Live Review: Dutch Uncles with Francis Lung at Newcastle Cluny – 5th February 2013

By on Wednesday, 6th February 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

There’s more to seeing Dutch Uncles live than the spectacle of the synesthetic dance moves of Duncan Wallis. But, by Jove, they’re worth seeing just for that. The UK tour in support of third album ‘Out Of Touch In The Wild’ began last night in Newcastle upon Tyne, and TGTF was there to soak up the atmosphere.

First we must address the issue of support act Francis Lung, a most singular practitioner of maudlin karaoke. Stick thin and clad exclusively in white, accompanied by nothing more than an iPod fed through a tiny Fender practice amp, Lung proceeds to emote heavily, skipping between styles like a spring lamb, fringe flapping like bed sheets on washday. Quite what he was on about is something of a mystery. Perhaps his abilities on bass for WU LYF have had some influence on his selection for this prestigious support slot; certainly his drunk-cousin-at-the-end-of-a-wedding-reception demeanour left a question mark on the lips of most of the audience here tonight. A second reading might reveal hidden depths, and he’s brave to attempt it at all, but such a bald presentation does him no favours.

Francis Lung Newcastle

Perhaps in a conscious effort not to upstage Mr. Lung, Dutch Uncles manage to fluff both ‘Pondage’, their first song of the evening, and ‘Bellio’, their second. But Wallis’ tender apologies for both mistakes are well received, and they subsequently put nary a foot wrong. On record, Dutch Uncles can be glassy and arch, but seeing them live puts those attributes into deep perspective. There’s oodles of funk, acres of space in the arrangements, yet the focus is deeply and permanently fixed on Mr. Wallis. His gentle, helium-tinged speaking voice is almost at odds with the powered delivery when the band is under full steam. His spidery arpeggios dominate even the double-pronged guitar attack, holding the complex arrangements together, providing a point of sharp focus around which the band rotate.

Dutch Uncles Newcastle 1

There is no more accessible song in their oeuvre than current single ‘Flexxin’. And nothing demonstrates better the frontman’s talents for moving his limbs. Check out the video if you haven’t already – this isn’t simply a bald retreading of second-hand Michael Jackson moves… this is something new altogether. An ability to move with sharpness, yet still portray a gentle humour. An ability to discard the shackles of self-awareness, yet be fully conscious of the importance of letting one’s artistry express itself how nature intended. Superb stuff. And the music holds up to the dancing, being at once complex through cymbal treble to bass guitar, yet eminently insistent, telling of the power of fun and funk to energise the listening crowd.

Dutch Uncles Newcastle 2

All that remains is to prove Dutch Uncles’ proper rock credentials with a trio of songs of increasing heaviness, ably led by ‘X-O’. As the funk of ‘Flexxin’ fades into memory, the complexity, and, yes, heaviness of their alter ego makes itself heard. Which proves the perfect coda for a performance of exquisite good taste, eloquent musicianship, and uncommon dance moves. As the band humbly leave the stage, the rest of the country should capitalise on their good fortune of having the experience of Dutch Uncles yet to come. And maybe a few Newcastle mirrors will witness a few Wallis moves over the coming days. Certainly mine will.

See more of Martin’s photos – and in high res! – on his Flickr.

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2 Responses

3:17 pm
6th February 2013

RT @tgtf: we’re pretty sure this is the first review from Dutch Uncles’ @dutchuncles new tour starting last night in Newcastle: http://t

3:25 pm
6th February 2013

RT @tgtf: New post: Live Review: Dutch Uncles @dutchuncles with Francis Lung at Newcastle Cluny @TheCluny – 5th February 2013: http://t. …

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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