Monday, November 13, 2006
Dufus / Mr Bones & the Dreamers, Jug of Ale, Sunday 12th November 2006
Sunday gigs...wrong, wrong, wrong.
Dufus...right, right, right.
But first, and it was their first, Mr Bones & the Dreamers debuted tonight and put on a strong performance. Their lead singer reminded me a little of...wait for it... Roy Orbison. Yes, I know. Maybe it was just me. They have a kind of country/folk sound, a little Decemberists in parts.
Dufus (one lead singer, the bearded wonder that is Seth, and an ever changing band that sometimes extends to nearly 20 people but tonight numbered a more compact 4) have been around for quite a while now and were/are part of what is known as anti-folk (a little folk, a little punk, a little art house/experimental theatre...you know the kind of thing). Their live shows are legendary and full of the kind of childlike wonder that you just don't think exists anymore. They've just released a truly special album, The Last Classed Blast, on Birmingham's very own Iron Man Records. It's the kind of eclectic album that John Peel would rave over. A mix of sublime folky loveliness and Zappa-esque 'what the chuff...' moments. Put it on your Christmas list (and everyone else's) and you won't be disappointed. Tutu (probably one of my favourite tracks of the year) is worth the price of admission on its own.
Anyway, back to the gig. Seth had a charming female vocalist / foil tonight who was as brilliant to watch as Seth (and that's saying something). A lot of the music of Dufus really comes alive...well...when it's live...so, with a formidable back catalogue to delve into it was a bloody great gig. Classics Underwear and Wee Ma Woo got an airing, as did the aforementioned Tutu. Sadly a number of the crowd were there for the local opening act and many had melted away before the end. Their loss.
Reading the liner notes of the new Dufus album and in after a very brief chat with Seth I kind of get the feeling that he is a little disheartened with the relative lack of success of a band that should really be playing much, much bigger venues and selling bucket loads of CD's. Let's hope the new album does just that.
As an aside, I had a chat with the female vocalist too (I always find appraoching a band a little odd, particularly at my age when I'm often old enough to be their dad...but, if I've enjoyed the gig, I'm kind of compelled to). It turns out she's a waitress in New York when she's not singing with the band. I sort of had it in my head that they would all be full time Dufi. It's just another reminder that some of the best and most talented people aren't to be found in enormo-domes like the NEC, but working in diners and singing in boozers like the Jug. In the vernacular of our American cousins...'it's kinda cool, but it kinda sucks at the same time'.
Anyway, enough already. Please buy the album. Here (look, how easy can I make it!)
I thank you.