LIVE REVIEW: Thomas Truax, David Benjamin, Paul Handyside @ The Waiting Room, Eaglescliffe (10.10.21) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Chris Saunders

Beneath the hand painted fairground fascia that crowns the stage of the Waiting Room, Eaglescliffe, Thomas Truax’s musical machines promised a night of magical, musical mayhem. As the audience slowly filled the seated venue folk singer Paul Handyside warmed to the task. His delightful near croon Only You followed the poignant and heart-rending Hartley Pit Catastrophe. A Kitchenware stalwart in his past musical life Paul can still hit those pop notes when the fancy takes him.

David Benjamin is from just around the corner, we were told. Seated at the keyboard, confident in voice and his playing, David broke off from the songs into a confessional poem about parking in a disabled space.

The stage was now cleared for Mr Thomas Truax of Wow Town to set his machines whirring into action. By now the restaurant back room was packed as Thomas entered with a vintage gramophone horn to his face, singing into the distorting bowl, while plucking at strings from its side like a broom bass. This is the Hornicator; the first of several home made machines and instruments, the most dependable of which, the Heath Robinson-like Mother Superior, lays down beats from the retractable spokes of a bicycle wheel. The most advanced structure was also the most temperamental, the robotic Lunar seemed to whirr and whizz quite independently, artificial intelligence opting out of actually playing the songs.

It is not all about machines and their noises but also the songsmithery. Sinister, reverb-laced guitar, and a voice to grace any David Lynch drama, Thomas Truax escaped Inside the Internet, a haven for all of us over the past 18 months. A weeping harping of the guitar strings from a battery operated fan serenaded the tragical tale of The Butterfly and The Entomologist. Then the house lights were dimmed for a finale in buzzsaw day-glo glasses, Thomas Truax displaying the full glories of his Beehive Heart.

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