09.03.2009, Words by dummymag

Marmaduke Duke

A Marmaduke Duke show is a circus. Everyone’s dressed up. Some people are in waistcoats and neckerchiefs. Others have painted their faces green. There’s no obvious theme, but it all makes sense – in the same way that in a dream last night, it felt right to be sharing a fish supper with a talking cat on top of Mount Everest. The fact that the band haven’t quite got the stage to themselves adds another surreal dynamic. There’s a man in a white suit and black hat standing in the middle of things. Is he actually there? No one’s certain. Frontman Simon Neil is definitely real. He plunges into the crowd and runs through it in purple tights, mask and feather boa. The rest of the group, including Biffy Clyro cohorts the Johnston twins, Sucioperro’s JP Reid, and a second drummer, are all dressed similarly. Together they use the shoulder-weight of Biffy’s mainstream success as the foundation for an invisible bridge between disco and heavy rock. The music is mind-altering – imagine Pink Floyd delivering Happy Mondays tracks in falsetto – and the feeling of liberation is what brings everything together. The dapper Marmaduke Duke have found a way of loosening not only their strait-jackets but yours too. Brilliantly weird.

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