Torche / The Cosmic Dead @ O2 ABC2, 15 September
Our very own psych-kraut wizards The Cosmic Dead open with a free-form improvisational set. They're only three members strong tonight, but the combination of spaced-out riffs, sparse drums and low-end synth throbs works a treat, so much so that it's only minutes until the gathered noticeably begin to fall into a collective trance. These boys really have a feel for texture and mood – it doesn't take long for them to work up their own gravitational pull. They could go on all night and there wouldn't be many complaints, but before long it's time for the crowd to come back down for a sugar fix.
Torche take a little longer to warm up, but they get the heart rate racing with an energised performance of Kicking from Harmonicraft, their latest bag of treats. On record they're a lot of fun; live, they take it to another level. Axe-wielders Steve Brookes and recent recruit Andrew Elstner are tight players, shooting rainbows at the fervent front row in the set's poppier moments, namely the epic trilogy of Grenades / Healer / Across the Shields. The tail-end of the show takes a darker turn and sees the band airing their crushingly heavy side; stoner hymn Fable of the Brown Recluse is gloriously realised. Heads are still banging away – just a lot slower this time. Tonight, the Floridians prove they can balance growing rock 'n roll stardom with their sludge titan status of old.