Recreations photo by Francesca Nottola

Recreations photo by Francesca Nottola


I have always been drawn to Get Cape. Wear Cape, Fly and thought it was a great name for a musician, but I have never seen Sam Duckworth live before tonight. After putting an end to the Get Cape. Wear Cape, Fly project in 2014, Sam Duckworth has been performing and recording under his own name and has recently adopted Recreations as his new alias.

I have been following him on social media, and I was pleased to see that he is an artist who often engages with hotly debated contemporary issues in his lyrics and on stage, and who does not shy away from expressing his political views. At a time in which presidential candidates are free to publicly incite racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and chauvinistic hatred, it is quite important to speak up, all of us.

This date is part of a promotional tour for Recreations’ new album Baby Boomers, out on April 29 on Xtra Mile Recordings. Sam Duckworth tonight is introduced by fellow label mate Rob Lynch and by Seán McGowan, who both gift us with two very good, engaging and – particularly McGowan – entertaining sets. A true delight, lots of energy, great guitar playing, powerful vocals and, despite the Monday night crowd being a bit quiet, a very enjoyable stage-audience interaction. McGowan jokes about the silence, saying that he appreciates that we are being so polite and respectful (=basically dead) during his performance. He’s got a song about patchy beards and reveals that he’s had to ask his dad for instructions on how to play a vinyl record. Definitely someone to watch.

A bit after 9.30, Sam Duckworth gets on stage and immediately shoots my favourite track of the latest record, the hyper-catchy ‘Pipe Down’. Recreations switches acoustic, electric and bass guitar in the same song with rare nonchalance. He is a fantastic guitarist (son of a guitarist), and I think it is a pity tonight that the recorded rhythmic bases he plays along are much louder than the guitars, so we can hardly hear his beautiful, polished guitar playing.

The stage is decorated with projections on umbrellas of the colourful motifs from the merchandising designed by illustrator Rebecca Hendin, creating a very peculiar light effect and an interesting contrast between the bright pink and purples of the animations and the grim contemporary topics that pop up in some of the lyrics.

Recreations photo by Francesca Nottola

Recreations photo by Francesca Nottola

Sam Duckworth has been making music and performing for more than 12 years now, and he owns the stage as if it’s his living room, super relaxed and confident. He takes off his shoes just before the start and he is equipped with his laptop and various types of recordings, including speeches about equality, news reports about the government, banks and the NHS. Duckworth has explicitly supported the current junior doctors’ strike and he introduces ‘Built To Last’ as a song about the NHS, which saved his life – the artist says – referring to the serious health problems that have affected him a few years ago.

Tonight, Recreations explicitly dedicates ‘Lifestyle Concept Store’ to small live venues like Night & Day, which are constantly under attack and at the risk of closure due to either complaints by unreasonable residents living nearby or due to the approval by councils of endless construction plans that transform and violate the identity of cities for the sake of the usual business profits.

Among the songs performed tonight, also the Orson Welles-inspired ‘War Of The Worlds’, the poppy jewel ‘Shake It Off’ (from the EP Digital Ghettos), ‘I-Spy’ and to conclude the set, the brand new irresistible ‘Neoprene’. Recreations leaves us wanting more: the set ends at 10.30pm, probably due to the curfew.

Despite being a politically aware musician, Sam Duckworth rejects the label of political musician, and rightly so. His lyrics deal more with the human condition in general, human relationships, transformation and how people’s lives interact with an urban context increasingly deprived of any sense of community and cultural identity and shaped by consumerism and alienation.

From the stage, Sam observes his audience, looking straight into our eyes while he sings. I wonder what he’s thinking. It is a very welcome return; fans are singing along and dancing throughout the gig. Being a huge fan of his sophisticated guitar playing, I wish he had played without a music base, or perhaps a less intrusive one. However, it is great to hear the new material and welcome him back to an undoubtedly bright future. His combination of intelligence, awareness and musical excellence truly make Recreations stand out, and I look forward to tracking the direction his artistic project will take.

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Francesca Nottola

I write, translate, edit texts and take pictures. I solve problems for pensioners and create problems to everyone else. Sometimes a history researcher and language tutor, I would happily live in a national archive or in the head of professional musicians. Unfortunately, I say what I think