LIVE REVIEW Shrug @ Middlesbrough Little Theatre (24.02.18) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Images by Danni Johnson

Shrug have been going for over 30 years in several forms and, although I’ve only seen the current line-up live, the tales frontman Rob Nichols spins between songs tell enough to stop it all feeling like some form of urban myth.

Tonight they play the studio attached to Middlesbrough Little Theatre; the open room with seats stage side feels strange for a gig, but it’s packed and it’s LOUD!

Shrug have turned up tonight, both in presence and volume. Rob is on form with his aloof yet charismatic antics and his bag of tricks, from which he grabs various props and wigs to aid his performance, doesn’t disappoint. Behind him the band are tight yet chaotic with an air of something that possibly shouldn’t work but really, really does.


Hammond style keys soar above the clangour of drums and strong, catchy riffs as Rob belts stories from a colourful past through a perfect mix of tracks from the olden days and their latest album Island Complex. Donna And The Daleks brings with it tips on where not to buy a toy echo mic, while Horses For Causes is a chanty delight complete with an appropriate mask.

By the end of the night, and after a well-received encore, Rob has melted, the band are pleased and I have perfected seat dancing. Win!

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