As the weekend of love approaches and the rain pours down outside, Captain’s Rest opens its doors for a warm embrace. The upstairs bar may be full of rowdy rugby fans, but downstairs there is the red glow of passion, a venue decked out with romance in preparation for four gorgeous acoustic acts. Playing this evening are Black and White Boy, Steven Kemp, Chris Rodgers and Debbie Kate – a lineup guaranteed to make you fall in love this Valentine’s.
Up first is Stirling-based trio Black and White Boy, a self-confessed depressing ensemble. Not to dampen our evening of romance however, Black and White Boy lace their tracks with musical beauty: smooth vocals, melodic fiddle and catchy melodies all make for a lovely start to Roses Et Violins.
Up next is Steven Kemp, showing off a somewhat super group formation from the Scottish unsigned music scene. Recruiting Aerial’s Up violinist Cat Calton, Must Be Something’s bassist Steven Dowd and Friends in America’s drummer Liam Chapman, Steven Kemp’s set is more a raunchy affair than a heart-warming pleasure. Steven’s voice is divine, accompanied with a cheeky and charismatic touch of personality, and another great achievement for Roses Et Violins.
Hercules Mandarin’s Chris Rodger takes the spotlight next for a solo performance. Tonight is an all acoustic show, but Chris is the only artist to play without any kind of musical accompaniment, making his set all the more intimate for it. Chris charmingly proclaims all his effort has gone into producing a half hour set of love songs to suit our theme tonight: even the one about the lonely man and the budgie circles around love, right Chris? The audience crouch around the stage, lovingly gathered close to the quiet and beautiful music, and help to create undoubtedly the highlight set of the night.
Headlining Roses Et Violins is Debbie Kate, a cheeky chirpy Irish lady with the right heart for a good song. As the vocalist of Aerials Up, Debbie Kate is no stranger to the stage and appears confident and elegant in her set. Aerials Up violinist (and certainly the best violinist in Scotland!) accompanies Debbie for a couple tracks, with their friendship and closeness bouncing and entwining throughout each song. Debbie Kate proves that romance is not always doom and depressing, but can also make for a happy and bubbly performance.
Roses et Violins promoters Emma and Stephen set out to create the feeling of love and romance with their acoustic show. Their passionate insight certainly seemed to rub off on everyone involved, sparking beauty in music and in stage presence. Roses Et Violins will return next month with another stunning line up: if you feel like it’s time to fall in love, please add 8th March to your calender.