This review was originally published in April of 2018.
The Sideshow Tragedy was named after references in a Rimbaud poem called “Parade”. They are a Black Keys style rock duo with a voice like Lou Reed and a blues mojo like Chris Whitley. I swear this song could be from Hotel Vast Horizon just without a bass. And if you can write the song and make it rock without a bass, by all means. Sorry Heiko. Take the day off.
Beyond the peer references, The Sideshow Tragedy is able to lay down the foundations of a Petty-style groove and throw a few self-deprecating grenades of revelation over the top. It's all there - the resonator guitar with the pinky slide, the tattoos, the shovel references. The cigarettes.
Well that grit's got to come from somewhere. Both lyrically and with regard to cadence this is the first songwriter I have ever heard to tap into the kind of Texas dust-soul that I thought was Chris Whitley's alone. That's a big deal. We will be following this band closely.
The Sideshow Tragedy comes to us from Austin, Texas.