08/19 Dutchess & the Duke @ Mohawk

Wednesday night Austin Town Hall was blessed to catch a very intimate show at The Mohawk featuring Seattle’s The Dutchess and the Duke. Due to recent highlights of their debut album, we expected to find more people in attendance at the show, but luckily, the small crowd played into the overall experience. (Show review and pics after the jump)

I’m not sure what my expectations were for the live show, although I loved their album. I had heard that during their stint with Fleet Foxes that they had grown accustomed to playing without acoustic instruments, opting instead for a fuller sound by going electric. Tonight, however, would be different.

The Dutchess and the Duke opted to ignore their slotted spot inside at The Mohawk, instead inviting the small crowd to gather with them outdoors on the patio, made comfortable by the recent weather. They were armed with nothing more than their voices and three acoustic guitars, one being a twelve string.

When Lortz and Morrison opened up their intimate set, I was rather surprised, pleasantly, by the strength of Morrison’s voice. I’m not saying that it lacks anything to be desired on record, but live, she has a lot more soul; I suppose it would suffice you can see the passion, or hear it rather, in the live setting.

They traded guitars, vocal harmonies, and on occasion Lortz would walk off just to test the strength of the bond between the two musicians. Simply put, it was a pleasure to see the interplay between the two, as allusions to jokes–such as Lortz’s whistling inefficiencies–clearly displayed a close knit set of friends, destined to open the subconscious stream of their influences out into the cool summer air.

Fortunately, they played a few new songs, one being Scorpio, which is featured on their newest 7″, and it also appears on their Myspace page. For me, everything fit the evening perfectly. We interviewed the band, which will follow later, and they set out to let all in attendance inside their tiny circle. We were treated to the kind of performance most people would die to see nowadays; free of crowds and open to the music before us. If I were to complain, I could say that the vocals weren’t quite as loud as I preferred, but who cares? I got to see one of my favorite albums of the year performed before my eyes by the band members on picnic benches. Sometimes it just doesn’t get much better than that.

We also have a few pictures to share from the evening (sorry about the quality):

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