Shuffling on stage in his socks, Juffage’s – Jeff T. Smith to his mum – tramp like figure combines the tortured ramblings of ‘Requiescats’ with scattered drums to soon disperse the yuppies braying in the bar next door. Crawling around amid a tangled mass of wires he leaps from one instrument to the next with the dexterity of a one man Mogwai. The chaotic beats of ‘My Weakness’ spray out like brightly coloured globules of paint coating everyone in sound. Running between the crowd carrying a recording of the frantic screams of ‘Tapes’ he hints at some demons concealed within. What is clear is that his experimental doominess seems destined for brighter things. Eccentric troubadour Thomas Truax then carries with him the feel of a travelling fair. Tall, lithe and beetle browed, he is Nick Caves sunnier doppelganger, lining up his array of weird and wonderful musical contraptions for the bemused and enchanted crowd. The dizzying psychedelic hum of ‘Prove To My Daughter’ carries an almost hypnotic quality, while his interpretation of ‘Audrey’s Dance’ from Twin Peaks has a groovy hepcat edge. Before things get too ‘far out man’ he introduces the creations from his magical junkshop; the Dickensian drum machine in ‘Mother Superior’ and the macabre slinky meets didgeridoo, used to chilling effect in ‘In Heaven (The Lady in the Radiator Song)’ from Eraserhead. As well as breathing new life into David Lynch soundtracks he adds crazy little ditties of his own. ‘Moon Over Wowtown’ sees him stalking through the crowd, running out into the street and popping out through windows like a character from Labyrinth. Even his take on blue master Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ ‘I Put A Spell On You’ is still tongue firmly in cheek as he whirls round to reveal the Spider-like ‘Back-Beater’ in place of a drum machine. Singer, inventor and all round entertainer, Thomas Truax is one of a kind. This is one bandwagon worth jumping on.
By Kate Parkin
Originally published in issue 15 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. March 2010