Published Nov 18, 2011Cuff the Duke and Hooded Fang have been touring across Canada together for some time. Their most recent stop in Peterborough, ON provided an opportunity for local concertgoers a chance to witness some of Southern Ontario's finest. Both groups have been narrowing their technique into a finite art by readying their wares for presentation to the world. And while the evening's snowy start may have slowed the crowd, the bands did not let it show.
Although the slowly filling Red Dog and those who inhabited it may not have been ready, Hooded Fang began their set with the rolling intro to their latest album Tosta Mista. The band allowed the delicate melody of their opening track to fold into a roaring medley of the band's delightful canon of tracks. The performance featured their full lineup for the first time since the beginning of the tour, which gave tracks like "ESP" and "Brahma" more energy, as the added harmonies carried the tracks to a new place.
It was not until the group unveiled their slow-burning "Dens of Love" that parts of the crowd truly opened up and began to dance, couples and all. The summery tracks of Hooded Fang's latest LP may not have been appropriate for the weather, but the band did not falter, as the layers of uplifting chord progressions and harmonies warmed up the crowd.
Deciding to close with the old favourite, "Highway Steam" did their entire set justice as the song piled up and came crashing down upon its final chorus. Apart from a small incident with a frustratingly obnoxious soundman, Hooded Fang's set was show-stealing, and marked itself as a sign of many more mystifying performances to come.
Cuff the Duke built upon the excitement their openers had fostered and began with a wallop of crushing rock gems. Lead singer Wayne Petti's impassioned voiced brought both adoration and excitement to the crowd, which had finally filled out. Touring in support of their latest LP, Morning Comes, Cuff the Duke's performance dripped with a sense of ease, as their country-tinged rock tracks brought familiarity and happiness to the crowd.
Standout "You Don't Know" struck upon everything great one should expect from a Cuff the Duke performance: sentimental lyrics, twangy guitars and a mellow backbeat. Album highlight "Standing on the Edge" brought the house down, as did a surprising and vastly unique cover of the Dum Dum Girls track "Always Looking."
Earlier, Hooded Fang brought a stimulating and often times rousing performance; when coupled with Cuff the Duke's regularly solid set, it was guaranteed that Peterborough concertgoers could return to their snow-covered homes with a warm heart and a content spirit.