Flying V Productions Presents Cuff The Duke with Hooded Fang
Friday night at the Grad Club hosted night one of two nights of Cuff The Duke. Usually Cuff The Duke comes around but once a year so it was a bit of a surprise to see them play two nights in a row, mostly due to the fact that these shows sell out almost instantly. I remember last time that they played I couldn’t get in because even all of the door tickets were sold out.
If you were a big fan of Cuff The Duke then both nights were a must because you got to hear most of the new album and the older tunes mixed together. Tonight we got to hear most of the new album mixed with a little bit of the older tunes. We were told that it was going to be useless in requesting songs pretty much because they were playing two night so you if you didn’t get to hear the song that you wanted to tonight you have to come tomorrow to hear the songs.
Hooded Fang started the night off, and if I had to put money on what made their set a success was the very catchy funky opening bass riff. If it wasn’t for that opening riff I don’t they would have had such an easy time with the audience throughout their set. It only took for the first song to finish and the second song to start before they had the front of the stage packed with people and most of the first and second row moving to their songs. Their sound was defiantly not what I expected to hear and that is for sure, I thought they would have been around a folk/rock sound yet they branched out from rock to a new age surfer sound which was really brought out with the vocals. Their heavy use of foot pedals really geared their sound as well, the use of the many pedals which they had really helped branch out their sound as well. Especially when the lead guitar sounded as if a keyboard was present on stage. I actually had to look twice around the stage to see if there was a hidden Ipod on stage due to the fact of how awesome the guitar sounded. Having the two lead guitars at times sounded good together as they took turns in the songs and didn’t overshadow each other. The Bass guitar really took their songs to a different level normally a bass has a tendency just to stay in the background but their songs really had a strong focus on the Bass. The Bass groove drove many of their songs along and became even more of a backbone to the songs. They were missing a couple of members from their lineup and were only left with four members on stage. We got to hear songs off of their latest album and a couple of new ones as well. I am now a little disappointed in myself by missing a couple of their previous shows in Kingston now after this set I will make sure that I don’t miss one again.
After a quick change in gear Cuff The Duke was back to play at The Grad Club once again. There were a couple of songs that I wanted to hear including my favourite song “The Ballad Of Poor John Henry”, as I got to hear most of the songs this night I didn’t get to hear that one unfortunately, but the songs which they did play more than made up for it. I always look forward in hearing what lyric substitutions they are going to add to “Take My Money and Run” this night was no different there were a couple of lines thrown in. we got to hear pretty much all of the new album Morning Comes minus about three songs which was great. There is always something about watching shows at the Grad Club due to the fact that there is such a large crowd jammed into such a small area and the energy which the rooms gives off, also it helps when you are at the front of the stage as well.
The interaction with the Cuff The Duke was great all night long especially when it came time for the song “If I live or If I die” as Wayne split the Grad Club in half and had each side sing half of the title on his cue. The song played out nearing the end of their set, I was wondering when we were going to get to hear the fiddle finally, being that the fiddle really has become a staple sound in the Cuff the Duke live shows for myself. For most of the set Wayne was playing his Gibson acoustic guitar, we did get to hear a couple of songs with Wayne playing his harmonica as well. He brought a couple of different harmonica’s up on stage with him and he did switch them throughout the night. Being as close as I was to the stage I was able to bypass the speakers and I was able to decipher the difference between his vocals and harmonica without listening to them come through the speakers, again the extra bonus watching a show at the Grad Club.
There was a new line-up of musicians on stage since the last time I watched Cuff The Duke play, it is always interesting listening to the different take each musician has on the songs as they play them live. Due to the lack of space the guys were sharing guitars throughout the night as they had a small rack which sat beside the stage. I had to ask at the end of the night why the F hole was painted on the Gretsch guitar and I found out that it helps keep the feedback down on the guitar, this was the first time that I saw the F being painted on before. To finish out the first set they quickly dashed into the small kitchen area only reappear in about a minute with a nice clash of glass hitting the floor from the pile of cups which were left beside the door. Wayne thanked everyone for coming and for people who didn’t already know that they are playing Saturday as well. To finish off the night Wayne ventured a little off stage and let the audience play his guitar as he held it in the air.
Cuff The Duke