Published Jul 29, 2013It seems a bit of a stretch that British producer Adam Dyment would choose to call himself Duke Dumont. With that name, one would expect something regal from the guy, some fanfare, some pomp and circumstance, but he was just a regular dude in a white tee with a moustache and lone earring. Aside from the royal crest that appeared on a screen behind him, there wasn't much about his show that evoked the image of a duke.
Taking the stage without introduction, Duke Dumont had a stoic stage presence. He quietly sang some of the words to himself and occasionally clapped overhead, but mostly looked a little sweaty and uncomfortable, possibly sick from jetlag or worn out from San Francisco the night before, with seldom a grin crossing his face (although a quick Google image search shows that smiling may not be his thing). However, he wasn't too cool to briefly pose for iPhone pics and bump fists with the front row.
Dumont's set was fun to dance to. Heavily indebted to the '90s pop and rave music, he showcased the disco side of house and UK garage, with the latter's emphasis on warped, psychedelic bass lines. At any moment, one half-expected Robert Owens to roll out and drop a few verses. Everyone was up on Dumont's breakthrough single "Need U (100%)," which he selectively muted to allow the crowd to sing the hook. He did enough to cater to his core fans.
Yet, Dumont's skills didn't come across as being incredibly sophisticated. He wasn't very active behind the mixer, and his utter lack of flair meant there wasn't much of a performance. While accessible and funky, this set would undoubtedly work well at a festival, but it was a little underwhelming for your average Joe on a hot summer Sunday who was not already on a psychedelic and/or stimulant-fuelled journey of self-discovery. The Duke still has a ways to go to meet the people halfway on the road to catharsis.