Event Review: Duvall
Metro, Chicago, IL
Words can only express their performance as rock wrapped in silk. Following this band is as hard off as it is enjoyable on stage. Built from the ashes of the Smoking Popes, it includes all previous members except now John Sewell (Kidsnack) is on bass. Josh Caterer leads on vocals and guitar, with brother Eli Caterer on guitar, and drummer Mike Felumlee. Josh opened the show with a sweet ditty he introduced as the efforts of last week, and promised to turn it into something more polished by their next time around.
Let's hope he keep his promise. The Popes managed to stay together for almost ten years, and after their breakup in 1999, fans thought it would be over. However, the stage was left warm, as they returned with a new name, and what can be thought of as a more straightforward approach to their rock sensibilities. Power-pop heavily laced with Josh's angelic presence, Duvall rocked through powerful songs that had needed introduction. It's difficult to discern what was carried over from the Popes repertoire, and what has been added, especially since their latest addition to the waxen tomes is Duvall's four-track Standing At The Door; but we're not here for a history lesson.
They played without reservations, issuing forth in measured doses. They seemed to thrive on resonance, through songs anchored by Caterer's smooth refrains of "They Won't Let Me Go," and "They All Fall Down." Something new came through on "Make Me Wanna Do Something," and though it sounded more like a Popes' track, it was harder, and rougher. Religious overtones were heavy, albeit passing unnoticed, as in the plain "Jesus Never Leaves Me."
In addition to Sewell's musical contributions, it was hard to ignore his acrobatic presence, and throughout the show it seemed he was having as good a time as those packed on the floor. Though Josh infuses his poetic lyrics with one of the sweetest voices in rock, they were almost completely drowned out, forcing emphasis at the expense of clarity. The show culminated in an encore which featured a finale that was a mesmerizing synthesis between each band member as they let loose in coordinated mayhem. Duvall's latest stop by Chicago was on April 20 at Metro, having come back around after their stop last March at the Empty Bottle. They are currently on a national tour with Kansas based Ultimate Fakebook.
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