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12,557 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 276 of them this year alone and, so far, 127 this month (Feb. 28).

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Taupe + Dead Hedge Trio @ The Head of Steam. October 9

(Review by Russell)
Dashing from the Jazz Café – foregoing Paul Edis’ solo piano concert – to the recently refurbished Head of Steam pub to hear two power jazz trios made for what can only be described as an evening of extreme contrast! Broadly, the Jazz Café presented ‘jazz’ as we know it, the Head of Steam offered punk-jazz – ‘skronk’ wouldn’t you know – at a level of volume that some simply wouldn’t appreciate or tolerate. A triple bill, the first act – Waskerley Way – had been and gone before your reviewer arrived late, hot foot from the Jazz Café (see earlier posting).
Just taking the stage were the Dead Hedge Trio who, earlier in the year, played a gig at the nearby Jazz Café. Nick Branton (tenor & baritone saxophones), Rory Ballantyne (guitar) and Michael Metcalfe (drums) travelled from Liverpool to play a set of forty minutes or so in front of a predominately student audience. Standing with a pint in hand is to be expected, some chose to arrive on/with a skateboard. So, some stood with pint and skateboard in hand as the band ventured to the outer limits of a post Brötzmann world. Pedal boards, extension tracks, looped, processed sound. Branton blew tenor. Branton blew baritone. Physical, ferocious. Drummer Michael Metcalfe hammered mercilessly, a glance, a smile. Guitarist Ballantyne appeared the epitome of serenity amidst the cacophony. Ah, don’t be fooled, his pedal board set-up made him culpable, guilty by way of joint enterprise, in a set including Antibiotic and some Sun Ra. Check out the Dead Hedge Trio, they’re good.
Headliners Taupe formed at Newcastle University. The ‘power jazz commando trio’ are Adam Stapleford (drums), Jamie Stockbridge (alto saxophone) and guitarist Mike Parr-Burman. As post grads they’re on the road taking their music to all four corners. A Newcastle Head of Steam gig was something of a homecoming. More pedal boards, track and cabling. Parr-Burman, standing between drums and alto, has a personal, identifiable   sound integral to Taupe. Thunderous, measured riffs give free reign to his band mates to create razor-sharp improvisations. Stapleford’s precision power drumming ranks with the very best on the scene as altoist Stockbridge wrenched a braying horn into the maelstrom. Hugely impressive, an immersive experience, resistance is futile, enjoy!     
Russell           

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

The Dead Hedge Trio guitarist is Rory Ballantyne, two names are associated in error in this review.

Lance said...

Error corrected - our apologies ,

Russell said...

Error corrected by the editor. My apologies, as the incompetent author of the piece, for getting it wrong. If one thing should be got right it is a name.

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