Duke Special (Support: Stephanie Dosen)
King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow on 9th February 2007
Reviewed by Bob on 18th February 2007
Duke Special seems to be going from strength to strength since the first time I saw him play live, as support to David Ford. I was hooked from the start and this was the 4th time I've seen him live - first time with a full band backing him.
The support for the night came from the American Stephanie Dosen, she started off her set by proclaiming that we probably all hated her since she was American... no comment... She then lightened the mood by telling us about her sexual prowess... and now, onto the music! A simple blend of acoustic guitar, cello and violin with vocals that would put the top 'X-Factor' contenders to shame (Is that really a compliment? It is supposed to be!). She had a lovely collection of songs to keep us going until Duke Special and in-between song humour to make us either laugh or cringe (or maybe a bit of both...). It would be well worth your time to check out her songs, if you like acoustic mellow-type music. The songs did all seem quite same-y, hence the lower rating, I did however enjoy her set.
Peter Wilson A.K.A. Duke special is known for his fondness of 78RPM records, releasing a few singles on these. So it comes as no surprise to hear an old crackly recording of 'If you go down to the woods today...' through the PA. As I mentioned previously, this was going to be the first time I've saw Duke Special backed by a full band, every other time I've seen Duke live it's just been him and Chip Bailey A.K.A. man who could get a beat out of a piece of paper, and probably has in one of his drumming get togethers... So I was interested to see how it would 'work'.
Duke special is probably one of the most thankful performers ever; he's always nodding his way through the set at the audience in appreciation to the shouts of support from the die hard fans to the applause of everyone else. He isn't quite your average looking piano playing musician, with dreadlocks and some colourful clothing that wouldn't look out of place at a sex pistols gig (Purple trousers - that says it all... That's what he was wearing last time I saw him play in Glasgow Barfly, couldn't see his legs this time, tuts was a bit packed...) You don't quite expect the lyric filled guitar-less distortion-less music coming through... I'd probably more expect some grungy, low-end croaky voice with lots of distortion and screaming... that might just be me though.
The set contained all the fan favourites from Last night I nearly died to Freewheel, the current single and a couple of covers thrown in, an Elliot Smith (called Baby Britain I'm reliably informed) song and Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs - I love the original and this version certainly does it justice.
Now onto the bad points... or well, point. I'm less fond of the full band performance than the Duke/Chip duo. They still performed a couple of songs as just the two of them, but it just didn't seem as personal. 'I let you down' got the biggest cheer of the night, especially when Chip was beating up a symbol with a whisk.
On a whole, the gig was excellent and I'd highly recommend you all try and catch the Dukester on his next venture around the UK. The album 'Songs from the Deep Forest' is available now and should be on the top of your CD buying shopping list.
Photos by 'Shuttermouth' (thanks!). Check out all the pics from the night on his flickr account. - I took some photos myself, but they didn't turn out very well [read: crap]. Also thanks to Dave at Izumi records for getting me into the gig, I was too slow buying tickets...
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