Touché Amoré, Tiny Moving Parts and Culture Abuse at Zaphod’s


No band moves me and makes me want to move quite like Touché Amoré does, and October 20th at Zaphod’s in Ottawa was no exception.

Touche Amore killing it at Zaphod's in Ottawa.
Touche Amore killing it at Zaphod’s in Ottawa.

Call them hardcore, call them punk, call them rock, no matter how you label Touché Amoré, one thing is certain – they are a powerhouse. From the moment the band took to the stage the energy in the room was palpable and the crowd was electric. The five-piece from California feed off the bodies flying around, arms in the air and crowd yelling along at the top of their lungs. When lead singer Jeremy Bolm isn’t moving all over the stage frantically, he is most often passing the mic into the crowd.

The band is touring their latest album Stage Four which is particularly special. Stage Four is a concept album of sort all about Jeremy’s mother passing away from cancer. The album has pain, sorrow, reminiscing and a lot of questions, question he always wanted to ask but never did. The band’s music has never been short of emotion, but the addition of the new tracks to the live show is something else. I don’t know how anyone can remain still during a Touché Amoré set. I understand not wanting to mosh, but when the music starts and and Jeremy grabs the mic I am immediately moved to dance and sing. Their music takes over and I am not in full control until the end of their set. Once it finishes I walk away feeling like everything is better and I always appreciate Touché just that much more.

Tiny Moving Parts playing Zaphod's in Ottawa.
Tiny Moving Parts playing Zaphod’s in Ottawa.

Setting the stage for Touché was Tiny Moving Parts from Benson, Minnesota. This three-piece transported me back to high school, which is awesome considering they all met in high school and have been playing together since. Tiny Moving Parts are a combination of Bear vs Shark, Sleeper Set Sail and Moneen… yeah they are that good. The sound that comes out of the three-piece is very impressive and the amount of feels just ooze in every song. They opened with the track “Vacation Bible School,” which has the line “I hate to say this but it makes me happy that it makes you sad,” and followed that with their new single “Celebrate” off their new album which carries the same name. I would be remise if I didn’t mention the drummer’s sweet hair, which flowed in the wind created by the fan, and his great moustache. It looked like a perfect 80’s hockey card photo op.

Opening the show was Culture Abuse from San Francisco. League singer opened by saying “They didn’t let our two guitarist in and we only have two, so this will be a special set.” Lucky for them “Boomer” who is the roadie/buddy of Tiny Moving Parts learned the songs and played as one of the guitarists the whole set. They replaced the second guitarist with members of Touché Amoré talking turns, including lead singer Jeremy for the last song which was pretty rad. Self described as “kinda grunge, kinda punk, kinda hardcore, definitely a good time.” Don’t think I could say it better and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Don’t let their name scare you away, this is a super fun band that I can’t wait to see again. When I think of how good the set was and they had fill-ins, I can only imagine how awesome their set would be with all their members.