Gig review: Roller Trio - King Tut’s Glasgow

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This exciting young sax/guitar/drums trio from Leeds were the token jazzateers on last year’s Mercury Music Prize shortlist, meaning that according to the unwritten rules of the award they were sure to be overlooked in favour of some self-conscious indie darlings. And so it proved to be.

Roller Trio - King Tut’s Glasgow

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But even hungover, as they admitted they were, for their first ever foray to Scotland, this group were tight, dynamic, liberating, expressive and playful with it, recalling the irreverent spirit of such jazz-punk outfits as Blurt and James Chance & the Contortions in some of their stylings. Elsewhere, they would build a tune teasingly like a club track, allowing each movement the space to breathe and catch hold, before kicking things up a notch or changing direction entirely.

RollerToaster’s purposeful, relentless, rolling rhythm recalled a jazz take on Radiohead’s Paranoid Android with James Mainwaring’s soulful, cathartic sax in place of the guitar freakout interlude. Instead, guitarist Luke Wynter often used his instrument to dispatch basslines, but also soothed with his spacey arpeggios on the more lyrical number R-O-R, before Mainwaring impressed with an abstract solo. Completing the unit, Luke Reddin-Williams was a stealth drone on drums, controlled but lethal.

“Shall we carry on?” Mainwaring asked, by way of soliciting an encore. Permission granted by the appreciative audience, they immediately justified the decision with Wynter’s reverby rock’n’roll chords and one of the most infectious sax hooks of the set, before switching up to a punky urgency which blew the remainder of their cobwebs away.