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Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Duke Spirit in Boston - Live at Felt!

LIVE SHOW COVERAGE: It's February 19th, and I pull myself away tonight from a whirlwind first few days with my newborn child, and head into the city to see the excellent The Duke Spirit. This is a private show organized by 92.9 Boston Radio. We fight our way to Boston's FELT through the blustery wind and cold winter rain, and weave through a sea of unmarked doors; up dark stairwells to find the small room on the fourth floor of the building where the concert will take place. This maze like course makes the whole event feel a little mysterious.

The band was in Boston as the first stop on their limited US tour on the road to the SxSW Music Festival in Austin this month. Little did any of realize that the band's first stop here in the country would produce such explosive results!

The Duke Spirit's Leila Moss

photos by Sean Hafferty.

A TINY ROOM FOR SUCH A BIGTIME SHOW! The room and performance spaces are so close they overlap. The stage is so small that after a few minutes shaking the rain off our coats and getting drinks, the band simply walk up right past us, from the back of the room, and pick up their instruments. This is a very cool band with an image to uphold, and tonight we get to feel, in this cloistered space, like we’re really part of their scene. Singer Leila Moss tells us that her dad used to live in Boston, presumably in the hopes that this will make the band seem more at home here.

Moss need not worry, though nothing about the Duke Spirit seems to fit Boston, or even America (at one point Moss stopped during the telling of a story, realizing aloud... “Oh, I sounded a bit American then, didn’t I”). No one seemed to mind at all. Instead of objecting, the crowd met the band halfway – and were transported to some pub in Camden, North London, to hear the energy of the Duke Spirit playing on their home ground. It’s a rare chance to let a band show us where they are really coming from.



TALENTED BEYOND HER YEARS: Moss seems to exude so much calm confidence, and her voice, which sounds like it might break at any moment (but never does), is compelling. The rest of the band are no less able to project their control over the room, as they lead us through lots of tracks from last year's “Neptune,” some B-Sides, and a couple of new tracks. I’ve missed the chance to see the band in the past, but after tonight I’m glad I got the chance to see them first in such an intimate setting, before their future success means they will play more distant and much larger shows.

Check out “Neptune” and get ready to feel every note of the The Duke Spirit’s great soul-pop sound. The band appears on Carson Daley on March 18 & on Jimmy Kimmel on the 19th. (Check your local listings for times!)

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