Review - Duke Special at the Riverbank, Newbridge

Duke Special
Incredible performances from Duke Special and Jarrod Dickenson stole hearts at the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge on Friday last, June 28.

Incredible performances from Duke Special and Jarrod Dickenson stole hearts at the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge on Friday last, June 28.

The auditorium was half full, when in walked in a tall man with a vintage look – Jarrod Dickenson. He is a Texas-born, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and was warming up for Northern Ireland-based Duke Special. Jarrod blew the audience’s minds with his deep voice and the guitar. He was not just performing, he was also an incredible storyteller, He sang about a singer-songwriter’s life when travelling around the world. His amazingly passionate songs were full of emotion.

Jarrod started off with his track “Rosalie“, which he described as a “cheery little tune for a great depression“.

He mentioned how a friend once complimented his voice, but also asked why all his songs are so sad. “I’m a singer-songwriter... That’s what we do,“ replied the Texan... although the question gave him some motivation to write something more hopeful, my personal favourite “Come What May”.

After half an hour from Jarrod and a little break came Duke Special himself, who went straight to the piano and started singing. He sang two songs and then said the first “Hi” to the audience, a figure with distinctive long dreadlocks, eyeliner and eye catching outfits.

A few songs later Duke Special handed out some leaflets, so people in the auditorium could sing along with him. In the end the audience was asked to come to the stage and stay around the piano for the last part.

With his unique voice and theatrical performance, Duke Special brings something refreshing to the world of entertainment. Far from mainstream, he is rather one of a kind and truly enjoyable.

Fair play to both singers, it was a five star experience.

- Santa Selena Kuuse