at Saint Vitus, Brooklyn, NY, USA, February 19, 2020

TORCHE (Live at Saint Vitus, Brooklyn, NY, USA, February 19, 2020)
Photo: Kristian Singh-Nergård

Remember to check out the photo gallery at the end of this post.

Support: Russian Baths, LAPêCHE

The honorable Saint Vitus in Brooklyn is something of an institution in the Metal community in New York, despite only being around since 2011 (they even host weekly Metal yoga sessions!). The venue can hold up to 250 people and by the time tonight’s headliner got up on stage, which was an ordeal in itself since the only way to get to the stage is through the crowd, the place was packed.

TORCHE (Live at Saint Vitus, Brooklyn, NY, USA, February 19, 2020)
Photo: Kristian Singh-Nergård

The setlist was heavily dominated by last year’s Admission. Songs like “Submission,” “Times Missing” from the aforementioned album, along with “Minions” from 2015’s Restarter started off the show. Torche’s take on the whole Stoner/Sludge thing is all about the riffs, and man are the riffs heavy. One might think that the music is too slow for a mosh pit. Well, think again. Shortly after they started playing, a huge mosh pit opened on the floor. One would arguably think the pit was too big for the venue but there was such an energy in the room that everyone needed an outlet, and the pit was where it was happening.

And there was crowd surfing. First, a random guy in the crowd got up on the stage and almost knocked over the photographers located on his left before jumping into a sea of Metalheads. There is no photo pit at Saint Vitus, so the few brave souls who were there to take pictures had to fight for the space with everyone else, usually with camera in one hand, holding off eager Metal fans with the other. In-between two songs lead singer Steve Brooks put down his guitar and jumped into the crowd as well. A while later, he and guitarist Jonathan Nuñez went into the mosh pit for the guitar solo, with their guitar cables and all (no wireless systems for these guys).

TORCHE (Live at Saint Vitus, Brooklyn, NY, USA, February 19, 2020)
Photo: Kristian Singh-Nergård

The highlights of the evening arguably came towards the ending when they played “Reverse Inverted,” which represented the oldest part of Torche’s music in the setlist, as it’s taken off 2012’s Harmonicraft, and followed up with “Barrier Hammer” and “Undone” from 2015’s Restarter.

TORCHE (Live at Saint Vitus, Brooklyn, NY, USA, February 19, 2020)
Photo: Kristian Singh-Nergård

Torche is a group of guys who play with such confidence and ease. The band has been around since 2004 with very few lineup changes. They’ve done this for years and they are tight as hell. The newest addition to the band, bassist Eric Hernandez, is a bundle of energy. He joined the band in 2017 to “replace” Jonathan Nuñez who switched from bass to guitar in order to replace guitarist Andrew Elstner. Did you follow all of that? Hernandez is really the only new guy in this band, with the rest of the guys all being original members. He also does all the backing vocals live, as a lot of the songs have harmony vocals.

It’s interesting to observe drummer Rick Smith when he plays as if his life depended on it. He plays hard and even kicked the hi-hat at times when his hands were busy hitting other cymbals. Guitarist Nuñez doesn’t hold back either and shows that he has transitioned from bass to guitar without any issues, playing both rhythm and lead. Every single member of the band gave it everything they got, and they were all drenched in sweat within a couple of songs, and so was the crowd, despite the chilling February winds of New York ravaging outside.

This show will go down in history as one of the best shows at Saint Vitus. 20 years from now there will be five times as many people, claiming to have been at the show, as the 250 people the venue can hold. Torche might not play bigger venues than Saint Vitus and that’s a shame. The music industry is not fair. A band like Torche deserves more, legends that they are.


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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