Friday, November 18, 2011

LIVE REVIEW: Cuff The Duke & Hooded Fang

by Mark Gillis

Hooded Fang
It’s a rare occurrence that I go to a show anticipating the opening band more than the headliner, it’s usually the other way around for me. However, that’s exactly what I did this past Wednesday when I went to see Cuff The Duke at Starlight in Waterloo, Ontario; with Hooded Fang opening of course. Since I wasn’t really there to see Cuff The Duke I didn’t really have high expectations but I ended up pleasantly surprised by the end of the night.

I got to the show as soon as the doors opened and settled myself in. There weren’t very many people there at that time, which was basically the situation all night. So, I waited around for an hour or so until Hooded Fang came on and I was not disappointed at all by their set.

The Toronto band who released their second album Tosta Mista earlier this year were awesome despite the rather unenthusiastic people scattered around the small club. Most of their set consisted of songs from Tosta Mista along with a few older songs. It’s interesting how distinguishable their newer songs are from their older ones. The new ones have a very distinct surf-rock feel to them, which in my opinion makes Tosta Mista fun as hell to listen to and also really fun to see live. It’s kind of a shame that there weren’t more people (or at least more excited people) there watching because I thought they did an awesome job. I even decided to pick up the vinyl of Tosta Mista even though I already had the CD, it was a really pretty blue colour, I was defenseless.

After Hooded Fang’s set I waited around for Cuff The Duke to come on. There were a few more people that seemed to show up during this time but I’d still be surprised if the club was half full. Which again, I think is a shame but if people don’t want to go out and see shows then I guess that it’s their loss.

When Cuff The Duke came on they started with a few songs off their latest album Morning Comes. I felt the same way about the songs live as I did about the studio recorded versions of songs (I reviewed the album here). The songs in the first half of their set were alright but nothing really wowed me at any point. The songs definitely didn’t do much to excite a crowd that already didn’t seem that excited to begin with, aside from a few obnoxious drunk people near the front.

Toward the second half of their set I definitely feel like they got better though. The simple light sounding alt-country songs turned into a few fairly long-winded jam sessions that really drew me in. The highlight of the night for me was their last song. I’m not even sure which song it was because I’m not totally familiar with their discography but the song ended with that seemed like a ten minute jam that was really captivating.

All things considered I was definitely glad that I went. I’ve definitely kicked myself before for not going to shows that I had half an interest in so it’s nice to not have any regrets. Even though the crowd was sort and sparse and boring in general it was a better way to spend my Wednesday night then sitting at home listening to music on my headphones.

You can follow Mark Gillis on twitter @Mark__Gillis

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