A word about the Duke Special concert which I attended last night at the Studio in the Waterfront. Duke Special is an artist whose performances reward repeated attendance because two gigs are rarely similar. Last night’s show was part of the Belfast Film Festival and as such it was punctuated by a series of cinema shorts. In addition a puppeteer and a suspended acrobat provided quirky entertainment.
The short films the Duke and his team had chosen were predictably visually arresting. A Czech animation, ‘Songs from the Prairie’, provided something of a recurrent motif for the evening. The movies which accompanied songs were chosen for appropriate atmospherics. The music was as subtle and textured as ever, overlaid last night with the classical intonations of a harpist. In this show the more established tunes took a back seat to new material, although the pounding anthem ‘Salvation Tambourine’ was a highlight.
‘Monsters in the Dust’ is a stand out new song which beautifully revisits well worn Duke Special territory of love and regret. According to the man himself its lyrics were inspired by Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray.
This was the third time I have watched a Duke Special show in under a year and not once has there been even a suggestion of staleness or a performer going through the motions. I urge you to go and see him if you get a chance.