Duski at the Bronx Bar

Barry Witherden By

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The Bronx Bar and Restaurant
Teignmouth, Devon
May 2, 2018

"Do you want happy or loud?" Aidan Thorne asked the audience calling for an encore. In the event the extra piece was both, as indeed were most of the numbers Duski played this night.

The band hails from Wales, and their first number was "Flat Holm," referring to one of two islands in the Bristol Channel—Steep Holm is English, Flat Holm is Welsh. Appropriately the tune had both rugged and bucolic elements. Thorne leads the band from behind bass guitar, and provides the majority of the band's compositions as well. Others were contributed by guitarist Dan Messore. Their inspirations are varied and often somewhat surprising, including the music of Lionel Ritchie and the Power Rangers theme. Tonight's set-list included "Simple Song," "Take It Back" and "Home." Whatever the spark that set them off, their performances predominantly built in volume and intensity, recruiting aspects of varied genres, including ambient music, funk, heavy rock and even hints of harmolodics, with melody lines and rhythms bearing equal weight. Guitarist Dan Messore provided most of the rock flavour in his solos, but he also stitched in some intriguing textures via effects pedals and by sliding a drum-stick along the strings for some atmospheric outré bottle-neck sounds. The band was completed by Mark O'Connor on drums, whose driving yet supple playing gave always interesting support, and Greg Sterland on tenor, also occasionally making good use of effect-pedals but mainly offering excellent relatively simon-pure jazz with some highly-characterful lines.

Only a couple of the pieces they played appear on their current self-titled CD on Cambrian Records (CAM008) and the album features additional member Paul Jones on keyboards. It's well-worth having, with a lot of imaginative and highly-pleasing playing, but to get the full benefit of their visceral impact you need to catch them live.

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