When The Duke & The King made their UK debut at London’s Bush Hall in May, I seem to remember there being at certain points up to about nine people on stage, including on at least one number four people playing guitars, someone on keyboards, a couple of backing singers and, of course, Simone Felice, late of The Felice Brothers, and his new musical partner Robert “Chicken” Burke on vocals. The evening also included a lot of instrument-swapping, principally between Simone and Burke, who took turns at the drum stool.


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There were so many people packed last night into the Scala to see Okkervil River that if I’d arrived any later, I probably would have had to watch the show from across the street, on the concourse of King’s Cross Station.


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I mentioned yesterday’s that I was just off to see The Hold Steady at the Islington Academy and I duly went and they were, as ever, duly brilliant – urgent, incendiary, delirious, a symphonic juggernaut, a hurtling thing, a wholly rousing noise.


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In the email newsletter I send out every Monday (you can subscribe to it on uncut.co.uk), I wrote about the number of great gigs looming over the next few weeks, starting tonight, in fact, with The Hold Steady at the Islington Academy. I'm going to that, but wasn't sure how many of the others shows I'd be able to make it to. I therefore invited any readers of the newsletter who had either recently seen or were going to see any of the bands I mentioned to write in with their thoughts on the gig.


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The biggest surprise of the day isn’t the weather, which is what you might call glorious, apart from a late afternoon cloudburst that at least gives me the excuse I’ve been looking for to hide under a table, perhaps the only sensible response to an appropriately thundery set by Ben Harper and the aptly-named Relentless7.


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The last time I saw Simone Felice anywhere near a London stage, he was hanging above it, wild-eyed and shirtless, from a monitor in the ceiling of the 100 Club, from which precarious position he was leading a boisterous crowd through a rowdy version of a song called “Ruby Mae” from the recently-released new album by The Felice Brothers, who were at the time roaring towards the climax of a typically rambunctious show.


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As Bob Dylan, garbed in another of the natty Pimp-My-Confederate-General ensembles that have served as his working clothes these past few years, steps onto the stage of the Playhouse in Edinburgh on Sunday night into a jolting “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat”, there is the small matter of him having just this afternoon officially clocked up his first Number One (with a bullet!) album in the UK for almost 40 years.


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The last time I was on a boat on the Thames, The Sex Pistols were playing “Pretty Vacant” as we sailed downriver past the Houses Of Parliament. It was Jubilee Day, 1977, and the cruiser we were on had just been surrounded by police launches, their searchlights raking the upper deck of our craft, dozens of their baton-wielding colleagues lined up in sinister ranks on Westminster Pier, waiting for us to dock so they could storm aboard and crack heads, which they eventually did with painful abandon.


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“I’m pretty nervous tonight,” Nancy Wallace confesses to a packed Borderline. “I can see the whites of your eyes,” she tells the people in front of her, all of them staring in her direction, rapt as ecstatics, transported, hanging on her every word.


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We now know that the new Bob Dylan album, which unexpectedly will be with us on April 27, is called Together Through Life. We know also that it was written and recorded quickly.


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Editor's Letter

The 26th Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Last week, just as I was finishing off the 25th playlist of the year, the new Steve Gunn album arrived. This week, the last-minute radical guitar hero is Chris...