Jon Boden surrounds himself with instruments that can’t help make you go “what?”, “huh?!” and “wow!” in equal measure. There are the tuned percussion wine glass rims; the phonograms (which I’m told are filled with bee’s wax?).
The whole hue of the stage and lighting show tied to Boden’s apocolyptia imagery. When the song has rain, the drums sound like rain, the violins thunder; when it’s sunny the audience is showered in light.
The guy to his left doesn’t seem to move when I look at him – like one of those statues in Dr Who. It sets off a huge variety of material – a Kipling poem arranged as an acapella song, a Kate Bush cover played on three squeeze boxes – experimental music at its very best.
Slow Club are a great band, capable of a brilliant live show. When it works, it works; the Sheffield duo create more noise and energy than two singers, one acoustic guitar and one drum-kit have any right to do.
Tonight, however, things go wrong: technical problems mean the sweet-and-cleanness of their indie-folk brand is lost under a wave of feedback – guitar and drums becoming one amorphous block that flattens the nuances of the raucous, dance-like-an-idiot sections of the set.
A small section of raucous people dancing like idiots undermine the quieter numbers – though these are more effective. After the full-band arrangements (with Jeremy “Sexy Owl” Warmsley and a surprise beard), Charles and Rebecca return for an unplugged encore, the crowd pushing forward to pick out every word.
It’s enchanting, summery, and perfectly pitched – the way the rest of it could have been.
Bees, death, circling black cats, birthday goldfish, and the occult were just some of the things at stake in Traux’s phantasmagoric and uncanny live show.
Dressed like an undertaker, and as skinny as his tie, his weird and wonderful solo performance was made replete with his Steampunk troupe of home-made, autonomous musical beasts as a cacophony of spoons, trumpets and chimes was somehow transformed into a hypnotic and charmingly unique sound.
His use of a personal fan on a resonator guitar in the beautiful ‘The Butterfly and the Entomologist’ was pure musical genius, whilst the fantastic ‘Why Dogs Howl at the Moon’ had the audience literally baying for more.
Truax treads a delightfully fine line between mad scientist and gothic performer and his inspired musical approach is one that must be appreciated live.