Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: Duncan Maitland - Whelan's 11/11/2010

Former Picturehouse main man and Pugwash collaborator Duncan Maitland returned to his adopted home of Dublin for his first solo show in Ireland since the release of his critically acclaimed new album 'Lullabies for the 21st Century' which is currently picking up more 9 out of 10's than an Olympic gymnast's wildest dreams.

In the upper saloon of Whelan's of Wexford St. there's no laptop or backing tracks for Duncan Maitland-as is the fashion for solo performers these days-just him and a twelve string guitar. 'Lullabies for the 21st Century' on the other hand is a lush orchestral instrument laden album with lashings of harmonies. So how will this work then?.

Its easy peasy for Maitland as the albums tacit bedrock of acoustic guitar is revealed in all its glory. Your Century is perhaps better live than on the album. Thanks to this more organic -as it was originally written- style of delivery. The folk boogie of Terry the Toad with its excellent chorus of "Everybody's playing it cool" is well received by the audience, containing some excellent vocal ad libs. Maitland also mouths some organ parts throughout the outro.

"You gotta stand out in the rain to get hit by lightning and I'm gonna stand in the rain for this one" Maitland informs us before inticing the audience to hum in a zen like fashion for the George Harrison influenced Horror Stories an excellent mix of 'Revolver' and The Notorious Byrd Brothers physcadelia. Maitland leaves Whelan's awestruck with an immaculate version of the classic David Bowie song Starman. Note perfect subtle and nuanced it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Album highlight Up To You a tale of tested faith, sex and the No.42 is surprisingly masculine live, minus its sombre trumpet intro. Duncan Maitland is accompanied by saxophone for genre spanning Insect Under the Stone which flips between jazz tinged Rat Pack and ELO acid rock. From Bowie to Bobby Darin, Maitland's voice is sensational and truly versatile.

Hybristophilia is a strange theme for a song "I played this in Wisconsin" quips Maitland with a smile before launching into Fan Club an old Picturehouse song which was revamped for Maitland's 'Live Alien EP'. Fan Club is a dark tale of people who are attracted to serial killers like Wisconsin's own Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein. The lyrical syntax is similar to American Psycho and the music echos this, building to a frantic Day in the Life style crescendo. A dark end to an excellent evening.


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