The Exchange Twickenham: Duran Duran star returns to hometown for Uncovered gig

When I met Dom Brown last week, I found myself wondering: do artists love their craft because they’re made for it, or are they made for it because they love it? For some, discovering a passion is a gradual awakening, for others, it’s a moment of recognition.

Brown, who has been the lead guitarist of the iconic English rock band Duran Duran since 2004, returns to his hometown of Twickenham this Friday to play The Exchange. The venue will welcome Brown alongside his band Uncovered — The Electric Rock Experience.   

Duran Duran has had a hugely successful year, from playing to a crowd of 70,000 as the headline act of the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park, to being inducted into the coveted Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in November. The band also counts playing at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the opening of the Commonwealth Games, and the New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square as part of its 2022 highlight reel.  

Uncovered is set to perform at the Twickenham-based community theatre on Friday 20 January at 8 pm. They are a virtuoso group of musicians with an impressive showreel. Members have played alongside the likes of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Sting, Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow, The Magpie Salute, Suzi Quatro, and Roger Daltrey.

Covering artists from Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix to David Bowie, Prince, and Aretha Franklin, Uncovered allows you to see all your favourite bands on one stage on the same night.

The group began performing together over lockdown. In 2021, they live-streamed their first four sets from Brown’s own recording studio, before going on to become a regular act at The Bedford in Balham, following in the footsteps of some of Britain’s best-loved music and comedy superstars, including Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, and Joe Lycett. Uncovered always packs The Bedford and has sold out the 606 Club in Chelsea as well as The Ealing Club.

Faithful to the original music, Uncovered aims to authentically capture the essence of each song while creating space for the spontaneity of live performance.

MASTERFUL MUSOS: Unconvered–The Electric Rock Experience features an impressive line-up of expert instrumentalists (Credit: Elliott Deseure)

Speaking to me from his London studio, Brown tells me the story of when he first got the bug for music. He remembers a PE teacher who would play rock and roll music to his class during warmups. On hearing Welcome To The Machine by Pink Floyd, he said: “I had an experience of absolute transcendence. I thought: I have to be involved in whatever that is.”

With a concert-pianist grandmother, singer-songwriter sister, and blues-singer father, Brown also has a collection of gifted family members to thank for his love of music. Brown and his friends would regularly go to the Mulberry Tree pub in Twickenham where they would watch artists such as Papa George. He and his father began playing there together not long after, drawing on their combined talents to form a band that they named Brown Book.  

Before this, while attending Richmond and Twickenham college, Brown started his first-ever band with his friend Matt McCoy, the son of John McCoy, bass player of the rock band Gillan. The group, which was called Nexus, played its debut performance at The Turk’s Head in St Margaret’s.

Matt was later replaced by another Twickenham resident, Robert McNamara, who lived on a boat on Eel Pie Island. In the days before he had ever set foot in a tour bus or private jet, Dom has early memories of finding inventive ways to share his music. “We carried our own equipment to the gig – these great big four-by-twelve Marshal cabinets on a bus, I don’t know why someone didn’t give us a lift.” 

He remembers regularly hiring out the old St Mary’s Church Hall in Twickenham and promoting their own shows. Brown said: “We’d get somebody to make posters for us and then go around all around Twickenham with a bucket and paste and post them up wherever we could.”

A lot has changed since then, but it was these humble beginnings that lit the flame: “From that first show, I really did get the buzz and I knew I had to make music my life’s work,” he said.

After leaving the hometown gigs behind for a little while, Brown reflects on the vulnerability of returning to a more personal setting: “When you know the people, and you can see them all, it’s a bit more nerve-wracking because they know all your little quirks and idiosyncrasies.

“In some ways, it’s easier to get on a big stage and be lost in that sea of people.”

However, he explains that it’s a joy to be returning to the place where it all began alongside some new faces.  

“If it’s a band that I love, like Uncovered, it’s just as special to be playing to a small audience that loves it, as it is playing to 70,000 people”

Book your tickets here to see Uncovered—The Electric Rock Experience at The Exchange: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/stmarysuni/t-eajyrdg 

Featured image credit: Elliott Deseure

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