Concert Review: Cuff The Duke, The Pinecones, November 26, Horseshoe Tavern

Toronto – Cuff The Duke has been around for a few years now, but one question still nags at the brain of many a fan (or me at least) – what exactly does it mean to “cuff the duke?”  Legend has it that the band found a t-shirt in some Oshawa thrift store with that very phrase written on it, but the exact meaning remains mysterious.  We’ll probably never know.  What we do know is that Cuff The Duke is a solid alt country band and that they just played two packed nights at the Horseshoe promoting their new Greg Keelor produced album, Morning Comes.

Opening the show was The Pinecones, who really impressed with their ’60s style power pop.  Formerly known as Brent Randall and his Pinecones and formerly based out of Halifax, the now-Toronto based band still retains a bit of an East coast vibe with a touch of that city’s early ’90s sound (ie. Sloan, Inbreds, Super Friendz) evident in their sound as well.  There was certainly a fair bit of great musicianship as well as great songwriting on display.  Guitarist Paul Linklater is a real powerhouse as well, adding lots of flair to each song.  In some ways, I thought they may have even overshadowed Cuff The Duke.

Not that Cuff the Duke were lacking in any way.  They also put on a solid show and certainly had the packed crowd on their side, inspiring a mass singalong early on in their set for “Follow Me.”  Perhaps inspired by working with Keelor, there were extended guitar workouts aplenty throughout their set.  The band also played a couple of cover songs, which they’ve been known to do in the past, although I was a bit surprised at the first choice.  When Wayne Patti announced that they were playing a cover, I expected maybe some Springsteen or Lightfoot, something I’d seen them do before.  But no, they busted out a version of The Dum Dum Girls’ “Always Looking,”  and damned if it didn’t sound pretty good.  They also started off their encore by inviting openers The Pinecones and Louise Burns to join them in covering John Lennon’s “Instant Karma.”  Cover songs are often a good way for bands to show off their chops and Cuff The Duke proved on this night that they certainly have got the goods.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Everything

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