The Lexington – 26th January
Music history holds many significant moments, from the punk-revolution of the ‘70s to the revival of American folk music in the early ‘60s. But let’s talk about the ‘50s, the debut of rock’n’roll and the radical eruption of youth culture. Yep, sex, drugs and swingin’ your hips on a Friday night to music about, well… sex, drugs and swingin’ your hips on a Friday night.
Artistry has moved on since though, right? Isn’t it all about progressive political statements and pretty electronic beats? Rock’n’roll is dead, get over it. But wasn’t the birth of popular music a political statement in itself? A middle finger to your parents? An unprecedented sense of freedom? Participation in a new, more socially-liberated generation? Beatle-fucking-mania was more powerful a religion to the Western teens of the ‘60s than the holy book their parents planted by their bedsides.
Okay, so we’ve calmed down a little since then, but if any band is to prove that even fraction of the excitement of rock’n’roll is still alive and kicking several decades later, it’s Liverpool quartet Trudy and the Romance at a sold-out Lexington.
At their biggest London headline to date, Trudy’s drunken brand of 50s pop delivers those let-your-hair-down Friday night feels to a packed-out crowd of post-work drinkers, all boozed-up for and ready for a boogie.
Nerves are evident for a fragment of the band’s opener, but as a natural response to an ebullient crowd, these quickly diminish to reveal a charming charisma from frontman Oliver Taylor. Think Luke Pritchard (The Kooks) served alongside a bigger portion of your favourite 50s crooners and you’ve got the raw yet woozy vocal of a first-class performer. Throw in the simpering swagger of Mac DeMarco and the energetic presence of Vampire Weekend and the show makes for a real spectacle despite its lo-fi sonics.
Their retro aesthetic appears genuine and comfortable, unlike some of the artful attempts we’ve witnessed with other artists in recent years; Trudy aren’t try-hard. The record is replicated enough to justify strong musicianship, without deterring from a rock and let’s-roll-with-it delivery.
Standouts ‘Baby I’m Blue’ and the psychedelic pop beat of ‘Sandman’ are a treat to the ears, as are cuts from debut EP Junkyard Jazz. ‘Twist It, Shake It. Rock & Roll’ is a deeply doo-wop rooted serving of triumphant jangle pop, ‘Is There a Place I Can Go’ performed giddy with saccharine romance.
A night of stumbling garage-rock for both romancers and disco dancers. It’s the 21st century but Trudy truly prove that there will always be a place for good ‘ol rock’n’roll.
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