The Eagle Inn, Salford
The world of Rock and indeed Pop moves fast these days. This time last week I had never heard of C Duncan. Following a few recommendations I picked up his debut ‘ Architect’ on Friday, and wrote a glowing review on these very pages having had a couple of listens. While listening to it on Saturday afternoon I checked the gig listings to see if he might be playing anywhere, saw that he was indeed in town this week and quickly booked tickets on my phone for this very small, intimate show (just in time as it was sold out come showtime) – I hadn’t realised he was also getting heavy rotation on BBC 6Music which always helps shift gig tickets – and by Wednesday here I am about to hear my favourite record of the week performed live in the back room of a pub in Salford.
I wasn’t sure how Chris Duncan was going to recreate the lush harmonies and multi-layered arrangements in a live setting. In fact he’s gathered a little 4 piece beat combo of guitar, keyboards and drums and they do a superb job. Two of the (preposterously young and talented) band add harmony vocals that are such a big part of the record and even with a more stripped down backing the songs stand up perfectly well without the studio production – you don’t the sense that anything is missing. The songs are bigger than this tiny venue can really accomodate but that only adds to the sense of occasion and the realisation that this is a one-off and you’re seeing someone who is perhaps destined to play bigger rooms pretty soon. The final song (I’ll Be Gone by Winter) is delivered with the PA turned off and just vocals and guitar, for one of those pin-drop moments when it all goes very quiet and you hope nobody talks…nobody does.
Crammed into the very small space, which holds about 50 max with a mezzanine level upstairs that holds a few more. The Eagle is a good old fashioned nicotine stained pub, somewhat off the beaten track in Salford amid industrial units, new student flats and Elbow’s recording studio that has now got a new lease of life as a very intimate gig venue. The audience are enthusiastic, appeciative and generally paying attention in spite of it being a bit cramped and hot. The band look suitably thrilled by the reception, bless ’em.
It made me think..
There were maybe 4 tracks not from the debut album which were just as impressive. One of these songs reminded me very much of the Blue Nile, all rain-lashed imagery and big 80s keyboard pads, so it sounds like there is more where that wonderful debut LP came from.
He has a few more dates and a few festival shows to come so catch him if you can.