Wednesday night at the Sonic Boom on 15th (soon to be relocated) The Dutchess and The Duke put on a pre-emptive record release show for eager listeners lined up between aisles of records and CD’s. On a darkened stage Kimberly Morrison and Jesse Lortz hit their harmonies more solidly than the previous time I saw them play at Bumbershoot and the tambourine guy was doing real good things with that tambourine. The performance was sparse and Jesse informed the audience that the songs on the new album were “more fuller.”
There was something sweet to the pared down songs. Recorded The Dutchess and The Duke are far from complex, but, for instance, they do incorporate violin on opener track, “Scorpio.” Live this track only had the two guitars and the female/male harmonies as legs to stand on. This made the song feel bare, but not in a bad way, in a sort of bare-all way. Almost as if the audience at Sonic Boom was getting the songs in pure, albeit poorly planned, form as Jesse and Kim stopped between each song to discuss which of the ten songs off Sunset/Sunrise, out October 6th on Hardly Art, to play. Despite Jesse’s statement that this album was written for the studio, these songs translated well to the crowd in the small record store.
The real record release party is Friday, the 9th at Crocodile. The band promised to figure out their set list by then, so even if you missed the intimate show at Sonic Boom, you can still get an earful of the new album’s light-in-the-darkness melancholia and rough country riffs that combine to create an illuminated product; something perfectly suited to those rare moments in your life when you realize something that has been painfully evident for a long time, it just needed a little light shone on it.