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Andrea Triscornia (at the Rose & Crown)

A covers set full of variety, performed in a powerful and intense way by Andrea Triscornia, at the pub reminiscent of an older era, the Rose & Crown on Edinburgh's cobblestoned street, Rose Street.



"Then, as Andrea sang on, his voice became deeper, more intense. Darker, more melancholic, too, with gravelly vibes that recalled the fact that Andrea works on grunge music for himself. His voice, as it was darker and more melancholic, especially suited his rendition of 'Wicked Game' by Chris Isaac, as he sang, with depth and intensity, 'the world was on fire and no one could save me but you.'"

On Friday, 18 February, 2022, I got out of an Uber and turned onto Rose Street. Guarded against the rain by the umbrella that I held, I went down the pedestrian street in a bit of a rush, passing quickly upon the wet, shining cobblestones by the charming little pubs along the way to the classic pub, The Rose & Crown, where I would be seeing Andrea Triscornia play.

I was running late, to review his show, so I did not have the time, as I usually might, to look around me at the charming street in the centre of Edinburgh, where, at night, one feels like they have gone back in time, with the windows of the mostly-old-fashioned pubs on either side all fogged up, and the lights around are dim, and the street is emptied of the usual traffic of the city, taken up only by the people when they reemerge from the pubs and out back onto the cobblestones. The atmosphere resembling a scene belonging more to a Sherlock Holmes story or to the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, than to the modern day.

(It’s worth noting, by the way, that both these authors have connections to Edinburgh, which turns into even more of a setting for a gothic fairytale to take place in when the haar, a thick fog from the sea, takes over. But I digress.)


If I could have, that night, I would have used the power of time travel to take a little detour back in time, maybe have some drinks with locals back in the day when Deacon Brody (the inspiration for the Jekyll/Hyde character, by the way) was still around and up for a party. But then, I would have used time travel to return back to the present day in 2022, to arrive about 10 minutes earlier than I actually had.


For I arrived into the Rose & Crown in a flustered rush. I found a table, fortunately, right in front of where Andrea was playing Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” waved a small hello, put down my things to reserve the perfect seat for taking in his music. Then I rushed to the bar, ordered a large glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and returned to sit down.


I asked Andrea, when he paused during his set, how many songs I had missed. Just three or so. Not too bad. I pulled out my notebook. I pulled out my pen. And I began to take notes as I listened to his music.

*


Andrea’s show wasn’t your usual pub covers show. Sure, people were drinking and chatting as he played, but the music was original—he put his own spin on it. The sound of his guitar was clean and bright, and his voice, by contrast, was strong, with a darker, yet gentle, tone to it.


The songs he played, they included a great variety. After the Simon & Garfunkel tune, he played a sailor song. This went along well with the environment of the Rose & Crown pub itself, with was old-fashioned. With its exterior all grand and painted black, with its name in gold lettering, and its interior, with its long wooden bar, wooden tables and chairs to match, low lighting, accents of dark green, and the green moulded ceiling—and, of course, the large windows that look out onto the cobblestoned street, which you can look through to see passersby.

As Andrea continued to play folky tunes, the Rose & Crown felt like an old pub that’s been there forever. Where locals might go for a pint, to catch up like they have been every weekend for the entirety of their lives, generation after generation. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that, according to the Edinburgh Pubs blog, this used to be “almost [an] old man pub.”

But Andrea did not only stick to older tunes. He went on to play much more, including “Something Like Olivia” by John Mayer, a more contemporary tune, and then some classics from a variety of time periods: Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” Eric Clapton’s version of “Layla,” and the classic love song, “Fly Me To The Moon.” Then, back to John Mayer with “Can’t Get Stoned.”

Then the music changed again, as Andrea went on to play nineties tunes, including a Hootie & the Blowfish song, really bringing me back!

Then, as Andrea sang on, his voice became deeper, more intense. Darker, more melancholic, too, with gravelly vibes that recalled the fact that Andrea works on grunge music for himself. His voice, as it was darker and more melancholic, especially suited his rendition of “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaac, as he sang, with depth and intensity, “the world was on fire and no one could save me but you.”

After this late eighties tune, Andrea went on to play many songs from the nineties, including the throwback, “Time Of Your Life” by Green Day. As he performed many of these songs, he played in a very nineties rock kind of style, his voice reminding me a bit of Chad Kroeger’s of Nickelback, with its power and gritty sound. (I promise that this is a good thing! I know that some people are not huge fans of Nickelback, but this was the only example I could come with as I’m not super-familiar with rock singers from that time—and there may be others that he sounds like, too, but this is just an attempt to illustrate Andrea’s voice as best I can, when he’s being rocky and making it intense and strong.)

During this first half, even though he played these nineties tunes, Andrea still mixed things up—for example, when he played “Mrs. Robinson,” returning to Simon & Garfunkel.

Halfway through the night of music, there was a break, and when Andrea returned to stage, he played a combination of nineties songs and crowd-pleasing tunes. There was a great amount of variety this time around, too.

As he played “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by the Eagles, the vibe of the music was a little more country. As he performed this song, his guitar skills shone, as he played in a cool way, having fun as he focused on the rhythm that energised the song.

Then, he went back to the nineties, playing the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge,” and then he played some more tunes from different times—Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It?,” Elton John’s, “Your Song,” Disturbed’s version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence.”

Somewhere during this second half of his show, after I’d asked him during the break, Andrea also let me get on stage while I sang some songs and he played guitar. I got them from a list of songs he showed me, and the songs I sang had some variety, too: Amy Winehouse’s version of “Valerie,” the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” and Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.”


By the end of the show, Andrea really got into songs people in the pub could sing along to. “I Want to Break Free” by Queen, “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival…and then, after everyone chanted the usual, “One more tune! One more tune! One more tune!” he played Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me).”

*


When I spoke with Andrea, during the break between his sets, I asked him some questions regarding his set and more. This interview began with me finding out that this set he played at the Rose & Crown was one that used to occur once a week—that is, until the COVID-19 Pandemic began. Now that he was playing the set at the Rose & Crown again, he wasn’t doing it as regularly anymore.


As for his musical influences, when I asked him about them, Andrea answered, “A lot of grunge and a lot of pop…like, old pop. Sort of like Toto and Elton John…mainly old rock and blues.”


Well, the grunge influence, it was certainly apparent to me. This could be experienced, I felt, especially in his voice, which would become low and intense, with these features of it heightening as the show went on.


As for the answer to the question, “What does Friday mean to you?”—the answer of which I attempt to answer at the end of each of my blog posts for FridayImInLove—Andrea had this to say:

“Friday. Ooh. That’s a weird question. I don’t know, it’s the start of the weekend. It can be fun. It can be stressful. But mostly fun.”


Want to find Andrea Triscornia online? Check out his music Facebook page here and his music Instagram account here. As for the Rose & Crown, if you’re interested in going there for your drink of choice or music (or both, at once!), you can check out their Facebook page here.

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