Another Saturday night descended upon the city centre of Bristol and for those who weren’t interested in splattering themselves in fake blood and donning fishnet stockings to watch the Rocky Horror show, there was an alternative. Fortunately, Matt Mondanile and his shaggy haired pals were in town to play the Louisiana. The venue is a cosy New Orleans styled bar that has been the first rung of the musical ladder for many big names (The Strokes, The Libertines and Coldplay just to name a few) and its intimate nature would prove ideal for the Ducktails gang.
Ducktails aren’t a band destined for grandiose stadium shows or major festival headline slots, however they do hold a lot of potential. They’re music is mellifluous and they certainly shouldn’t be disregarded as a band who merely pick up the scraps of abandoned Real Estate tracks. It is important to view this band as a completely separate entity and whilst there are tracks that sound similar to his work in Real Estate when played live (notably ‘Hamilton Road’ from ‘Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics’), overall they are two very different bands. Take ‘Under Cover’ for example, it’s bass groove is not too disparate to Daft Punk’s perhaps too familiar ‘Get Lucky’ but layered with Mondanile’s ‘80’s dream-pop’ style vocal line and creamy guitar licks, it becomes a distinct hybrid of styles. To top this off, the track flourished live when Mondanile confidently stomped on his trustee ‘OCD pedal’ to drench the audience in a psych-rock inspired solo.
However, as Mondanile revealed to ShufSounds prior to the show, this was not going to be a night solely dedicated to his latest record ‘The Flower Lane’. Primarily, this appeared to be down to the fact that in order to perform songs from that record he would need a lot more baggage allowance and several extra musicians to accompany him. Nevertheless, Ducktails still kept the Bristol crowd engaged with deeper cuts from older records and unreleased numbers that again, did not shy away from fusing genres. At one point, drummer Sam Franklin laid down a textbook jazz beat which was decorated by the rest of the band with modulated, swirling guitar tones. The result was lapped up joyously by the crowd and one curious audience member enquired over the name of the jam, which (surprise, surprise) was entitled ‘jazz’. As Mondanile pleaded to not have the vibe killed, it was pretty evident that Ducktails had brought with them a great vibe that was well and truly alive and kicking.