There aren’t many gigs that I review within which I feel compelled to avoid giving spoilers, but then there aren’t many artists like Thomas Truax. As we arrive at The Lexington for the launch party for his new album Dream Catching Songs, a curious contraption of wheels, spokes and motors, known to the familiar as Mother Superior, sits ready to… well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it.
But first there is the enticing prospect of a supporting set from Blang Records labelmates David Cronenberg’s Wife, cult heroes of the UK anti-folk scene, who intoxicate us with twisted tales of sordid nights out and disappointing sexual encounters with mermaids, with a surfy twang and darkly humorous edge.
Then the lights drop, a mysterious clanking can be heard and a bright white light appears through the stage door. Thomas Truax, for it is he, makes his way through the crowd and onto the stage and proceeds to bewitch us with an hour of surreal stories and other-worldy music. A group of fans huddle around Mother Superior marvelling at her mechanics and trying to unravel their mysteries, while others just stare in wide-eyed wonder and let the magic wash over them. We’re introduced to the brassy beauty of the Hornicator, fashioned from pieces of a vintage gramophone, strings and electronics, that draws further gasps of appreciation from the audience. And the creativity is not restricted to these spectacular contraptions – Truax is just as capable of captivating us with a simple handheld fan, a tiny clip on torch or a pair of light-up glasses.
The spectacle of Truax’s live set is unlike anything that you’ll see elsewhere, but if it was all about the mechanical stagecraft it wouldn’t keep bringing us back. Thankfully the songs sparkle with the same sense of invention, imbued with humour and heart – today we’re treated to a tranche of new tracks from his fabulous new album Dream Catching Songs along with plenty of fan favourites: the sing-along surreality of ‘Full Moon Over Wowtown’, the beautiful ‘Butterfly and The Entomologist’ and the madcap buzz of ‘Beehive Heart’ amongst them, along with a few curios from his extensive back catalogue, including excellent post-punk romp ‘Future Is Leisure’, which was only released as an exclusive to members of his Full Moon Music Club.
For the uninitiated it’s a first step into Truax’s bizarre but welcoming world, while for those who’ve been following him for years it’s a perfect mix of the warm glow of the familiar and the delight of new twists, tunes and tales. And if you’ve yet to see him, check out the photos below and with your interest hopefully piqued, book yourself a ticket for one of the remaining shows on his UK tour or get a copy of Dream Catching Songs, once down Truax’s rabbit hole, you’ll never turn back.
Find out more on Thomas Truax’s official website
Review and photography by Paul Maps