Duels - Manchester Roadhouse - 12.12.05

When the Duels front man Jon asks “How many of you saw us at the Academy” (when they supported Leeds soul mates the Kaiser Chiefs) rather than grimace at the absence of any raise limbs, he smirks to himself.

Whether it is because there is a lack of KC supporters in the venue or perhaps it’s because he knows that if the band keeps playing sets like tonights, there will be a lot more arms aloft the next time this Leeds based quintet play in Manchester.

It’s literally freezing outside, but the scintillating mix of pulsating beats and frenzied guitars provides a welcome warming effect, and the relaxed manner of Jon  generates a supportive rapport with the audience.  When the crowd can start singing to the B sides of your singles, them you know you have them won over, and that happens here.

Opening numbers “Would you like to  ...” and “Presume” provide the sugar coated enticement into the darker tones that occupy the mid set section

The squelchly bleeps and brooding tone of “Shudder” signals a change in the direction in the direction and the new song “Monsters” is a stomping, infectious, rush of fun that ends in a glorious mesh of noise.

All the while, Jon is engaging the crowd either with his smoothly delivered vocals or chatting as if they were long time acquaintances, catching up on past events At one point a  teddy bear is passed from the crowd to sit on the keyboards, the meaning if which is kept between the two parties

Confident, but not complacent, the band exit the stage with one battle of the Roses won by the team in white

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