It was likely down to the Bank Holiday Monday that there was only a single audience member present as things kicked off at Broadcast last week. To their credit, openers Pretty Villain still gave it everything they had, even though they didn’t entirely come into their own until the floor began filling out a bit. A serviceable band playing on home turf, they showed occasional bits of swagger in their style but otherwise seemed the sort for whom more solid gigging would do a world of good.
Following them were Leithers Ayakara, who hit their stride immediately, peppering their thoroughly enjoyable set with a slew of brand-new songs that peaked in catchy rocker Caroline. With a slightly unsettled air reminiscent of the late, lamented 22-20s, there was also a decidedly dancey edge to many of their numbers, with set closer Soothe Ya neatly encapsulating the entire range as it incrementally ratcheted from a steady slowness into its pacey singalong finale.
Such a multipartite song was worlds away from its straightforward predecessors – but if there was anything this gig proved, it’s that variety can be a relative concept. From the off, Trudy and the Romance quietly knocked any preconceptions of genre individuality into a cocked hat: where Ayakara accomplished slow transitions from one style to the next, Trudy often dispensed with transitions altogether, instead layering everything on top of one another and seeing what came out the other side.
The raison d’être here seems to be to fit as many musical styles into each song as is responsibly advisable, and why not? Though initially a bit difficult to grasp hold of, things finally clicked as drummer Brad Mullins stepped out front to cover I Want You, I Need You, I Love You in his best Elvis-meets-Zappa bass-baritone. Then, all bets were off – although, setting this alongside Soothe Ya‘s ‘I don’t want you, I need you’ mantra, the evening’s lyrics generally offered less variety than the accompanying music.
But by now, any pretences at analysis were out the door, as a more vibrant atmosphere settled in amongst the growing crowd. And, despite the increasing immediacy, the regularity of the gearshifts never let up for a moment. Even the parting notes of Trudy’s final number managed to drop a graceful doo-wop inflection into the mix, fleetingly revealing yet another facet of the gem. Shame there weren’t more there to witness it: had there been, they would most certainly have gotten their money’s worth.
For more on Trudy and the Romance and their tour dates click here.