The Duke Spirit @ The Doug Fir, 7/24/08

Go figure my camera died on the way to the show and I couldn’t get many picks.? But despite the lack of visuals, the band put on another high energy show.? The last time they were here they played over at The Crystal Ballroom, which seemed a bit cavernous for them, nestled comfortably at The Doug Fir it seemed like the venue was busting at the seems.

The Duke Spirit find themselves in a place many bands often do: their sound is too big for small places but not really anthemic enough for some of the large venues.? It’s clear that in a year or two, with a lucky break here or there, that Leila Moss and company could catch a wave of popularity.? Surprisingly, there was only a small audience there last night of very appreciative fans.

I’ve seen The Duke Spirit a few times now and regardless of audience size or venue they’ve played each show like they’re the biggest band in the world.? There’s very little stage banter, lots of swagger; it’s just an hour and a half of straight music.? That wonderful mix of psychedelic blues and Sonic Youth-style rock.? Leila prances around the stage and has developed a comfortable presence – really letting her freak flag fly.

As one of the peeps I was with last night said after the show, “She’s the coolest girl in the world.? She really is.”? And isn’t that how a rock star is supposed to make you feel after a blistering set of scuzzy tunes?? Like there’s nothing the average person could do to compete for coolness points?

The band relied heavily on material from Neptune, which is one of my fav records of 2008, and also played several choice cuts from 2005’s Cuts Across the Land.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the opening band Reporter.? They’re from Portland a damn what an impression they made.? They sorta sounded like a strange combination of The Pixies covering Ennio Morricone.? All three members were exceptional and together it sounded like they’ve been playing forever and have developed something all their own.? They’ll be playing the PDX Pop Now this weekend, so if you get the chance to, check them out.

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