Rosco Levee review - Gig 30th Sept 2016
A recent review from an online music blog called Plunger Music which has a review from Moray Stuart on the gig.
Now read on......
Cream of the scene justify Plunger’s Blind Faith…
…[that’s enough supergroup references. Ed]
Plunger might be overexcited, but if you take Rosco Levee and Mike Ross (two of the best guitarist/singer/writer’s around) and back them up with a jazz-soul-trained bassist and a drummer who’s a regular in Dudley Ross’s Blues Bandits (in Ricky Kinrade and Rick Kent respectively) it’s not unreasonable to don the Dirty Mac, and head off to Billericay in expectation of a Domino effect.
Only recently formed, the band are still amassing material of their own so, citing George Harrison’s Concert For Bangladesh as precedent, the set was composed of a mix of Rosco and Mike’s own numbers as well as new tunes, and despite only one in-the-room rehearsal (two days before the show!) it all sounded pretty fucking awesome.
The swaggering lush slide of Goldrush kicked things off at a stately majestic pace, before Old Bessie’s barrelling romp allowed Rosco and Mike to engage in a touch of call-and-response, first in vocals and then on guitar, Mike’s skittering slide break answered by Rosco’s own brassy blaring riposte. The two-guitar-voices featured too on the (as yet unrecorded) Allmans-cover-Elmore-James-style Mean Woman Blues, Rosco’s gutsy monster distortion preceding Mike’s trenchant wah-outing.
Mike’s Aretha-borrowed chugging, down-and-dirty I Love You was followed by a slow, dreamy Lazy, a peyote-laced slice of Parsons-meets-Lennon country and the hard-edged Hooker-boogie of Harpo, driven by Mike’s belligerent vocal and Rosco’s Duane-on-steroids slide.
The first of the new material was Write It In The Sky: alternating trippy Beatlesy descending progression, pulsing beat and anthemic chorus, the clever slow/fast time-shifts belying their recent formation, topped with a skyscraping, effect-drenched, siren solo. Keeping up the hallucinatory vibe, Spinning In The Sand opened with Dead / Byrds jangly noodling over lysergic-shuffle drums and liquid Bruceish bass. Some Creamy heavy riffing led to Mike’s spacey Marc Ford-style discursive solo and an interstellar overdrive effect-pedal wig-out from Rosco.
Yeah, Yeah (a prospective first single “or YouTube download or whatever the kids do these days”) was a boisterous blues-inflected Lennonesque stomp with Rosco’s snarling scattergun vocal, excellent 70s style hook and an air-punching, shout-along chorus, while the “Motown…ish” urgent, snare-led, soully bop of Glimmer Of Hope included some sweet snatches of harmony guitar, an unexpectedly jazzy-acid midbreak and falsetto harmony vocals from Mike and Rosco.
A return to Rosco’s older material closed the set with the portentous Doors-meets-Velvets lope of Woman (I Told You So), that saw Mike bouncing manically around the stage and Rosco’s gritty full-on scream back at its best. As it was a blues club appropriate encores saw a cover of the staple How Blue Can You Get (where Rosco did indeed show the first and only signs of ring-rustiness!) and Breaking Down (“the Rolling Stones version, as there are four of us up here!”) with a sublime southern-fried break from Mike and cracking closing slide from Rosco.
Despite their numerous apologies and jokes about being a bit rough around the edges this really was a very impressive debut. With more stage-time, more new songs (and the promise of an album) this is going to be THE new band for 2017. All they’ll need then is a band name…
Pic thanks to Graham Chapman.