Firstly thank you Jamie from Dukes Vega for making contact, and giving me the opportunity to listen and review another Victorian rock band.
Fresh from the heart pounding vigour of The Revenators, and not knowing what to expect, Dukes Vega provides me with a strong link to the era of the late sixties, early seventies. The band is also genre bending in that they may have influences from the great maestro’s like Led Zeppelin, a hint of 13th Floor Elevators, Stooges, The Doors, with subtle hints of later bands like the seminal Jesus & Mary Chain. Good news though, they are playing a live show at Music Man in Bendigo on Saturday, March 19th. (its early in the review but i like what I am hearing so go and see these guys!)
This band does it well. I found myself engrossed in the slow meandering tale of Lizard that was like enhancing day dreams, taking me out of the chair and into the verdant hills of a faraway land. Packing lots of punch, great delivery and full of great bluesy riffs and hooks.
Promoted to go on and listen to the rest of the work available on the album this is a great album to play from go to woe as it really draws on all the essential elements of rock, blues, and psychedelia. The later is a rich vein throughout the bands work however it’s not overloading the underlying pulse of the blues which the band builds on. The other great aspect is these songs are crafted to build, plateau and then find a strong denouement like individual short stories. They are not short hip, poppy dance numbers, these are songs we older folks grew up with, Dutch Tilders, Billy Miller and the Great Blokes, Mick Pealing, Spectrum, there is a strong Melbourne rock lineage in this band and they would be right at home in a pub gig, pumping it at a college ball, or on stage at the Bendigo Blues & Roots Festival. The pulsing harmonica drum opening of Same Forms gets one eyebrow up and then thinking about other bands that can do it start to come to mind.
For me, its always hard to choose the best of the best, however if I must, these are some that will give you en entree to the workings of Dukes Veda. I’ll add the link to the bands sites below. To start with Stoned, Lizard (Tuesday Blues) are two that really highlight the craft of the band and they should give you the listener incentive to indulge like a naughty kid with a box of cupcakes in the rest of the tracks. Free takes you on another long traditional blues rock journey, interesting it was like the last cupcake, left me wanting a bit more, and thats a good thing. The songs are crafted, layered and built up, rather than stick to a traditional 12 bar format, and that takes the format and bends it into something new and exciting, with solo’s, faster tempo, slower grinding beats, and that resonance and fuzz to give it another tinge of the surreal.
Dukes Veda does the old masters justice and are well worth a listen. The whole album is a bargain so help the guys out and get to see them ,or canvas a local venue and get the rock/blues enthusiasts along to enjoy the show. You’ll be surprised how many people out there love the blues and hearing it played live in whatever form it takes. This was treat!