Cuff the Duke takes to the stage this weekend as part of the National Art Centre’s “NAC Presents” Series. The series is an opportunity for the NAC to bring different acts to the venue, experimenting with rock, indie, folk and other genres that can help bring in new audiences to the NAC’s stages.
So what does the band think about playing this gig? “I think it’s great when venues like that help cultivate their next generation – they are looking down the road,” said Wayne Petti of Cuff the Duke via telephone from Toronto. “They are helping to facilitate the growth of bands, which I think is fantastic.”
This won’t be the first time the band takes to an NAC stage: they toured with Blue Rodeo and backed Hayden, two gigs that allowed them to “play in some pretty amazing spaces,” according to Petti.
This Saturday’s show will be a return to a city they love. “Ottawa was one of a handful of cities that we played even before we had a record out,” said Petti. “We’ve always had a nice loyal following there.”
This show with the NAC is coming at a time when the band and its fans are maturing. Petti has a new baby at home, and says that Cuff the Duke has an older, more experienced fan base. They can now start to experiment with some new ideas. “We’ve been playing since 2001, so our audience is getting a little older too,” said Petti. “It’s nice to try out different venues and see how that works.”
“You can put on a bit of different show in a venue like that. You can still do your rock, upbeat, foot -tapping tunes, but you can also be a bit more dynamic… It’s a fun challenge.”
All this is not to say that it won’t be a wild time. The band still likes to party and Petti spoke fondly of one of my personal favourite annual parties – Oktoberfest. “People weren’t even phased by the cold rainy whether, they were out to have a great time,” said Petti, referring to last fall’s annual Beau’s-sponsored Vankleek Hill festival.
Expect a wide range of Cuff the Duke content on Saturday, as the band plans to play through a breadth of their catalogue. If you’re looking to relive 2001 or just remember the sweet taste of microbrew in the rain at Oktoberfest, this show isn’t to be missed. Tickets start at $25 and are available at the NAC box office.