26/03/2011 | The Rock of Travolta – The Cellar, Oxford

Lauren Corona

Main support for the night comes from Winchester’s Caretaker. This band are absurdly good. They have an offbeat sound, with strange time signatures that some would call prog-y. I personally prefer the math-core label, just because “prog” makes me think of bands from the ’70s who sang about wizards, and Caretaker are definitely cooler than that. This is the band’s last show for a while, due to personal commitments, but they’ll be returning, armed with a new album, in around six months, so you would be wise to check them out then.

Although The Rock of Travolta’s stunning new album, Fine Lines, was released on 14th March, tonight is its Oxford launch gig. My first thought is that there are actually no words to describe this band’s live shows, but words are kind of a prerequisite of this writing lark, so I’ll press on.

TROT are amazing on CD, but I don’t think you can get a true feeling for the music they write until you experience it live. Tonight the five-piece are joined by Ruth and Mike, who provide additional strings on 3 Days and Last March of the Acolytes. The layered, dynamic approach is an integral part of the band’s sound, and the extra string section only adds to this and works really nicely to accent the build ups in these tracks.

Special mention goes to Jennie Bates and Matt Spooner, whose multi-instrumental talents are both impressive and engaging. Matt plays both guitar and keyboards in any given song, and Jennie seems to effortlessly switch between cello, bass and keyboards, without missing a beat.

Since it’s the album launch, most of the material the band plays is from Fine Lines (although, anyone who caught them recently at The Wheatsheaf could have witnessed them playing a show encompassing much of the album Uluru). It’s hard to really pinpoint a highlight of the set, but Last March of the Acolytes is a perfect closing track, leaving you literally in awe.

www.therockoftravolta.com