Words & Photos by Rebecca Reed (www.rebeccarphotography.com)
A normal day in my life, and pretty much anyone else’s: wake up, eat some breakfast, maybe take a shower – though, I’m a nighttime shower kinda girl – walk the dog, and go to work. The difference is that my work is hanging out with people who make incredible music. On Feb. 26, I woke up, did most of those things, then hauled ass to Le Poisson Rouge to meet up with the guys in Touché Amore.
I got to the venue right after load-in and everyone was hanging out, prepping, and getting the stage looking just right. I met up with their tour manager Alex, and he introduced me. As a music photographer, I have one big flaw: I’m shy. I’ve seen Touché Amore more times than I can count – Hell, I went to their after-party for their show with Converge at the House of Vans a while back – but being a total wallflower without a camera in front of my face, I’d only ever met bassist Tyler Kirby. After introductions, Touché Amore got ready for sound check. As technical as sound check can be – turn up the guitar floor monitor, a little less tom for the drummer, why isn’t the mic working? – I get my very own show, making it my favorite part of the day. I was still getting up my nerve to start shooting, but as soon as they hit the stage, I settled in and got to work. Jeremy Bolm, their vocalist, sat on the side of the stage or wandered around while the rest of the band checked, then hopped up when the lights lowered, and dialed in his monitors. They launched into a three set mini-show. It was epic. These guys don’t half-ass anything, ever!
As soon as sound check was done, the guys scattered with a quickness. The hardest thing about doing a “day in the life” for a band that has nothing scheduled for the day is keeping them together. This is especially true in New York City. There is so much to see and so little time between sound check and showtime. I went to the green room, mildly defeated that I couldn’t find a single band member. I found Alex doing his thing, counting the money, and getting everything in order from the Canada leg of their tour. Jeremy was there too, but he was half-napping. The rest of the guys finally started filtering through, figuring out their plans and charging their phones for their NYC excursions. When my one bud, Tyler, came in and announced he wanted to go shopping, my ears perked. Shopping and photos, a girls dream! Jeremy decided to tag along, so we bundled up and got ready to head out.
Our first stop was Uniqlo – find a location near you immediately – purveyors of well-made, inexpensive, awesome clothes, originally from Japan. Tyler was in search of a flannel, joking that he “dresses like a rebel.” He doesn’t go for those American Apparel shirts, no deep v’s for him. Just plain shirts and flannels. True, honest rebel wear. He led me through the store, showing me what he would and wouldn’t wear, What Not To Wear Tyler Kirby edition. Tyler left with no flannel in hand, damning the switch to spring fashions when it’s still 20 degrees out! We caught up outside while we waited for Jeremy, and then walked down to Levis. Tyler was stoked to find what he was looking for with the added bonus of 30% off! Even dudes get excited about sales. Jeremy went straight for the denim jackets and black jeans. Feeling successful we left, then all feeling cold, we headed to a local coffee shop. I offered up my Starbucks card – I’m a gold member – but they declined. Jeremy and Tyler watched me, gripping their standard coffees while the barista made my soy chai. They probably should have taken my Starbucks card; their coffee was “watery” and my soy chai had mystery lumps. At least it kept our hands warm.
Once we got back, we played the waiting game. They sat back, eating and prepping, listening to Seahaven and Mewithoutyou sound check. To the “break the monotony” rescue came drummer Elliot Babin, who taught everyone how to play “cooperative shouting game” Spaceteam on our phones. Clayton (Stevens, guitar) got SUPER into it! We all maneuvered through space while yelling at each other about what to fix and where to go! It is crucial to play this in public so that everyone can enjoy the best people-watching they’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing!
FINALLY, it was time for their set and this intrepid photographer did her best to stick it out in the pit. By the fourth song, my shins were bleeding, my hand felt like it was broken, I had a black eye, and a close encounter with a concussion. Alex to the rescue! I got to witness the rest of the insanity from the comfort of the stage. The crowd was losing their ever-loving shit! As they should with a setlist like this:
Praise / Love
Anyone / Anything
I’ll Get My Just Deserve
I’ll Deserve Just That
The Great Repetition
Home Away From Here
Is Survived By
And Now It’s Happening in Mine
Even in the face of a ton of technical difficulties – one of the guitars went out, Jeremy’s mic died twice and he had to use Tyler’s, resulting in no backing vocals for half the set, and a crowd surfer took out the screen on one of the stage monitors, making the audio sound like it was coming from a scratched up record – the band still played one of their most brutal sets I’ve seen.
This day in the life of Touché Amore was incredible. They are a bunch of goofy, shy, awkward, insanely humble, talented individuals, and I’m already counting the days until their next NYC show!