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Friday, October 12, 2018

Taupe @ King’s Hall, Newcastle University - October 11

Jamie Stockbridge (alto saxophone); Mike Parr-Burman (guitar); Adam Stapleford (drums).
(Review by Russell)
The scatter-skronk-noise-jazz commando team…so began the ICMuS blurb. What? Scatter? Skronk? ICMuS? Don’t be deterred, you ain’t as dumb as you look. As has been noted elsewhere…the rest is noise, or, if you like, it’s only noise. Please, don’t be afraid of the dark (there’s a song title in there, somewhere).

Taupe returned to Newcastle University, their seat of learning some three, perhaps four years ago. Today they walked into King’s Hall as alumni rather than three most promising undergraduates. Alto saxophonist Jamie Stockbridge did the talking. The PA was less than adequate rendering announcements all but inaudible.  To his left, guitarist Mike Parr-Burman, and, side-on to the audience, Adam Stapleford behind the traps. Was that a second snare? Stapleford peered through, and over, an array of shimmering cymbals, maintaining eye contact with his fellow alumni.


Following gigs at London’s Vortex and north of the border, this King’s Hall concert was a homecoming of sorts. Stockbridge acknowledged the undergraduate music students saying: This is for you guys! Would Taupe’s one set performance inspire, perhaps dispirit, the current cohort? The technical proficiency on show was of the jaw-dropping variety; these guys have been shedding for years and a gig such as this could be seen merely as an ‘open day’ – their world of work on public view.

Polyrhythmic madness, hammered-on guitar riffs, incisive alto sax, the use of two deluxe pedal boards (see photo), Taupe played it loud, well, most of the time they did and, what’s more, it didn’t scare the King’s Hall regulars. Some newer material and some older stuff (including Carnival’s Quarrel and perhaps their first ever tune Mammatus) impressed. Dazzling, complex stuff alright. New CDs and t-shirts were for sale, this the world of three Newcastle University alumni. On leaving King’s Hall two undergraduate guitarists were seen woodshedding in an adjacent practice room.  
Russell.

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