De Rosa / Adam Stafford – CCA, Glasgow – Saturday 17th December 2016
There’s been no more important album to this blog than De Rosa’s ‘Mend’. Even if it predated the blog by several months its influence on what I’ve done since is inestimable because it really opened up the Scottish live scene for me.
So if there was one “absolutely don’t miss it” show this year then it had to be this show to mark the album’s tenth anniversary with an enhanced line-up performing the album from start to finish.
The show sounded great from start to finish with the five piece band augmented on some of the songs on the second side with a violin and a double bass. This gave full body to the performance whilst emphasising the range of the record from the full-on alt-rock of ‘Camera’ to the gentler acoustic tunes such as ‘Hopes and Little Jokes’.
Of course, the ‘LP in order’ format pretty much precludes any surprises. But whilst the likes of ‘Cathkin Braes’ and ‘Evelyn’ remain staples of the live sets, lesser played songs such as ‘Headfirst’ and ‘Father’s Eyes’ felt fresh and emphasised the album’s quality.
As Adam Stafford said earlier from the stage, ‘Mend’ is a modern Scottish classic – if you’re not familiar with it, you really should be.
There as a surprise too in the encores with ‘Scorr Fank Juniper’ (one of the band’s finest melodies) getting a welcome airing for the first time since the 2013 comeback gig. No surprise though that the show finished with a crowd pleasing ‘Under The Stairs’ (Xmas Reverie).
I’m always a little wary of ‘nostalgia’ shows in case they become the norm. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.
De Rosa always seem to have had a strong sense of their own history so it was likely that they would want to mark the album’s anniversary. But equally the newer material deserves to return to the fore and, whilst it was certainly a treat to hear all these tunes again, I’m certain that we will hear a lot of ‘Weem’ – and beyond – in the New Year.
Support came from Adam Stafford who continues to move in the direction of less obvious songs. I’d heard the opening tune with all sorts of competing melodies before, but the next two pieces were new and very different in mood – the first featuring some grinding guitars and the second a more chilled, almost lilting melody.
With ‘Railway Trespassers’ and a completely guitar-less song bringing the set to a close it was compelling and, at times hypnotic, performance.