Live at The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle

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At first The Lindsay Tin don’t come across quite as quirky as their name and eclectic stage setup would suggest. They are a guitar duo who tease the audience with a selection of other instruments scattered around the stage and after a subdued opening of “I Am All That I Owe” the band run through some in your face folk-rock with brings to mind the straight-up bombast of Del Amitri or some other mid 90s chart botherers. Gradually the band start to mix things up and it gets interesting when they introduce vocal effects, synth and kick drum on tracks like “They Wear Wolf In London”, a gem of a tune which is a real turning point in the set. Their mixture of Godspeed You Black Emperor riffs and sanitised indie melodies doesn't always work but they’ve got a few genuinely excellent tunes which won’t fail to impress even the most cynical soul (me). On their final song (which doesn’t seem to be available online but hopefully soon will be) their whole kit is utilised, everything falls into place and it must go down as one of the most surprisingly brilliant and engaging moments I've seen from a support act in quite a while. Its no coincidence that on all their best moments they deviate from the guitar-guitar combo to unleash something much more original and vital, a little bit more in that vein wouldn’t go amiss.Thomas Truax is becoming quite a regular at the Cumberland Arms, despite being US born and mainland Europe-based, he announces to the crowd that this is the 18th gig his done for the same Newcastle promoter (Prancey Dog). If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but Truax has great experience at fixing things, namely his array of temperamental homemade instruments which litter the stage and occasionally misbehave. Ambitiously opening with an eerie work-in-progress which elaborates on the well trodden themes of his beloved/mythical Wowtown, he seems to play the set by ear, taking requests and bantering with the audience like they are old friends. “Escape From The Audience” has a stunning backwards guitar solo, “A Notice Of Eviction To A Closet Full of Skeletons” owes a big debt to hero David Lynch’s dreamy vision of a 50s styled America. And speaking of which, we’re treated to a cover of Chris Isaac’s “Wicked Game” (the video for which was directed by Lynch and was also featured on the Wild At Heart soundtrack) and whilst Truax clearly doesn’t have the vocal range of Isaac, he more than makes up for it with ingenuity and a genuine passion for the source material.  “March Winds” is as moving as usual, and “Full Moon Over Wowtown” sees some engaging audience participation. The more curious attendees in the crowd aren’t disappointed when he utilises the classic laundry tube, bicycle wheels and TV Ariel instruments and on one standout moment he plays “The Butterfly and The Entomologist” with a battery operated hand fan, fascinating and very funny to boot. Sometimes it seems like Truax is inventing new genres at will with his ultra-analogue kit and on “Everything’s Gone Halloween” he creates some sort of lo-fi-dubstep sound from these inventions. Ending with a subtly loop-tastic “I’m Deranged” and a glow in the dark “Beehive Heart” he certainly hasn’t lost any of the entertaining edginess that keeps this audience coming back for more.

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