The lead singers of both support bands at the Duke Spirit show were very obviously ‘in a band’. You could have spotted them having a fag outside, or stood at the crowded bar, and known without any doubt that they were in a band. The front-man of Alice, the first band on stage, was wearing an oversized white shirt (half unbuttoned), with skinny jeans and pirate-style facial hair. The lead singer of Sissy And The Blisters was also sporting a pirate’s beard and moustache with his Kasabian-like haircut and skinny jeans.
Dressing differently is part of rock’n’roll. David Bowie being more than enough evidence of this. However, for every persona-changing outfit Bowie wore, he had all his incredible music to back it up. You can wear whatever you want when you’re in a band, but if you don’t have the music to back it up, you’re just a fool in fancy dress.
This is the image conjured up when watching Alice, a rock band with no obvious influences not because of their unique, game-changing sound, but because of their dull, lifeless songs. Sissy And The Blisters were, by comparison at least, a much stronger group. Featuring two guitarists but no bass player, the band had a bluesy-lad-rock sound to them, which could explain their front-man’s haircut.
How Leila Moss and the rest of The Duke Spirit looked could not have been less of an issue. Whether they looked good or not, had great haircuts, outfits, facial hair or whatever, didn’t matter. In fact, I didn’t think about what any of them were wearing until I came to write this review, and I still don’t remember. Their show was one of such brilliant rock and roll that not one thought went towards their look. It was all music.
Taking in tracks from each of their albums and not heavily drawing from any one record made for a fan-favourite set. And apart from one or two thank yous, there was hardly any talking between songs. Instead, the band opted for a bombardment of the heavy riffs and driving beats they’re known for. Packing in more music into their hour-long set than you’d think possible.
Bounding about the stage, with her voice pitch perfect throughout, Leila Moss owned the room from the moment she set foot in it. The rest of The Duke Spirit didn’t put a note wrong throughout, it was a set of pure professionalism. Not one thing distracted from the music. It was non-stop rock’n’roll.
Listening back to their albums today, one thing is clear; The Duke Spirit are a live band. No matter how good each track on each record is (and they are), all of them take on a life of their own on stage. Leaving me rather disappointed as I listened to their records at home.