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LondonNet Clubs Guide

LondonNet Gig Review


RTX,  Photo: Sasha Eisenman., courtesy of Drag City.RTX
24/02/05

Electrowerkz
7 Torrens Street
London EC1V 1NQ


Sin Infinitives
Erstwhile Royal Trux singer has cleaned up her act but, thankfully, not her
sound

An exodus of moderate proportions was already underway when RTX launchedinto the G'n'R-tinged throttler "Joint Chief". More than a few fair-weather fans marched out, literally with middle fingers blazing, because they just couldn't take Jen Herrema - clad in her giant poncho with huge fur collar and denim with more holes than material, dripping with mammoth silver and turquoise accoutrements, hair a bleached-out rat's nest - taking a nonchalant swing at a feedback-emitting microphone and then refusing to sing for five songs, just moodily strutting around the stage striking rock god poses, including the occasional Keith Richards-style slouchy lean against guitarist Jaimo Welch. The bassist looked straight out of 1985, wearing a shrunken waistcoat and an Axl-style rag over his straggly, greasy mane.

Fuelled by an unbroken chain of Virginia Slim 100s, Herrema exuded bad attitude and hell-bound indifference, which, apparently, turned off some people expecting something else, though god knows what. Those are precisely the qualities that everyone - or at least I - reveres her for, and adding it to her melding of leggy, wasted loveliness, backwoods scuzziness and genuine American sleaze, she's an icon of underground glamour. And then there's the voice - a creature of its own, a feral, drug-ravaged, phlegm-hocking howl that sneered, drawled and spit through the fetid bogs of so many Royal Trux albums that scored my adolescence. If I could have seen Herrema and Hagerty during the peak of my 16-year-old Royal Trux hero-worshipping and they had displayed a similar brand of flagrant disinterest in pleasing the audience, I probably would have swooned, which is why I didn't get the displeasure of this contingent that apparently expected an audience appreciation night for their cash. And if they hadn't already checked their balls at the cloakroom to avoid them being rocked off by the thunderingly tanked torrent of righteous riffage that is Bad Wizard, they were doubly screwed.

The band behind Herrema kept the Camaro running, though, while Herrema sauntered around stage, blistering through the behemoth of an album opener known as Limozine, the gorgeously anthemic Speed to Roam, the eerie Heavy Gator, and the sparse power ballad PB&J. After some earnest imploring from a PR guy that commandeered the microphone, saying, "C'mon, Jen, sing for them!" Herrema reluctantly reclaimed the mike, rolling through Pulling Out Now and the epic Resurrect between swigs of champagne, but not before muttering defiantly about not being accustomed to doing what's asked of her. An anticlimactic end saw Herrema and co. practically drop their instruments and sulk offstage, prompting a litany of expletives from some of the audience. But for a band whose album cover art is a grotesquely arcane, beautiful drawing of two skulls melded by a shared set of teeth and eye sockets, fronted by a woman who's never been inclined to yield to commerciality or public opinion, it was a perfect conclusion to what had become a resolute, characteristically Trux rebuttal to all those too uptight to sit back and enjoy the entropy stirred up by rock'n'roll's veterans of disorder.

Ashley Brown

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