LIVE REVIEW: Thomas Truax @ Cumberland Arms (22.4.18) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Tonights 25th (!) Newcastle appearance by seasoned oddball Thomas Truax is a palpably special occasion tonight- and  one that is elevated by the inclusion of three young, exciting guitar bands on the bill. 

Glasgow’s Tounge Trap are a frustrating bunch tonight- and at times feel like a band really struggling to understand what they are about- moments of brilliance are counterbalanced by songs that sound a bit like The Shaggs covering Blink 182. Still, at their very best they are thoughtful, tuneful and politicized- which bodes very well for the future. 

I absolutely cannot fault Swine Tax on their unfettered enthusiasm- they bound around like Labrador puppies- and tonight their dissonant take on college rock seems to really strike a chord with the audience. Newer songs hint at more musical and lyrical ambitiousness; on tonight’s performance their trajectory will be very exciting to observe.

Miles ahead of the pack tonight, though, are Sunderland’s Roxy girls, who play their odd, parochial, poetic songs with the sort of urgency I haven’t seen round these parts for some time. Their songs are short, brittle, busy, and devoid of cliché- not a note or a lyric seems to be wasted.

Thomas Truax’s  thoroughly engaging form of performance art now seems quite at odds with what has gone before- but he has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand from the get go, with his odd, Americana- influenced tunes, married to absurdist physical comedy. He’s accompanied by his own bespoke, home made musical instruments- Mother Superior and the Hornicator- two elaborate, theatrical creations.  The overall effect of the performance is akin to Jim Carrey being cast in a Coen Brothers film about a Deep South eccentric, as he bashes, twangs, and caterwauls through an incredibly entertaining hour.

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