I swear The Duke & The King are the best live act in the world!

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I look forward to some gigs with a certain anticipation that the evening is going to be special, magical and spell-bindingly brilliant. Last night was one! How could it be anything else? I even felt a certain weight of expectation on my shoulders having told everyone this was the one gig at Norwich Art Centre not to miss.

First on the Loose Music triple bill were Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou, the husband and wife duo’s self-titled album is an enchanting slice of ethereal folk. The songs seem to come to life even more in a live setting and although I am still coming to grips with the more traditional elements of folk I was pretty impressed.

Having seen Danny with full band a couple of months ago on the Fionn Regan tour I was already well and truly won over to the live capability of Mr. Wilson. Tonight was a stripped-back version of the Champs with Trevor and Hannah joining Danny as a trio. Both on and off stage Danny is a charming, enigmatic kind of a guy. The packed Art Centre bought into that in a big way last night. With every song being greeted with rapturous applause, this stripped back approach seemed to give more life to the songs, lyrically. The set – at thirty five minutes – was all too short and my only criticism was the omission of ‘Henry the Van’. Having said that, I was once again captivated by the songs from Streets of Our Time.

I swear The Duke & The King are the best live act in the world! For me, anyway. I get lost in a sea of love and respect. Last night a friend of mine commented that some of my posts seem to gush with love of this week’s best thing since sliced bread. I accept that I get carried away, but hey, I am passionate about what moves me. Anyone who didn’t feel the love in the room last night must have a heart of stone, I had tears running down my cheeks and the biggest grin ever both at the same time. You see that’s what the music of Simone, Simi, Bobby and the Reverend does to me! Hits me in the pit of my stomach and then some. The sound and the live show seems to have been honed to an even higher plane of perfection since I saw them at Scala last year. That was an amazing night but this was the perfect setting for the perfect band – a converted Church with wonderful acoustics and a great crowd. What they do so well is entertain and interact just enough to make it personal and special. There is no front man to the Duke. Although Simone takes lead vocals on the majority of the set, everyone takes lead at some stage and it is a collective in the truest sense of the word. It is not just a band collective but an auditorium collective, all the way from the stage to the guys at the back of the crowd.

The encore featured a great take on ‘Brain Damage’ from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. The band then exited front stage and through the crowd, shaking hands and exchanging hugs. They are a band of the people. I make no apologies for the superlatives used as this was an amazing night yet again in the company of some of the most talented individuals to ever grace the Art Centre stage. I loved you, Norwich loved you, come back soon!