added: 24 May 2012
// gig date: 17 May 2012
reviewer: Claudia A
frontman Martin Muscatt
is a cousin of Mick Jones
, but don’t hold it against him. Only kidding. With partner Allison Phillips
, TT delivered a recent gig at the 12 Bar that rocked like fury!
The man who claims The Clash
inspired him to pick up guitar and sell his soul to rock n roll took to the stage around 9pm; backed by Allison (ex-Alternative TV/Raincoats
) on drums, David Wright
(former X-Ray Spex
) on sax and Peter McDonald
on slide n bass. While Martin and Allison are the very spine of Taurus Trakker (in fact, the duo are
TT), David and Pete’s input made for a set that left no doubt these cats regard punk-rock blues as their gospel.
Opening with ‘Building Ten’ (the title track of TT’s new album) Martin, sporting a black biker cap and short-sleeved white shirt, snarled “I work in building ten on the second floor…” whilst strumming the chords on his guitar. Aforementioned cousin and Clash-legend Jones didn’t throw in a guest appearance for this number (he did on the album), though most likely he wouldn’t have fitted anymore onto the ultra tiny stage anyway.
On ’21 Miles To The Water Pump’ David’s blasting tenor sax almost took over (giving the track a slight Mott The Hoople feel). This was a real scorcher yet Martin’s lyrics still burst through nice and clear. Only shame was the room still wasn’t filled to bursting point with punters. Luckily this changed within the next two songs ‘West London Rock N Roll’ (TT love to write material about their local West London area!) while ‘A Rakket U Trust’ came with the tongue-in-cheek advance warning “This is not for the fainthearted”. During the entire set, David left the stage on and off while Martin changed guitars on several occasions, jokingly explaining: “I like changing guitars, it makes us feel important”.
‘Temporary’ proved to be the perfect vehicle for Allison to give it her all behind the drum kit (ok, she gave it her all during each and every number) and it was a joy to witness that she managed all that banging with a smile on her face (as opposed to some distorted facial grimaces). At some point, she even thanked the audience for coming along… something the notoriously word-shy Meg White never would have done. Because TT is a male guitar/female drums duo, comparisons are made to the White Stripes
though TT is a very different beast!
Martin, on the other hand, performed licks and lyrics in a relatively restrained ‘matter of fact’ style, no unnecessary on-stage goofs or stuff like that – music and lyrics stood their own ground and he was merely the tool delivering both. He introduced an ace new song called ‘Wild Woman In A Small Town’ (presumably dedicated to Allison…) which, once again, was absolutely grooving. Before spicing up things further with ‘Gamblin Blues’, Martin warned the audience about the dangers of gambling, cheekily adding that at one point he used to be hooked on that drug himself.
After ‘Long Gone’ (if my memory doesn’t fail me that was another track from TT next album) the crowd was treated to ‘Lucky’, a song about the duo’s love/hate relationship with the Notting Hill Carnival. Thanks to the combined fretwork courtesy of Mr. Muscatt and Mr. McDonald, it turned out to be a particularly lucky experience for the assembled listeners.
Final number ‘Bag For Life’ (an awesome composition mixing White Stripes-style rhythm with some Beastie Boys-style hollering) had the crowd in its grip but unfortunately there wasn’t any time left for encores.
While Taurus Trakker’s raw yet catchy threadbare punk-blues is perfectly suited to be experienced in sweaty and dingy little places like the 12 Bar, the band sure deserves playtime on bigger stages too. One of the best live gigs I’ve experienced so far this year!(Please read my interview with Taurus Trakker in the ‘Interviews’ section).
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