Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Great Reviews From London for The Duke and The King

aside from the the news that Daily Mail columnist Tim Delisle declared the Duke and the King "Reign Supreme", come this article in by Joy Thomas.

If you could be present at any point in the past when and where would you go?

My answer, for a good while, has been 25 November 1976, in the front row at the Winter Ballroom as The Band and their friends recorded The Last Waltz. I am an archivist by trade (I know) and should rightly answer this question with some lofty and important point in history, like hanging out with Martin Luther when he was pinning the 95 theses to that church door in Wittenberg… Well. Hear this, folkingcool. After seeing The Duke and The King I’ve changed my answer. I now feel I could happily go back and dick about with Martin Luther in 16th-century Saxony as my hunger for The Band has been sated. I’d get meself tonsured and evangelise about my new religion called The Duke and the King (and maybe tickle Protestantism up a tad in the process).

Oh, but how would I get this across to Martin Luther? I’d have to tell him what he already knew, that it’s so difficult to explain something that is essentially psychological and spiritual and moving and to over-describe it makes the experience curdle, makes it false (you listening, Pope Leo X?).

The Duke and The King showed themselves to be four people who love and live music: they all took a lead vocal, they swapped instruments, they shared microphones, they flung their arms around each other, they laughed. Usually you get sweat and high spirits towards the end of a set but by song two they were leaping about the stage exuding comfort and confidence in their music, and in their audience. I was reminded of the gospel tradition when they joined in with one another, seemingly when “the spirit took them”. (I’d worry Martin Luther by telling him that WORD magazine pointed out that they could definitely start a cult. And that I’ve already put my name down.)

They’re those peripatetic troubadours who pop into your life to sprinkle it with ideas, songs, and exaltation… and then disappear with but a wink. They’re the people you see in the background of café scenes in films (but never in real life). They inhabit one of the really exciting worlds at the top of the Magic Faraway Tree that you have to wait ages for.

To be honest, I’m not even sure they really exist.

I’m spellbound and I don’t believe there are words to describe them. Oh alright, so there are words to describe them but they’re all in the spiral bound notebook of the reviewer who I chanced to be standing next to. Oops. I’m afraid after a few attempts I stuck my biro in my hair, my notebook down my top and used my arms much more profitably to wring my hands in wonder, to clap, to wave, to dance.

Some facts:

The sound was NOT professional, or of quality that you’d expect from such a famous venue. The Scala should be ashamed of themselves.

Simone Felice looks like he’s from Blackadder the Third.