Live at The Cluny, Newcastle

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Photo: Adam Hampton-Matthews First onstage tonight are Palace and the most noticable thing about Palace is that they look ridiculously young. They do, however, fall into that annoying trap of having too many guitarists (3), which there is just no need for, especially when they all seem to be playing pretty much the same thing. I can forgive this faux-pas on account of the fact that they might be growing into their respective roles, and there is certainly some promising talent on show but it does all sound a bit generic. Next up, Francis Lung (aka the bassist out of WU LYF), who I’m surprised to discover is performing solo with a backing track, a bit like a Sliding Doors Morrissey who’s g forging a career as a seaside entertainer. It must take some degree of bravery to perform without a band and only a select few have tried such a feat in recent years. Much like Har Mar Superstar, the music is predominantly pop-funky in tone and there are plenty of interesting ideas thrown in, although he doesn’t quite have the hooks or built-in stage presence that make the aforementioned Har Mar such an entertaining live act. Maybe a live band could spruce things up a little but at least you could never describe his performance as generic and what he lacked in live band, he made up for in fringe. Its been packed all night in The Cluny and its nice to see a big crowd giving some love to all of the support acts but it gets just a tiny bit more packed for headliners Dutch Uncles. So uncool they are thoroughly cool they are the young contenders to Field Music’s nu-prog mantle. Instruments are swapped at regular intervals and the music zigzags throughout a set which seems to be over before its even started (but I’m assured they were onstage for an hour). This is the first night of the tour, promoting their latest album Out Of Touch In The Wild, and its testament to the band that things are kept so clinically tight when things seem so ramshackle. This is despite some “mistakes” early in the set which singer Duncan Wallis pedantically pointed out to the audience, although I’m certain that nobody in the audience noticed them. On the whole the new record goes down swimmingly and it’s topped off with some “oldies” like the wonderful “Cadenza” and set closer “The Ink”. At times it seems like everyone onstage is playing a completely different song but it somehow all comes together in big old eclectic freak out.