Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players

Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players

An intriguing evening's entertainment last Saturday. Went to see The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players do their thing at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington. In case you've missed the copious amounts of press coverage they've received off the back of their stint at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, their 'thing' is buying vintage slide collections at thrift stores and garage sales then turning them into pop-musical exposes of middle America. Jason (Dad) takes care of lead vocals whilst alternating between guitar and keyboard, Tina (Mum) looks after the slide projector and Rachel (their 11 year-old daughter) plays the drums.

The evening kicked off on an appropriately surreal note with Jason taking the audience through his extensive UK phone card collection, stopping to greet any latecomers and encouraging everyone to leave their mobiles on "because Oprah calls only once". He then handed over to the support act, Langhorne Slim, who preceded to blow the socks off the audience with a musical tour de force which defies easy categorisation (iTunes/CDDB reckon Country, but I don't think that does it justice).

After a brief interval Jason returned to the stage, this time avec famille, and the (slide) show began in earnest. Whilst there was undoubtedly much to like in the lo-fi presentation of assorted slices of Americana and myriad comic touches in the musical accompaniment I was disappointed that there wasn't more of a coherent political or social commentary. Following such an impassioned performance from Langhorne Slim, the Trachtenburgs began to feel like something of a one trick pony and when the lights went up I reflected that the starter has unexpectedly proved more filling than the main course.