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Re-Viewed: New Duncan Imperials at the Beat Kitchen

By Julene McCoy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 25, 2006 1:56PM

Seventeen years ago there was a Bush in the White House, demonstrations for democracy in Tiananmen Square, an oil liner spewing its contents around Alaska’s waters, and the album of the year was George Michael’s Faith. Under these auspicious circumstances a band came into the world. That band was the New Duncan Imperials.

2006_07_ndidrum.jpgOriginally touring only locally in Chicago, the band ventured forth and expanded to shows in such far off places as DeKalb, Davenport and Des Moines. These many years later the band doesn’t play as often and when they do it’s a reunion of sorts for those of us who have followed the band for sixteen of those seventeen years. Saturday night at the Beat Kitchen, we once again worshipped at the altar of the New Duncan Imperials.

After marching from the back of the Beat Kitchen to take the stage, NDI jumped into “Pitch a Fit” and “Mystery Date”. Each NDI song tells a story, one that may not be the happiest – yet they are amusing, such as the love song, “Running With a Fork in My Mouth” and “Shut Up & Drive”. One of Chicagoist’s favorites is “I’m Schizophrenic (No, I’m Not)”, but that could be because Goodtime always spins his trademark hat to the beat.

Every time we see NDI, they always put on a show. Never have we seen them slack or forget to give us free shit. We missed hearing “Velour”, but did get the “White Trash Boogie” sans girls on stage and another fave, “Motel 666”. Every time “We’re an American Band” begins, we know that another evening with NDI is drawing to a close. The period between gigs this time was around seven months and we’re trying to believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but we always seem to want more. Hopefully, NDI will continue to play for a few more years even though their priorities have shifted toward family and other bands.