In this week's PoaF blog, we look at Duke Special's performance of a few David Bowie songs at the Art of Song concert (National Concert Hall in Dublin, 26th July, 2014). We start with a short discussion of Bowie, his music and persona. Next, John Bowman recounts his attendance at the Art of Song. After John's description of the event, I muse a bit more on Duke's performance of Aladdin Sane using John's video with some edits and a few special features to make a bit of a fun mashup, of sorts. Finally, there's a surprise at the very end of this week's blog.
Consideration of Bowie
"Bowie has become known as a musical chameleon, changing and dictating trends as much as he has altered his style to fit, influencing fashion and pop culture." Biographer Thomas Forget adds, "Because he has succeeded in so many different styles of music, it is almost impossible to find a popular artist today that has not been influenced by David Bowie." - Wikipedia
by John Bowman...
Not that I could ever resist any Duke Special performance but the fact that the man himself and other guest artists were going to be performing songs from the immense catalogue of another favourite of mine, the legendary David Bowie, made attending this concert a must.
The Venue was the National Concert Hall, Dublin on 26th July 2014 and Duke was featured along with Lisa Hannigan, Jape, Heathers, Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh, and Adrian Crowley.
When the usher led me to my seat I was pleased, but a little bewildered, to find myself in the VIP seating in the balcony. Ideal for filming the songs Duke was about to perform, Changes and Aladdin Sane.
Watching him dash away,
swinging an old bouquet
- dead roses
Sake and strange divine Uh-h-h-uh-h-uh you'll make it
Finis Aladdin Sane
The clip below is edited from John Bowman's video. I add a few pictures of Bowie at the beginning while we hear Duke transform - taking the song from the relatively stable chorus and verse, to total breakdown. Next is a picture of Duke, doing his best, perhaps, to look a lad insane...then the final minute of the performance video starts.
The ending of the song is a tour de force, when all the "craziness" is unleashed through Duke's playing and singing. He punches the piano. His hands run up and down the keyboard in a flurry of speed. His final vocalization is a dissonant yooowwwl. Unforgettable.
PoaF's Bowie Song Candidates for Duke to Play...
The following piece is a collaboration between John and me. Songs are in no particular order.
The Man Who Sold the World I think would be a great song for Duke and his band to tackle. Ben Castle's saxophone could perhaps play the riff that runs through the song, and the chorus as it builds "oh no, not me..I never lost control..." If Ben could sing harmony AND play sax at the same time, it would be even better. (Someone should drop that idea on him...) There's even room for some funky percussion from Chip!
Word on a Wing (from Station to Station) is a beautiful song that allows the listeners into David's very own prayer. The lyrics are simply the composer relating his thoughts directly to God. This hymn-like ballad sounds like Peter himself could have written it and once again it is a song that is very much written for the piano.
Lady Stardust (from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust) is my all time favourite Bowie song and I think it is a song that lends itself very well to a piano accompaniment (in fact Bowie recorded a piano only version demo, which I think is the better of the two). I can imagine Duke getting completely lost in the music when performing this. The subject matter about the rise of a rock star is brilliantly described in Bowie's lyrics.
And Just Recently...
Electric Zoo took a few pictures from the new album playback that Poaf missed last week. One is posted here. The other can be seen on their FB page.
Duke Special is described as "avant-garde" in a recent article highlighting his January 2015 concert in Sligo. (First time I think I've seen that word used to describe him.)
Friday, October 31, 2014, Duke and Gramophone Club were at the Sunflower Club in Belfast. The Sunflower Club tweeted the poster - the title "Dracula." What an exquisite, beautiful (and a bit disturbing!) poster. I can't make out the artist's name, but all props to whoever designed it.
Paul Kramer (paulhitsheet) twittered the two mugs - one of Aqualung, and the other, a Catfish mug w/Duke Special's name on it. Boy if anyone knows how I can get a Catfish mug, please let me know. (Noble fish!)