Ague is a solo musical venture formed by Half-Rats. Working In tandem with the music is an involved backstory, initially taking place in the late 19th - Early 20th centuries (WWI story arc). It details the events which transpired to bring Half-Rats to the present (21st century). It is currently on-going and is released as a serial on a semi-regular basis via his Facebook page. The story features some elements of Steampunk, Victorian Spiritualism, Weird Fiction and Non-Fiction.
Style and InfluencesEdit
The musical style is reminiscent of a mixture of Folk, Jazz, Music Hall/Beer Hall and Classical. The song subject matter centers around historical themes and is very dark in nature. Many of the lyrics and titles correlate directly to the story of "Half-Rats". The lyrics are inspired by the works of authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, George Macdonald, Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood. The music was influenced by the likes of Django Reinhardt, Tom Waits, J.G. Thirlwell and Danny Elfman and composers such as Bach, Vivaldi, Franz Liszt and Beethoven.
Half-Rats usually relies heavily on backing tracks in order to perform. According to Half-Rats during a live performance; the reason for the "music produced from thin air" is thus: "None of my old players made it through due to a rather unfortunate incident involving time travel and the invariable nature of human mortality. Ladies and gentlemen, what you are about to hear is their mournful playing from beyond the veil, as they are forever relegated to the Aether.I will attempt now to convey their scores by the facility of this contrivance." The live performance of Ague features diverse props and a format vaguely similar to a medicine show - including references and allusions to concepts such as Animal Magnetism, victorian spiritualism and other historically relevant themes. Audience participation is encouraged. Half-Rats is known to use a straight razor to play guitar, (Much akin to the slide employed in Delta Blues) while performing "Straight Razor Swing". Half-Rats often hands out "bad" meat to the audience which has been "Imbued with the restorative properties of borax" as a segue into his song, "Borax and Butchers". He also brandishes "Carrie Nation's Hatchet" while performing "To Hell with the Temperance movement". Characters from the story are known to make appearances and interact onstage.
Half-Rats performs with a backing band, as well as by himself. He is joined by "Mrs. Rats", his loving wife, as well as a rotating host of backing players, including "Joe the Backalley Butcher".
- The debut full-length, "From Workhouse to Grave" (2014)
- Second full-length, "Powered by Effluvia" (2015)