Salisbury Arts Centre

WHY would the ex-singer of Strangelove, who has worked alongside the acclaimed Massive Attack, London Philharmonic Orchestra and appeared on John Peel radio sessions travel to play a free gig in Salisbury on a rainy Sunday afternoon?

This quandary was promptly answered by Patrick Duff after his first song and left the small crowd sipping their drinks in awe at the weekly Live Lunch event at the arts centre.

Armed only with his semi-acoustic guitar, retro flares and curly locks, the reason was clear – the singer-songwriter stated with sincerity his greatest pleasure was playing his own tunes to a welcoming wider audience.

With few venues offering the hypnotic acoustics of Salisbury Arts Centre, where better to show off his warm intensity and passion for music?

A variety of his tunes also highlighted why he now enjoys teaching song writing in Bristol to aspiring future musicians to help pay for his adventures while travelling.

The delightful ditty Three Little Monkeys, composed with accompanying kazoo for his ever-growing horde of nephews, could have easily appeared on The Jungle Book soundtrack.

Many new fans in the audience were left questioning whether the song was written by Disney or Duff.

It was clear where his distinct influences came from. With songs dedicated to the late Brian Jones, and his grandfather Jim Duff, who had travelled from Ireland to a small Wales mining community looking for work, I’m sure both would have been thrilled to have influenced this young artist.

Singing how he was dying of thirst after all his adventures around the world from Niagara Falls to Cape Town, it’s a shame he didn’t indulge in some of the fine local coffee and Ginger Tiffin on offer at this live lunch. There’s always next time…

Graham Tarrant