Sam Duckworth

Get Cape Wear Cape Fly! Chinnerys, Southend

“What’s a battle cry / If it falls on death ears”

A telling lyric from Westcliff’s Get Cape Wear Cape Fly. Especially, 12 years into his career with new material aplenty. Launching your career with a cult classic (‘Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager’) can often have a damming effect. Just ask The Enemy and Glasvegas. Despite this, head honcho Sam Duckworth returned this year with ‘Young Adult’ and, this past Saturday, he brought it to his hometown venue Chinnerys.

Now backed with an 8 piece band (all outrageously handsome btw!), Get Cape sounds better than ever. This is particularly true of new material such as ‘Adults’, ‘Animate’ and ‘VHS Forever’. The youthful exuberance that bred so much hope and escapism in 2006 is still there, but now, the musicianship is on another level. These feel like staple set numbers of a decade!

This is further striking on ‘DNA’ and fan favourite ‘Lighthouse Keeper’. The latter, a great song about life in Southend, always breeds huge devotion from the Essex crowd. However, ‘DNA’, surpasses it with its older, wiser and reflective stance. Get Cape’s vocal is oozes into shore like the waves just a few hundred yards away with an elegant ease to marvel at.

Quite simply, this is the best version of Get Cape that’s ever materialised, go and watch for yourselves!

Get Cape Wear Cape Fly at Village Underground

A new bar has been set. If you’re going to make a comeback, you need a twelve piece band. You need to take everything anyone has ever known, and, as dear old Edwyn would say, rip it up and start again.

Sam Duckworth’s re-emergence as Get Cape at the village underground displayed everything that’s righteous about music. Jazz, soul, drum n bass, folk and punk all came together for a holistic party for the ages.

When Duckworth is on this kind of form, he transcends music. ‘DNA’ becomes a solemn stand of defiance, not just against Brexit, but for anyone who has ever been downtrodden. With his new band, he takes an indie-folk track like ‘Man2Man’ and makes it so freeing it could be an Ibiza classic.

After the early sing-along classics, a rousing speech about the NHS and new powerhouse single ‘VHS Forever’, one thing is strikingly clear, Get Cape is no longer the plucky underdog with a laptop. He is a musical pioneer and explorer with big adventures ahead.

Get Cape Wear Cape Fly - Young Adult

Four years ago, Get Cape bid an emotional farewell to the moniker at the Forum. It was a celebration of all that was great about teenage escapism. The intervening years saw three albums released, two under his own name Sam Duckworth, and the other, ‘Baby Boomers 2’, a classic released under the name Recreations.

So, why the return? Why now? In short, Duckworth left London and returned to his native Southend. Sonically and lyrically, this album feels like Duckworth has come full circle from his debut ‘The Chronicles of Bohemian Teenager’ but, with sterner sense of wisdom only your thirties can bring.

Album opener ‘Adults’, closes with the spritely guitars and euphoric brass of the debut but lyrically, it’s a far more complex. Duckworth, wiser, can see through the political discourse around him but, like so many, is alienated by it all simultaneously. Amidst the confusion though, hope remains which is the true essence of Get Cape right?

The return to Essex takes a stark turn on ‘Man2Man’. A county where Thatcherism still reigns, this song details the cynicism and hypocrisy of the viewpoint. So often, social comment comes in the form of punk rock polemic. Here though, it’s within great melody, angelic backing vocals and a soaring urgency.

The Get Cape journey home isn’t always so clear-cut. ‘Always’ treads murkier paths of personal cataclysm. Meanwhile, ‘Scrapbook’ questions whether the teenage dreams have faded or the lack of freedom as an adulthood has taken its toll. Even in the darker moments, there is a sense of solidarity which breeds light and courage to up off the canvas.

‘Adults’ is not free flowing rock n roll music so, phrases like return of the King are unlikely to come Duckworth’s way. It is hard to view it in any other way. It’s a clarion call to all who have been forced out of city centres the world over that great art can come from anywhere.

It also highlights a remarkable clarity in song writing. There isn’t a track here which, if you took away the vocals, wouldn’t leave you thinking its anything other than a Get Cape song. The acoustic guitars, warming brass and intricate electronic production have and continue to serve him well. Make no mistakes though, this is no nostalgia trip.