TR/ST, pronounced Trust, is the dark synthpop project of Robert Alfons, a man gifted with a spooky baritone that could seduce Count Dracula. The project was co-founded by Maya Postepski from Toronto's Austra, but Alfons now leads the act on his own with a band that—at least at their Sunday CHBP performance—included a keyboardist in a bright red wrestling suit who looked like they could beat my ass and also give me a tarot reading.
The band's fast-paced set kicked off with their most recent single, "Bicep." It's a grimy, sinister track that had the crowd dancing even though it's unclear what Alfons is muttering in his raspy low register. If cool goth gays had an orgy in a graveyard, this is what they would play.
Alfons and the band flew through their 45-minute set, packing in what felt like an hour-and-a-half's worth of their underground hits. But, while the high-energy set was one of the best I saw this weekend, I couldn't stop thinking about what Alfons was wearing. Slithering onstage in a dirty, torn white tank top and snakeskin (or gator? maybe fake? maybe real?) pants with a hole right in the crotch, Alfons proceeded to dance like a drunk baby dinosaur. A silver ring (maybe a cockring?) was attached to and dangling from the center of his torn tank. The whole look gave off serious Joe-Dirt-goes-to-Pony vibes. A bro next to me aptly commented, "It's, like, weirder than I thought it was going to be."
Alfons might've given off the fantasy that he'd just lube-wrestled an alligator at some club kid party, but on further inspection, it seemed he could just as likely have been wearing the latest Gucci or Vivienne Westwood. Alfons isn't a stranger to fashion—he can be spotted on Instagram in outfits designed by club-kid
-and-Miley-Cyrus-approved designer BCALLA. (Here he is wearing a piece from one of BCALLA's latest collections, IF WORMS DISGUST ME, WHY DO I LOVE PENIS?)
Halfway through TR/ST's set, it occurred to me that this is how everyone should have been dressed in John Cameron Mitchell's recent punk trainwreck, How to Talk to Girls at Parties. Instead of making Nicole Kidman look like a shitty Siouxsie Sioux, Mitchell and his team should have put the Australian super-diva in a pair of Alfons's holey reptile pants.
The dark force of underground clubbing is strong in Alfons. Hopefully we'll be hearing a new album from him soon.