The Wedge won't be Strange Again for Shoot The Duke

Shoot The Duke. Picture by Josh Holgate Photography
Shoot The Duke. Picture by Josh Holgate Photography
Will Pound, Ross Grant and Benji Kirkpatrick, who are at The Square Tower on May 6, 2018

Abandon thoughts of bells and handkerchiefs at this show – Will Pound takes morris dancing Through The Seasons

Ian Prowse, formerly of Pele, for The Sport of Kings 2018 tour

Ian Prowse revisits a time when his band Pele were real thoroughbreds

Although it's a stage they've played on many times before, when the members of Shoot The Duke walk on this time at The Wedgewood Rooms it's going to be different.

This time they will be playing their biggest headline hometown show to date, and it's a landmark show for the act, which started off as a duo back in 2014 with frontman Tom Bryan and guitarist Neil Cripps.

'I’m very nervous if I’m honest,' Tom tells The Guide. 'We’ve done our own shows at The Loft and The Wave maiden and stuff, but this feels more serious, because it is more serious, I guess. It’s quite nerve-racking and fingers-crossed people turn up – it’s in the hands of the punters.'

The band has built a loyal live following with their driving mix of indie blues and rock, and Tom's distinctive gravelly vocals.

But as Tom explains, becoming a full band was never the obvious end result. After playing for a while as a duo, they picked up a cajon player. And it was during this period in 2016 that they won the News-backed All About The Song competition.

'We’ve always kind of winged it, to be honest. From the start we’ve just winged it and it’s happened organically. We decided we wanted to become a full band so we could do the songs better justice. We’ve been a four-piece for nearly a year now.

'I found Colin the bassist, he was a friend of mine anyway, and I knew he was a special bass player, and I found Rob the drummer on Facebook - I just typed in "drummers looking for bands", I saw him and messaged him and that was it.'

'We clicked surprisingly quickly. We had about a month before our first gig, so we rehearsed the full set before that, and then we just got tight gigging and it became really naturally. We found ourselves jamming for hours.'

With the band gelling well, they dived right into writing new songs.

'We had the old songs, obviously, but they weren’t band songs, so we started straight away on new material.'

And the first song they wrote was the recently released single, Strange Again, an unusually personal song for Tom.

'I don’t tend to write overly-personal lyrics, but on this song I did. It was about this wave of different emotions that were happening to me even hourly, and it felt honest, so we went with it.'

The changing group dynamic has meant a major shake-up to their set too.

'We only do three of the old songs on stage these days, Cash, Nicotine and Adelaide, and the rest are all new. We like to jam a lot on stage now – we’ve got a funk jam and a dub jam, and we like to mash together a lot of different genres.'

Later this summer they'll also be returning to Victorious, playing on the Beats and Swing stage.

'I love Victorious – it’s the home crowd. We play a lot of other festivals and there’s lots of energy and we’re always trying to win over the crowd, but when it’s a home crowd they know who we are and know the songs.'

They are supported at The Wedge by Veludo Planes, The Yellow Bellies and Kayleigh Thomas & The Effectors.

The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Sunday, May 6