The Duke Spirit at Wilton’s Music HallCultureMusicLive music
One of the surviving few in the country, Wilton’s Music Hall is about as cool as could be possible for a venue. Its original features and slightly decrepit state, coupled with the cultivated nostalgic atmosphere, lend themselves perfectly to The Duke Spirit.
If this music hall is a romantic throwback to a different era, so are the five piece on stage (well, six piece if you count the touring keyboard player). The traditional setting is the perfect background for this gritty, 21st century Velvet Revolver.
It’s a busy night, unsurprising as September saw the first time the group had played together live for over three years. There’s no sense of that revitalised attitude disintegrating soon. They’re all talented musicians, but it’s lead singer Liela Moss who steals the show. Her demeanour reads like a love-child of Steven Tyler, Courtney Love and Stevie Nicks; she jumps continually across the stage brandishing the mic stand like a sword, flawlessly adapting her delivery to the individual temperament of each song.
They open the set strong with Lassoo and Dog Roses, both from their second album. The audience reacts well to their better known hits but even their slow numbers don’t disappoint. Midway through the band showcase a number from their upcoming record, Blue and Yellow Light, and it’s clear that they can traverse with ease between their aggressive and softer anthems. Moss’s execution is on point. She has the romantic/psychotic lead singer persona down to a tee, flitting effortlessly between a variety of small instruments including a harmonica, maracas and a tambourine. They don’t spend much time talking, which is surprisingly refreshing. Aside from a quick homage to the building we’re in and a few swift introductions they stick religiously to music, diving between songs with the assertion of well seasoned performers.
They close in style with the eponymous track from their first album, Cuts Across the Land, an intense song characterised by a marching band-style beat and vocals that echo Jack White. The drawn out ending notes complete the show in true 70s rock concert style and like the rest of their performance, prove the band are exactly what we’ve all been waiting for.
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