torche is soon calling it quits. Unfortunately, this writer heard it from the band that yes indeed, Torche will be going on an "indefinite hiatus" after this tour wraps up… a sad thing to fathom for fans as well as Moms… hurry back soon!