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Whippet Out: The Debris Rose – McChuills, Glasgow

No mean town…no mean city? Not when Howlin’ Whippet is out for vengeance. And beer.

I’ve always had a soft spot for musicians who favour original, vintage instruments. There’s a strange homely feel watching someone battering seven shades out of an original Fender Tele and nothing sounds better than a Twin Reverb amp.

The Debris Rose, however, take it to a whole new level. They eschew the substantial PA system at McChuills, substituting it for a couple of road weary Vox speaker columns as well as a wrecked Selmer bass amp and 70’s-style Shure mics on swan-neck stands. There’s probably Lee Mavers-
favouring 60’s dust on the valves and all the better for it.

Lead singer and guitar man is Davie Ritchie, something of a legend around these parts. Known as the father of Glasgow R&B he’s fought his own health battles of late and it’s good to see him playing again. That’s proper R&B incidentally, not the sugar-coated, auto-tuned chart bothering variety.

As leader of The Cobramatics (latterly The Cobras), Davie has seen it and done it. Several times.

Tonight he leads his troops through a swaggering set of sweaty garage blues. Seated with guitar in lap, he still projects a menacing energy. The Debris Rose have fluidity about their dirty blues. Bo Diddley riffs and Detroit sleaze ooze through the set.

The Debris Rose don’t play three chords when two are adequate. Finding the groove and locking in gives Ritchie the space his rich, sonorous tones deserve.

Pulling shards of shrapnel from his guitar, he makes it look effortless. The band perspire amongst McChuill’s humid environs and the crowd of believers lap it up.

Adding vocal harmonies to You’re Going Through My Head, bassman Shug Jamieson slides thuggish runs atop Lesley McLaren’s solid drums. Mick McKeown adds vibrato-tinged guitar flourishes dovetailing with Ritchie’s neat telecaster bursts.

A cover of CCR’s Keep On Chooglin’ see’s the band swerve off into a psychedelia-tinged wig-out. Slowing the tempo down with Just For You sees McKeown’s guitar head off into mind-melt territory.

Glasgow has a noble tradition of garage, scuzzy rockers. The Primevals, Beat Poets, Kissing Bandits, James King et al. Debris Rose can join the ranks anytime.

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