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De Rosa

Glasgow Glad Cafe (Saturday January 20th)

By • Jan 30th, 2018 • Category: gig reviews

De Rosa, straight outta Bellshill, are one of Scotland’s great unsung musical combos, active since around 2001 and responsible for three storming albums, in between line-up changes and at least one hiatus.

De Rosa

Photo: Mike Melville

To see them up close and personal in a small venue with an excellent soundmix is a rare treat indeed. They have shed some members over the years and are currently a three piece – Martin John Henry on guitar/vocals, James Woodside on bass and Neil Woodside on drums. Always understated but heartfelt, the songs ruminate on the tricky aspects of personal lives, along with a fair dose of Lanarkshire geographic references.

The tracks come from all three albums plus a superb rendition of their Michael Faber collaboration “Steam Comes off Our House” (from the much-loved Chemical Underground ‘Ballads of the Book’ compilation) and there are a couple of new ones as well. ‘Mystery Walk’ starts things off and is a bit more keyboard-driven, while “Grande” is instrumental and a bit proggy. There is one (‘The Sea Cup’) from most recent album ‘Weem’ but the bulk of the set is from ‘Prevention’ with a couple from ‘Mend’ as well. The guitar playing ranges from sensitive to brutal, the basslines are nimble when required and the drums are restrained when needed and battered when needed. And the vocals – right on the mark.

Oldies like ‘Tinto’ and ‘Father’s Eyes’ sound epic, real modern classics – explorations of the Scottish psyche, and then some.

There is some onstage “banter” – MJH complaining about the effort of actually playing (“that’s why we only do one gig a year”) and explaining that they can’t be arsed with the pretence of going off stage and back on again for the encore, a rousing rendition of ‘Camera’. So they missed out a couple of classics (‘Cathkin Braes’ for example, and ‘Love Economy’, but who is complaining…) but what a warm blast of rock action we got in this wonderful wee venue, hopefully De Rosa will be spurred into further activity – in early 2018 they are better then ever!

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