A double-headlining gig with two artists that would attract similar but also entirely different crowds, The Leisure Society and Duke Special, performed in the Spiegeltent for Paisley’s Spree Festival, entertaining us with their ditties and lyrical ability, and to some degree musical theatre. Duke Special from Belfast was first on to warm up the crowd but it was evident that many were here just for him from the audience reaction and participation, as well as the queue for merch straight after the gig. The Leisure Society were last on, playing both old and brand new tracks. However it was occasionally obvious that there had been a hiatus from this band with gigging as the set lacked the flow and professionalism I have seen from them in the past.
Belfast’s Duke Special was captivating, charming, but not to my taste. Reminiscent of Tim Minchin and that style of performance, he would indulge his audience with miserable tracks, including one about Rita Da Costa. He mentioned that the Poets Mission, found in Belfast Central Library, inspired him to write a song, which was the stand out for me. He also delivered the prolific work Ivor Cutler, such as Turtle Soup in spoken word style, as well as his depressing ballads, adding a more comic edge to this performance, which did often veer in musical theatre.
The Leisure Society, their sound far from spot on, after what seemed an epic time between sets, then delivered their first gig in two years, performed both Save It For Someone Who Cares, a classic, as well as Fight For Everyone, a song inspired by all the wins by Great Britain at the Olympics in 2012. Their twee folk-pop has filled the room tonight, and unfortunately it is not their finest performance, nor their most refined, but it goes down well all the same. It’s ten years since they released their first single and despite performing new tracks there is evidently nostalgia surrounding the band as they play their Belle & Sebastian head-nod, Dust On the Dancefloor from their 2011 record, Into The Murky Water, as well as others which take them back a few years or so.
A lovely gig for The Leisure Society fans, particularly as they play in Paisley, but perhaps not their finest moment.