REVIEW: Sam Duckworth at the Windmill

Music contributor Richard Pearmain reviews Sam Duckworth’s Tuesday night gig at the Windmill.

Sam Duckworth performs at the Windmill Brixton
Sam Duckworth performs at the Windmill Brixton

It was that time of year again when Sam Duckworth, the artist formerly known as Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, hosted his annual New Year’s Eve Eve bash at the Windmill. Despite it being bitingly cold outside, the Windmill was pretty packed, with pints of Roof Dog Beer helping to keep the winter chills at bay.

I got there just in time to catch the end of Southampton acoustic troubadour Seán McGowan’s set, a vibrant slice of urban folk.

Sam Duckworth wasn’t headlining tonight, opting instead to showcase some new solo material. It’s a year since he retired Get Cape Wear Cape Fly (indeed, the penultimate show was here at the Windmill), and this was apparently the first time that his latest songs were getting a public airing. Playing solo, with an acoustic guitar, he still sparks with a righteous rage, making his feelings about the state of politics abundantly clear between songs. Yet, in between the fury, there are songs of tenderness – he also fits in a lyric about Pripyat, the abandoned ghost city that lies in the shadow of Chernobyl.

Headlining tonight were London five-piece Eat The Evidence, playing a frenetic brand of ska punk that, to be honest, I didn’t know people still did. However, far from being a sub-par Mighty Mighty Bosstones, witty lyrics and the judicious use of an accordion gave their sound a twist. They also seemed to have a sizeable following, judging by the amount of skanking that was going on.

At the end of a year that has been pretty depressing for small venues, with some (the Buffalo Bar and 12 Bar Club) being forced to close and others (the George Tavern and Macbeth) in danger from new housing developments, it’s good to see that the Windmill is still going strong.