Royal Trux

Monday, June 19, at the Grog Shop

Royal Trux, with Cobra Verde Grog Shop Monday, June 19
Most famous for reportedly blowing an advance from its record label to buy drugs and then having the gall to ask for more money, Royal Trux -- now clean and sober -- has kept the Pussy Galore aesthetic alive even more than other Galore offshoots, such as the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Boss Hog. Released over a decade ago, the band's sloppy, poorly recorded self-titled debut has all the swagger of early Stones, but makes no concessions to traditional rock structures. But ever since building their own studio in Richmond, Virginia, and returning to the indie imprint Drag City for 1998's Accelerator and 1999's Veterans of Disorder, the band has grown increasingly prolific and lucid.

On Pound for Pound, its most recent album and second in less than a year, it sounds sharper and more focused than ever. Whether or not they're hopped up on smack, Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty make for an intriguing duo. With Herrema sounding like a raspy-throated Mick Jagger, they come off as reckless and unhinged, especially when singing about a wicked voodoo lady in "Deep Country Sorcerer," a track that sounds like a pairing between Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Tom Waits. Indulging in avant blues ("Platinum Tips"), twisted funk ("Small Thief"), and art-damaged pop ("Sunshine and Grease"), Royal Trux gives blues-based rock and roll an irreverent, indie rock makeover that's more visceral than just about anything by Jon Spencer or any of his downtown New York cohorts. Royal Trux played to a nearly empty Grog Shop its last time through town, but like true rock stars, Herrema and Hagerty, who seem to always be wearing their shades, weren't fazed by the tepid response and rambled through their effects-filled set like a couple of pros, living up to their reputation as "Veterans of Disorder."

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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