With an enthusiastic combination of familiarity and swagger, Sam Duckworth – better known as Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – takes to the stage in one of his final string of shows before giving up the alias. Known not only for his political, but also his personal style of acoustic singer/songwriter music, minus some time off for illness, Sam has spent the past ten years spreading his thoughts, accompanied by a guitar and computer. Whilst the politics become a key part of the show, they are by no means the be all and end all of Sam’s personality, and even if you’re not a fan of accessible, one-man indie-rock, it’s easy to respect him for his attitude.
A few cheers come as response to Sam dedication of the second song of the set; “this one’s for anyone who’s been there since the beginning”. There’s a strong sense of nostalgia and sentimentality as the night works its way through the set, with lengthy gaps between the tracks providing the chance for a trip down memory lane, retelling experiences of previous visits to Nottingham, and events that shaped him through his career. Despite this regular break up of the songs, the evening continues to buzz along nicely with the computerised backing providing entertainment between songs.
Tracks such as best-known I-Spy allow the packed room to display their full-out enthusiasm, the only real hiccup in the first half of the show came from an over-confident and impatient heckler. Disrupting the set mid-song, he accuses Sam of the fact that he “used to be like a young Billy Bragg” – as the man himself highlights, “I’m not a young Billy Bragg, I’m Sam Duckworth”. You have to admire his determination to take his time to resolve the issue, instead of simply letting security brush over the event, even offering the heckler his money back if he didn’t enjoy the show. In response, the lone figure criticises that Sam has “changed”, and as “what’s the problem? Is it me? Is it the guitar? Is it the computer?” only elicits, “where’s the message?”, our host for the evening launches into a political (or more accurately, anti-political) speech.
The energy built up from the en masse cheers and boos to the respective participants in this argument powers Sam into the second half of the show, full speed ahead. The set was at its turning point regardless, and the songwriter makes a point of the fact that the more political songs have not been included to please, but were intended to be placed there anyway. As he continues to be clapped for his confident comebacks to the straggler, Sam launches into another rant, finishes up with describing the argument as an “exorcism”.
After the all-out zest that ensued from the event had worn off, it begins to look as though Sam was thrown off by it; as the mood returned to a vibrant hum, the disruption seemed to catch up with him. Most of the way through a track intro he stops the set to retune, apologising that as it was “basically one and a half minutes of guitar” it would “sound bad” without being tuned fully. Bad enough to stop the set, apparently, but this break gave Sam the chance to gather himself up, and launch into the end of the set with the same momentum he started with.
Call Me Ishmael, Collapsing Cities and War Of The Worlds gave the audience chance to sing their hearts out and do their part in the gig, whilst the highlight of the night came in the form of Whitewash Is Brainwash; sincere vocal work layered with synthesised backing made a beautifully intense and alluring sound. The gig comes to a close after an encore and a turn up in the strobe lighting and folk-infused sound, creating a hectic, bustling singing crowd all equally upset to see him leave the stage for the last time with the GCWCF banner as a backdrop.