Live Music + Gig Reviews

Herman Dune @ Scala, London

17 December 2008

If you’re having a bad day, there’s one way to get a smile back on your face – an evening with Herman Dune.

Coughs and sneezes filled the Scala but it didn’t stop the crowd swaying in unison to the feelgood tunes and general loveliness of the Dune.

In dapper tweed and bushy beard, Mr David Ikar Herman Dune played this year’s fantastic Next Year In Zion almost in full and its cute lyrics and twee melodies raised the roof… and the audience’s spirits.

His understated and honest voice was captivating, especially with the beautiful girly harmonies of The Baby Skins, a folk duo from Brooklyn, and a great brass section, which added oodles of depth and warmth to the whole night’s set.

As well as his usual bassist and drummer, the latter sporting his usual fantastic Gomez style mo, Dune was joined by energetic bongo player David Beauchamp of The Jeff Lewis Band. There was a great rapport on stage – everyone was having a pretty wonderful time.

But what made this gig was Mr Dune himself – a front man you can’t take your eyes off. Whether it’s his slightly ditzy look, his comical dancing or the heart-wrenching stories he tells through his magical lyrics, sung with his Parisian twang, none better than Someone Knows Better Than Me and its amazing swallows.

The silence of the audience was homage to the intricate and hilarious rhymes, brought to life with the simple trumpet and trombone combo, a duo of flutes or the amazing boom of a baritone sax.

Wonderful songs like Try To Think About Me and When The Sun Rose Up This Morning had people bopping and grinning, while all those Christmas woes melted into pure joy. And the wondrous renditions of the western-esque When We Were Still Friends and the tingly My Baby Is Afraid Of Sharks, with its Walk On By intro, had people clutching loved ones and pulling them near.

And it was an honour to hear David on his own, just voice and guitar, making his poetry even more prominent, as was just David and brass during the first of two encores.

The night came to a close, eventually, with album title track Next Year In Zion, and a brilliant lion roar, and the extremely catchy and happy On A Saturday, complete with drummer playing the saw.

This band loves the stage. It’s where they belong and smiles on faces were testament to an enjoyable evening by all.

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More on Herman Dune
Herman Dune – Strange Moosic
Herman Dune @ Scala, London
Herman Dune – Next Year In Zion
Herman Dune – Giant