Shrug. Middlesbrough Little Theatre. 11.1.20

Part garage rock gig, part local history lesson and part re-enactment of an episode of ‘Rent a ghost’ Shrug’s show tonight was a complete adventure in mad-cap performance art and comedic moments.  Deciding to blend high and low brow themes, the highest praise we can give the 5 piece is centred perhaps not for their music, but rather the way they present their music; employing a feast of wigs, animal masks and costumes to not only keep the audience enthralled but also to leave them completely unable to guess what comes next.  Led by the shamanic Rob Nichols, Shrug’s best moments come when they pull off their recipe of mixing sleazy Mc5 style guitar hooks with abstract narratives centred on local history; ‘Whitby Kipper’ soars with serious energy and abstraction whilst ‘Alien Autopsy’ finds a tight groove and rides it out to it’s natural finale. Employing a sound, and an ideology, which shouldn’t work, but completely does, Shrug were brilliant from the word go.  Quick shout out to principle support act Werbeniuk, who’s funk meets afrobeat sound, and constant switching of band roles, was highly original and full of great melodies.  Serious musical talent from both acts on a fantastic double-bill; another great night at the Little Theatre and another great night from Toft House.