Tiny Pop Presents... Trap-Pop Minotaur - Leeds, Fox & Newt - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Tiny Pop Presents... Trap-Pop Minotaur - Leeds, Fox & Newt

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2011-11-09

These Tiny Pop gigs seem to be coming around pretty quickly and as I adjust my eyes to the poster in the Fox & Newt I’m reminded that we are indeed up to October’s instalment of this rather unique musical odyssey.

To re-cap, at the beginning of the year Rachael Rix-Moore (alongside partner and co-conspirator Alice Rix-Moore) hatched a plan to form and disband 13 new ‘pop up’ bands throughout 2015. That ambitious and bonkers masterplan is nearing completion and it’s hard to believe this will be the 11th Tiny Pop event I’ve attended this year.

The nights have been abound with musical diversity yet if there was one genre I thought best defined the spirit and sound of Tiny Pop it would be indiepop. With this in mind it feels wholly right that Owen Radford-Lloyd (what is it with double barrel surnames and Tiny Pop?) is the first act to take to the stage tonight. As a member of The Seven Inches, The French Defence and tonight’s headliners Finnmark!, Radford Lloyd has his fingers in many an indiepop pie across Leeds.

His solo set consists of a pre-recorded backing track that plays alongside Radford-Lloyd’s gently melancholic dream-pop. If you’re looking for a reference point I’d say glance in the direction eighties indie legends The Field Mice and you’re halfway there. A highlight comes with the second outing of ‘The Museum of Lies’, a song he previously played as part of Satellite of Pop back in June. Naturally, everything is connected in Tiny Pop world.     

The revolving cast of Tiny Pop regulars continues with tonight’s pop-up band; The Seven Inches’ Ian Cockburn and Shaun Day are joined on stage by violinist Chrissie Caulfield from The Helicopter Quartet and both Rix-Moore’s. Tonight’s band are Trap-Pop Minotaur and stand as a tribute to the brilliant Trapdoor Minotaur, the original band disbanded in 2011 after three years of writing songs about “knitting, cats and friendships”.  

The band starts with “a song for Halloween”  with  Caulfield’s violin and Alice Rix-Moores glockenspiel adding some well-placed ‘spooky vibes’ to the energetic indiepop mix. There’s a wonky surrealism that Chrissie brings to the table that turns the indiepop sensibilities of the rest of the band into something altogether stranger.

A notebook of names  comes out for a fantastic cover of The Divine Comedy’s  ‘The Booklover’s’ with everyone from Mark Twain to Morrissey and Bill Drummond getting a shout out. Things go particularly odd with a newly written ode to Trapdoor Minotaur, the band suddenly coming over like a drunken Dirty Three in the process.

Finally, we’re treated to a second outing for Tiny Pop favourite ‘Alan’s Panic!’, a future indiepop classic if ever I heard one. There’s a real sense of creativity at these gigs and each pop-up band has been an enthusiastic tribute to the spontaneity and originality that comes from just getting together with some friends to write, learn and play some songs.  Most importantly, it’s a whole heap of fun as usual.

Next up we get a primal set from new three-piece, Ecate. Being Tiny Pop there is at least one familiar face in the band with Molars/Esper Scout drummer Sarah Statham making her second Tiny Pop appearance this year. Statham’s powerhouse drumming is always a welcome addition to any band and tonight is no exception, her thundering skins leading the charge as the band plough into catchy but suitably brutal 2 minute punk tunes.

The band has only played a handful of gigs so far and everyone’s clearly having a blast, managing to cram more enthusiasm and energy  into their brief 15 minute set than your average band could manage in two hours. Ecate go straight for the jugular.  Definitely a band to keep an eye on.

One of the best things about Tiny Pop has been being introduced to so many great bands, tonight Finnmark! add their name to that ever growing list. Finnmark! is a self-professed pop band from Leeds who list their inspirations as, “Scandinavian cinema, islands of the Swedish archipelago, and cycling”. The songs crackle with a giddy, indiepop energy  and Smiths-ian jangle while Forth’s lyrics retain a dry, characterful humour.

Just take the wonderful ‘Trans Pennine Express’ as Forth sings, “I’m tired and I’m depressed on the Trans Pennie express” in a manner I’m sure even indie train enthusiast Neil Hannon would approve of.  The bouncy, happy sounding pop of tracks like ‘Losing My Style’ work perfectly in juxtaposition with Forth’s deep voice and everyday confessionals while ‘Top of the Pops’ is brilliantly catchy indiepop gold.

The band has their former drummer as a last minute stand- in tonight and they stifle some laughter trying to explain/re-learn the songs seconds before launching into them. Impressively, it all goes off without a hitch. Again, the band look like they’re having a great time on stage and it’s an aesthetic, sound and approach that fit’s the Tiny Pop ethos perfectly.    

And suddenly, there were only two gigs to go in the Tiny Pop calendar………. 

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