Duncan Kissinger Plays the State Street Pub

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Catching Duncan Kissinger at the State Street Pub is always a treat and this time was no exception. The man was in good form on the night of January the sixteenth, even if it was a slow night for the State Street.

Local Artist

               Duncan Kissinger is a local artist of some renown and is a semi-regular feature of the State Street Pub. Rooted firmly in the lo-fi side of things, Kissinger specializes in short songs with witty lyrics. A little Tom Lehrer there, a little Daniel Johnston here, all backed by reverby guitar work. Generally singing in a falsetto, which is common with artists that favor a lo-fi sound, Kissinger has a way fo transforming even cynical subject matter into something amusing. Or at least palatable.     

               It’s a pity the night was slow. Like any good performer, he creates a unique atmosphere around both himself and his work. In his case, one gets the sense of a late-night beer session with an old friend, probably in either your or their apartment. The kind where the both of you share your problems between trading jokes and random anecdotes: Basically, introspective but chill.

Duncan Kissinger Live

               Like many musicians, Kissinger sounds very different playing live. Fortunately, different does not equal worse in this case. Even stripped of his studio effects, Kissinger still does very well with nothing more than an oscillator, a set of effects pedals, a guitar, and a flute. As electronic components have miniaturized over the years, it has become more and more possible for the musician to bring the studio with them. Partially, anyway.

               One primary difference between Kissinger’s live shows and his album work is his voice. On his albums, his voice is deliberately tinny like he is singing from the back three-tenths of a drain pipe. That effect is difficult to achieve live, so he relies on his natural singing voice instead. This actually gives his performance some immediacy that the rather detached sound of his albums lacks. Likewise, his instrumental performance does not have the heavy reverb that marks his album sound.   

               Other than that, Duncan Kissinger live is still Duncan Kissinger. The show is fun, and his performance works especially well if an audience is more in the mood to listen than dance. After all, sometimes a chill atmosphere is just what the doctor ordered.   

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