Last night me, my wife, and my mother-in-law went to go see Italian band Davide Van De Sfroos in concert.  This would be the second time seeing them for me and the third for my wife and mother-in-law.  He played a sold out show at a local theater called Teatro Smeraldo in Milan supporting his latest album Yanez, and he is also gaining a lot of popularity in Italy due to his recent appearance on Sanremo(an Italian televised music festival/competition).  In the end, it was one hell of a show and greatly look forward to seeing them again.  So, onto a little bit of background information on Mr. Van De Sfroos and his music and band.

One day Davide Bernasconi and his friends were describing the sound of their band to their local barber.  The barber replied “Ma è tutta una roba de sfroos …”, in English, “But it’s all stuff of de sfroos…”  In the dialect of his home region of Lago di Como(Lake Como, northern Italy, Lombardy region), “Sfroofs” means contraband, or better fraud.  They liked it, and so the band became know as De Sfroos.  And are now known as Davide Van De Sfroos.  Since 1992 they have recorded 8 studio albums and 2 live albums with the latest Yanez being released just under a month ago.

All their lyrics are sung in a dialect of the Como region of Italy and really give the music a homegrown, earthen feel.  The music itself is bluesy folk rock peppered with Italian flavors and beyond the standard guitar, bass, and drums, they incorporate violin magnificently played by Angapiemage Galiano Persico, accordians, piano, keyboards, trumpet, and various other instruments.  For me, what separates Davide Van De Sfroos from other Italian artists is, A: The dialect.  I do have a good knowledge and usage of the Italian language, but when sung in dialect, I maybe understand 15% of the words, but if he sang in any other way, I think that the passion which he puts into his singing wouldn’t be as strong.  B: There’s a focus on the band.  Unlike many other Italian singers, his band really supports him and without them(which have been the same guys since day one), the fun of his music would be lost.  When you watch them live, you really see the chemistry between the band and how well they compliment each other.  C: Diversity.  As with any band in any genre of music, if you keep churning out the same thing over and over again, people get bored.  Davide Van De Sfroos has a wide array of songs ranging from soulful folk ballads to songs with Native American styling to songs that capture the feel of Carnivale.  If I had to make an analogy of De Sfroos I would say Davide Van De Sfroos is to Italy is to what Bruce Springsteen is to New Jersey(sound of the music speaking).  Honestly, I think if he were to bring his music internationally, it would be met with great success.

So, onto the concert.  Teatro Smeraldo is a theater that is usually used for plays, so, unlike many rock shows, there were seats, which was nice.  I got to sit down and really pay attention to the music and absorb it.  It was nice for a change.  Throughout the show Davide would stop in between each song to tell a story and give an explanation to the meaning of the songs for those that didn’t understand the Como dialect.  That was real nice since my level of Italian isn’t strong enough yet to delve into a dialect of it having a bit of explanation was great, and he told some pretty funny stories.  And since the show was at a theater there was a great simple stage setup and amazing sound.  Everything was put together great and beyond the band, the light guy did an amazing and very organized job.

Some of the standout songs that got to me were the opener(I wish I could remember the name of that song, it was a killer song with a tribal/folk sound that really set the mood for the rest of the show).  His song “New Orleans” was deep and heartbreaking, there was “Dove Non Basta Il Mare“(“Where the Sea isn’t Enough”) which was a real interesting song because all the different members of the band sang a part in an Italian dialect or another language.  “Il Reduce“(“The Veteran”) was gorgeous and “Setembra“(“September”) was a fun, quirky song.  “Il Camionista Ghost Rider“(The Ghost Rider Trucker”) was a great song about their inspirations and the title track of the new album “Yanez” was played passionately and skilfully.  Unfortunately, they didn’t play my 2 favorite songs(“Il Duello” and “Hoka Hey“), it’s forgiven because this tour was in full support of the new album, there’s always next time.

All in all, it was an amazing concert and a welcomed change of pace for my metalhead ass.  If you ever happen to be in Italy and Davide Van De Sfroos happens to be playing in the area you’re staying, check them out, it’s always one hell of a fun show.  And for those that don’t understand Italian, still give them a good listen, you really don’t have to understand what’s being said to feel the passion in the music(actually, a lot of Italians don’t understand the dialect he sings in, lol) and the dialect really adds a lot of personality to the already charismatic music.

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