Friday, May 20

The Duke Spirit @ Nottingham Rescue Rooms
First support band Working For a Nuclear Free City comprise four serious looking young men. They play long, noisy, swirly songs that fail to hold the attention of the crowd and as the last song meanders to a close, most people don’t even notice them leave the stage.

The Archie Bronson Outfit on the other hand, are a revelation. Three young men with serious expressions – this time with beards and a life-sized illuminated plastic goose. They play primal, blusey, stripped down, crowd pleasing, garage rock. As the Duke Spirit look on from the balcony, ABO make the stage temporarily their own.

It’s the drummer who is the star of the show - with his elastic limbs, bizarre style and the icy stare of a trained assassin. They could be big or they could end up quickly fading into obscurity, but there’s only one way to describe them – Duck and roll!

The Duke Spirit are four serious looking young men (eleven in total tonight, keep up at the back!) and one woman – Liela Moss.

It’s immediately clear as they take the stage that most of the males in the audience are instantly in love with Moss, and probably some of the females as well. Part Agnetha from Abba, part Debbie Harry, she like the rest of the band is clad in regulation t-shirt and jeans, but customised with the addition of a jaunty feather.

It’s early in the tour, but the band are already well into their stride. There’s little banter as Moss prowls the stage sipping red wine and the other band members throw shapes and fling themselves around with abandon, letting the songs speak for themselves.

They’ve been around for ages, but The Duke Spirit’s debut album ‘Cuts Across the Land’ has only been released this week. Single ‘Lion Rip’ and the stunning ‘Love is an Unfamiliar Name’ are loudly cheered, but the other album tracks like ‘Darling You’re So Mean’ and ‘Win Your Love’ are also well received.

All the elements are in place for this band to shoot into superstardom, except one - the breakthrough single. The songs are all good in their own right, with punchy riffs, driving rhythms and breathy, sassy vocals. However, the tracks are very similar sounding and there isn’t one that stands out on its own.

You suspect that until they write the big crossover radio hit, the Duke Spirit will be destined to remain in relative indie obscurity. Perhaps they just need an illuminated farmyard animal as a mascot...