The Dualers, Fairfield Halls, Croydon <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

To be known as the first buskers to enter the charts is no small achievement, and that is what makes The Dualers such a charming act. The brothers Si and Tyber have been flogging ska on the streets of Croydon's North End for 10 years, but ever since their single "Kiss on My Lips" reached No 21 without promotion or a label, they've become an A&R man's dream. Signed to Gut, these local superstars are inching towards fame again, and tonight they get off to a flying start.

Given a heroes' welcome by their followers, the bros - dressed in dashing Sixties-inspired suits - are a harmonising, hip-gyrating pair, fuelled by their watertight seven-piece backing band.

Si plays the animated funkster, using any moment to spin around silly or shuffle across the stage, harmonica and guitar in tow. Tyber is laid-back and sings a rather sexy tenor. While he offers Stranger Cole's "Rough and Tough", a gaggle of girls squeal as they shimmy in the corner.

There are plenty more covers. Slotted between a few original numbers, Sam Cooke's "Cupid", Bob Marley's "Stir It Up", and the Blues Busters' "Soon You'll Be Gone" are all reworked to near perfection. Oddly, Si chooses Coldplay's "Fix You" as his opportunity to flaunt his stunning vocals, but given the ska treatment, it works.

Next is the forthcoming single, "Truly, Madly, Deeply" - not the Darren Hayes tear-jerker, but the song for the Lock, Stock flick. The duo plug the single so shamelessly, every man, woman and child is guaranteed to remember that "it's only £2.99!". But they are a worthy cause. "You're watching two little boys who dreamt we'd play a venue like this," Si gushes, before later announcing, "I can't believe we're still not standing outside of M&S."

Sadly, the spontaneity of performing on the high street is lost in a venue of this proportion and formality, and it doesn't take long for their set to become slightly monotonous. After an hour, it's easy to get tired doing "the monkey" with every crashing upbeat these guys shake their legs to.

"Kiss on My Lips" is the welcome finale, and The Dualers' family joins them on stage for a proud moment that won't be their last.

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