“We’ve forgotten what’s sacred in this fast-paced world,” belts out singer Sarah Dugas in the Duhks’ “Fast Paced World.” Judging by the accompanying video, what’s sacred is the right to wear push-up bras and put on burlesque shows at Burning Man. As visions of the sacred go, that one ain’t bad.
Still, it’s a little weird to see a video like this associated with a mostly acoustic Canadian, Americana-Celtic-bluegrass-Latin-jazz-rock-country band led by a banjo player. If you’re expecting a more traditional sound, it’s kind of weird to hear the song, too. Dugas, who joined the band in 2007 (taking over from Jessee Harvey), sings “Fast Paced World” as if she’s trying to be heard over a full gospel choir. Somewhere in the mix, Leonard Podolak’s banjo is picking along and Tania Elizabeth’s fiddle is keening away, but mostly what you hear is Dugas. Well, Dugas and her drum-playing brother, Christian, who joined the band shortly after Sarah.
Christian is the band’s first percussionist to play a full drum kit, giving the Duhks a bigger, somewhat more conventional sound. And it seems to be paying off. The Duhks earned a Grammy nomination (for “Best Country Vocal Performance”) for the Fast Paced World album and have been attracting ever-bigger audiences. But don’t let that fool you. This is still a band that jumps from gypsy jazz to bluegrass to Brazilian music to French folk. And it’s still a band that launched its own “Duhks Sustainability Project” to promote ecological touring practices. If this is a pop band, this is one of the weirdest, most talented, and interesting pop bands out there.
DUHKS, AcousticMusicSanDiego, Saturday, February 27, 7:30 p.m. 619-303-8176. $15, $20.