Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Royal Trux



During Royal Trux's opening set for Sonic Youth at the Riv a while back a friend of the band's leaned over to opine, "They sound a lot better without a bassist." He was making a sophisticated comment about the group's history, but I just had to laugh. To a lot of people, Royal Trux would sound better without a bassist. They would also sound better without the out-of-tune organ blaring, even better if the lead singer stopped caterwauling, and close to OK if the guitarist and drummer stopped too. The group sound is essentially an extremely twisted, heroin-soaked homage to the Rolling Stones' two gritty landmarks, Aftermath and Exile on Main Street; but the band's awesome commitment to the warped psychic underbelly of that music--and the accompanying life-style--makes both their records and live appearances wholly disturbing. Royal Trux is basically Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema, assisted by a shifting cast of supporting players and the ever-present effects of the big H. (I'm not giving away any secrets here, just quoting from the press release. That's my job.) I'm familiar with their new record, Royal Trux, and a single, "Hero Zero" (both out on the local Drag City label), which I understand are somewhat more, um, focused than previous outings. Their effect is something like "Sister Morphine" played by the Panther Burns, but with a Venusian guitar track overlaid and the drums recorded in another state, or perhaps "It's So Easy" as it might be played by some highly evolved species of wild animal. I guess I'm trying to get across the feeling I have that their eerie (and, from what I understand, deliberate) Stones base is one of Royal Trux's few connections (perhaps the sole one) to what most of us consider real life, or maybe even reality. But then why does the music feel so primal, so compelling, so necessary? Sabalon Glitz and Eric's Mother open. Saturday, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

Add a comment