|The Mother Superior|
Dressed Like Wolves was stripped down to the Teesside based songwriter at its core, Rick Dobbing. The rest of the band were unable to make it. But no matter, Rick endeared us all with his songs containing lots of inconvenient truths about our existence. He opened his set with Tiny Ides, a sweet song about falafel. He got through his performance with a self-deprecating sense of humour that complemented such songs as Depth Charge (about death), Ship Song (was to be called Daydreamers but that was too twee) and the quite haunting Churches. His vocal style is fractured, vulnerable with a touch of the Feargal Sharkey about it. I’d like to see him with a full band but he carried this off really well and has a truly likeable stage presence.
Nothing could prepare us for the entrance of Thomas Truax. He started his set standing on the merch desk with an arrangement of horns around his neck and some steampunk-esque eye-furniture. This was a dark delta-blues number which Thomas took around the room and onto the stage where his introduced us to his drum machine The Mother Superior which is a thing to behold. He performed Inside The Internet which my companion said sounded like it had come from a David Lynch film soundtrack. Thomas Introduced us to his Hornicator, another Truax-made instrument of which he talks in the third person. The Precarious Waltz, constructed using the Hornicator and a loop pedal arrangement, had us thinking about some NIN tracks and certainly, later in the show Beehive Mind had a real industrial feel. However much of Thomas’s music is blues, and rock and roll influenced for example Full Moon Over Wowtown. This song was performed within the audience under a projected “moon” then Thomas took the party outside around the pub and back again. Let it not be said that Thomas Truax doesn’t know how to keep an audience on their toes.
Not entirely surprisingly Thomas mentions an album made entirely of songs inspired by David Lynch movies. He introduced us to the Stringaling, a home-made musical “Bop IT” with twangs and peeyoings aplenty, and performed You Whistle In Your Sleep, about the suspicious look you may wake up to in the morning when you awake from your dreams. The encore was a beautiful lullaby called The Mobile Starts to Spin, definitely one for insomniacs.
This was Thomas’s 25th appearance at the Cumberland Arms, apparently, with interest growing all the time. The levels of inventiveness, unapologetic eccentricity and fun are enough for me to look forward to the next time. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!
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