Yup, after last night’s show at the ICA, it can be officially confirmed and empirically demonstrated that Duke Special is a genius.
I’ve lost count of the number of times i’ve seen Duke play, not to mention the various bands and projects that Pete Wilson (aka Duke) had before this band, at Greenbelt and beyond (some of which I’m sure he’d rather forget about, so I won’t bring them up here… :o) But last night’s show was a new high point, and bodes incredibly well for his mainstage set at Greenbelt in a few weeks (I definitely pity the dull-as-shit Delirious who have to go on after him…).
The gig was a double header with David Ford, a singer/songwriter of some ridiculous level of talent (watch the video for State Of The Union for some evidence), but whose band are just a little ragged round the edges… It was a still a great show, with some amazing songs, and probably not something I’d have noticed if Duke Special hadn’t been on afterwards…
Duke has a remarkable ability to pick the PERFECT musicians for his stuff – Chip Bailey on drums is a wonder to behold (and at least half Hobbit…), Ben Castle has long been one of my favourite musicians in the country, Paul Wilkinson is a genius guitarist and bassist with the coolest sounds and feel ever, and the new guy in the band on sax/timpani/keys was up to the talent of the rest of them, a great musician.
Add to that some of the most imaginative and exciting arrangements I’ve heard in a long time, amazing use of dynamics and of course Pete’s stunning voice, piano playing and those glorious songs and you’ve got yourself one hell of a night out.
Was nice to catch up with the various members of the band after the show (bizarrely all the security at the ICA go home at 11, despite the bar still being open, so I was able to just wander through into the green room and say hi – useful for me, not so great for bands who don’t want their guitars stolen…), and then head home.
Roll on Greenbelt!by