Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Duke Special, Duke of York's, Brighton
By Nicole Greatrex
Any music coming your way via Phil Nelson is guaranteed to be unique, extraordinary and a little eclectic.
Having led The Levellers and Aqualung to fame, the Brighton manager has recently taken a risk with brilliantly discordant band The Fallout Trust and now reveals his latest signing, Duke Special.
Wearing a brass-buttoned suit jacket and his hair in dreadlocks, The Duke - real name Peter Wilson - stood hunched over his piano for most of the set, crashing down on the keys in time to the beat of a huge bass drum.
With a clear yet strongly Irish-accented voice, he produced lushly romantic and ambitious sounds peppered with instrumental improvisations and Twenties-style music hall influences.
The mixture of both lighthearted and melancholic tracks from his album, Songs From the Deep Forest, included the beautiful duet, This Could Be My Last Day, and former single Last Night I Nearly Died. But the real highlight was current single Freewheel.
As the Duke balanced precariously on his stool and hit the piano so hard it budged across the stage, the song built to a heart-breaking climax of passionate vocals, crashing cymbals and violin flurries.
It was a performance strong and moving enough to show that manager Nelson has, unbelievably, struck gold yet again.