Beamed in from another planet to bewilder the audience with his industrialised anti-folk, Thomas Truax is a genuine musical maverick.
Imagine Tim Burton with a guitar and a Scrapheap Challenge approach to sonic innovation, and you’re just about scratching the surface of the New York native.
Truax’s music has been described as steampunk and it’s as good a term as any. His bizarre homemade instruments, spread around the stage, are strange Victorian-looking creations cobbled together out of old gramophone horns and pram wheels, and they are played with a ‘just get up there and do it’ punk spirit.
When Mother Superior, his drum machine, breaks down, no-one is sure whether the 10 minute break while he fixes it is genuine, or just a clever way to introduce the interval.
Either way, he spends the entire time at the back of the stage, tinkering away until the pulley-powered percussionist is back on her metaphorical metal legs.
The singer likes to interact with the crowd, and even in this fairly confined space he weaves through the audience, standing on tables, chairs, even the bar at one point, all the while shining a fairytale full moon on to the ceiling using a torch attached to his guitar. While most of Truax’s songs have a stream of consciousness foundation where melody is just an afterthought and lyrics that often sound like an exercise in free writing, each song is completely compelling.
Even if some of his music is more than a little impenetrable, you have to applaud the sheer eccentricity and audacity of Thomas Truax.