Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Lunatic is on the grass

The Duke And The King at the Union Chapel - Mon 19th April

As I remarked previously about The Duke And The King every show they do is not only better than the last, but also demonstrates significant advancements, improvements, and greater integration.

They’re now one of the closest bands I think I’ve ever seen. When there’s a solo performance, a little dash of virtuosity, or a sudden raising of the game, they’re all alert to it, acknowledging it with a recognition, a smile, a stare and whenever possible an embrace or a high-five. When not involved they’re watching from the side, often singing off-mike (which with The Reverend Loveday, of course, isn’t so different to being on).

There’s plainly been a lot of work put in since Simi and The Rev came on board. Both do more centrally for the performances; they are integral to songs that back in the autumn they were simply decorating.

The songs have grown again with new interpolations and different voices. Tonight there are such surprises; the first verse of ‘Nothing Compares To You’ as the intro to ‘Scarecrow’, an impassioned ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ from The Reverend, a new song ‘Shaky (Letters From Baghdad)’ on which they’re joined by Horace The Hornblower on sax, and then a last encore of ‘Brain Damage’ (from Dark Side Of The Moon).

That encore melds into a pretty manic square-dance just as the pre-encore ‘Helpless’ has ended with a mass twirl.

The whole evening is something of a Loose package with Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, and then The Bluegrass Champs comprising Danny Wilson, Trevor and Hannah-Lou, in support. All three have voices that in this delightful venue absolutely shine. Particularly apparent is how well Dan and Trevor’s voices work together. The Champs set is little more than a vignette, but it’s a memorable one concluding with a segue of the first verse of ‘Wandle Swan’ into ‘Restless Feet’.

From what Simone was saying there’ll be a new Duke And The King album out in September, and as they don’t appear to be listed on any festival line-ups it must be a fair bet they’ll be back in the autumn to promote it. Meanwhile check out the Loose site for the rest of this tour’s dates. I certainly hope to be in Norwich on Saturday.

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