Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison remarked they had driven to Salt Lake City from Denver Wednesday, which may have helped to explain their first two songs. The Dutchess and the Duke looked like they were about to fall asleep on their royal beds before perking up for “Scorpio,” “Let it Die,” and (particularly) “Never Had a Chance.” Each of the succeeding performances from Sunrise/Sunset, followed by choreographed swills from their beer bottles, seemed to give the duo more energy.
The 2009 record, full of dirty and rough-hewn 60’s folk and blues, is much my favorite to their debut She’s the Dutchess, He’s the Duke. Where the 2008 album is all grit and grimace, Sunrise/Sunset brings a little more sunlight to the melodies. Lortz and Morrison did ramble through “Strangers” and “Back to Me” from their prior release.
The Dutchess and the Duke are likeable enough on stage, if they tend to banter with each other off mic more than with the audience. Morrison seemed genuinely worn out, though she follows her partner’s cues and I think would have played longer had he insisted. But after a little more than an hour The Duke had had enough and politely refused an encore. After 7 shows in three days at SXSW, then Denver and finally Salt Lake before heading home to Seattle, I think they were spent. Now for some family time for Lortz before he and his bandmate hit the road in June with the New Pornographers.
This is the third time or so The Dutchess and the Duke have played here in the last year and I was glad to get a peek at them. Either of their two records come highly recommended.