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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

March 21, 2010 at 9:39 AM

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SXSW 2010 post #14: The Dutchess and the Duke at Beauty Bar UPDATED WITH VIDEO

Posted by Andrew Matson

The Dutchess and the Duke at Beauty Bar

The SXSeattle party yesterday at Beauty Bar was packed to the gills by early afternoon, no small feat considering the space consisted of a front patio, Chop Suey-sized indoor room, and house-sized covered back patio/parking lot. All were swarmed. The inside room smelled like marijuana and hosted Seattle rap and neo-country. The outdoor room smelled like cigarettes and that's where I saw The Dutchess and the Duke, self-identifying "campfire punk" group.

Jesse Lortz (Duke) and Kimberly Morrisson (Dutchess) played acoustic guitars, as they always do, and were their usual funny selves through songs that rank among the most bitterly depressing in recent Seattle memory. A highlight was "Scorpio," one of many D&D songs about being profoundly out of love. Lortz's voice was more heathery than usual on the song, smoothing over its swaying strums with a lullaby tone.

Drama in the set came from Lortz and Morrisson attempting to be heard over an extremely loud pummel-core rock group on the other side of the wall behind them. The disturbance lasted the entire performance, a giant, frantic noise interrupting a group whose style is powerful but stripped down and quiet. The war between the two musics was comically unfair. What could our hometown heroes do?

They soldiered on, frequently laughing mid-song, Lortz joking that he expected the Kool-Aid cartoon character to come busting through the wall at any moment. The situation was a mixture of "that's the breaks" and "this is so SXSW."

"Mary" by The Dutchess and the Duke

"Scorpio" by The Dutchess and the Duke (note the interruption and comedy mid-song)

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