Back in 2015, Ducktails topped a fantastic triple bill made up of Jaako Eino Kalevi and Beaty Heart at the Deaf Institute. Their carefree spindly guitars coupled with Matt Mondanile’s soft vocals resulted in a blissful end to the evening.

Tonight is much the same with Ducktails at the top of another great triple bill made up of James Ferraro and Typhonian High Life. The only difference is that Matt Mondanile aka Ducktails plays alone tonight and not with his usual full band.

The two support acts make drastically different music to Ducktails. Typhonian Highlife moves through a stream of electronic genres, from doom-impending drone to lush ambient music. James Ferraro is less engaging, he makes Eastern and dystopian soundscapes but his failure to engage with his music and the audience leaves some of the audience bored.

The crowd has significantly swelled by the time Ducktails takes the stage. He opens with a euphoric instrumental, where he plays lo fi guitar over relaxing synths and drums. At its close Ducktails tells us that tonight will be full of new songs in front of a visual showing pictures that he has taken of his home town.

The next track is full of Ducktails’ trademark shimmering guitar and soft vocals, with Matt urging us to dance among the ashes. The setlist is kept close to his chest throughout as we flip from one new song to the next.

The pick of the new songs is an upbeat track where Matt’s vocals are clear and not buried under lo fi guitars. It’s blissful as always but somehow forceful and demanding of your attention.

There’s still time for an old favourite though as ‘Headbanging in the Mirror’ gets the crowd swaying, particularly when the signature guitar riff hits in the middle.

The final song, potentially called ‘The Rising Sun’, has a similar upbeat feel to the song we heard earlier, with driving drums and shimmering guitar joining together to create a light joyful atmosphere.

The lights quickly turn on and we make our way out of the Soup Kitchen basement. To say tonight was the first night of Ducktails’ tour, the set was impeccable. Matt managed to successfully make up for his band that usually accompanies him with pre-recorded guitars, drums and vocals that never sounded unnatural or forced.

Overall it was a brave set but despite a lot of the songs being new he managed to captivate the audience throughout.

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Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.