Live Review: The Duke Spirit – Wilton’s Music Hall 22.10.2015

The Duke Spirit lived up to their name with a majestic and energetic performance at the historic Wilton’s Music Hall.
This was a show that had sold out within a few days of going on sale. Until their appearance at End Of The Road festival in September, The Duke Spirit hadn’t appeared on stage together for three years. There was a real buzz around the beautiful venue as the fans waited while old music hall tunes blared out over the sound system. When frontwoman Liela Moss appeared on stage and told the crowd it was “nice to be back” the thunderous applause and cheers from those assembled suggested this was considered an understatement.
The Duke Spirit have spent some time away but the forthcoming release of their fourth album, ‘KIN’, in January means they have new songs that they’re ready to share with a loyal fan base that has obviously missed them.
They go straight into a rocking rendition of ‘Lassoo’ and it’s hard not to be captivated by Moss. Her expressive hand gestures and movement around the stage combined with her sultry, bluesy vocals means that my eyes and ears are just drawn to her.
‘The Step And The Walk’, another track from 2008’s Neptune, feels more soulful and inexplicably manages to combine a motown sound with loud rock riffs. The energy that flows between the band members is palpable and Moss seems to be carried around the stage by the riffs from both Luke Ford and Dan Higgins’ guitars.
‘Dog Roses’ features Moss’ voice riding on soaring waves of guitars and keys and provides the perfect shift in pace before the swoon of new song ‘Here Comes The Vapour’, which has the crowd swaying along. The dark, almost stoner-rock, Bodies and the post-punk feel of ‘Into The Fold’ show off their heavy side before the light touch of the ethereal harmonies of new single ‘Blue And Yellow Light’ enthral.
New “most precious” song ‘Sonar’ (to be released next year) has a muddy groove while ‘Hello To The Floor’ is simply Doors-esque. ‘Love Is An Unfamiliar Name’ is relentless in pace where ‘Red Weather’ is soulful and bluesy but with a pounding rock bassline. Every track reveals another side of their creativity.
The highlight for me is the fiery ‘Everybody’s Under Your Spell’ where the band begin with a brooding riff that develops into a belter of a track, reminding me of The Rolling Stones, with Moss at her most expressive and suitably witchy.
The set ends with the raucous ‘Cuts Across The Land’ with Moss’ echoing calls of “it might suck you in” ringing out around the hall.
If you want to watch this criminally underrated band weave their magic I would recommend booking your ticket to see The Duke Spirit in February now before this date sells out too. It’s about time everyone fell under their spell.

Set list
The Step And The Walk
Dog Roses
Here Comes The Vapour
Into The Fold
Blue And Yellow Light
Hello To The Floor
Everybody’s Under Your Spell
Love Is An Unfamiliar Name
Red Weather
Cuts Across The Land

Photos © Rhiannon Ormerod

Previous Album review: Various Artists: Creation Artifact: The Dawn of Creation Records 1983-85 (Cherry Red)
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