Any band that offers Simon & Garfunkel —and in particular Homeward Bound —at a sweaty-macho heavy rock show earns our unswerving respect! Some don’t know the song was written (by Paul Simon) about a return trip he was lokking forward to making to England (in 1964) and perhaps that song-fact inspired Belfast friends Mollie McGinn and Orlaith Forsythe of DEA MATRONA (literally, mother goddess) to include the number in their sizzling setlist at the iconic London music venue THE GARAGE in support of the KRIS BARRAS BAND on 25th February 2023.
On stage, the noteworthy neat trick that the pair pull-off is that Orlaith (left of stage as we looked at it) and Mollie (right of stage) swapped bass guitar then electric guitar in an almost inconspicuous (and certainly symbiotic) movement. And, if you’re enough of an instrument-head you’ll have noticed they use Epiphones ‘n’ Squires, which, for rock musicians these days, is unpredictable enough to be described idiosyncratic.
If you weren’t there and you’d appreciate an idea of the visuals then we conjure up for you a vision of The Corrs, circa ‘97, but this twenty-first century version of the Corrs has been dragged through grease, sprinkled with crunched gravestones, and then fed smoked bourbon, before being dressed in leopard-skins and pushed into bobbinets for stage time.
But the girls are not just full of gimmickery and comeliness (though the aesthetics are obvious,) we learned that truth right- off with a deceptively loud and vitriolically vehement version of ‘Oh Well’ (Fleetwood Mac.) Right away, the London audience knew they were in good hands: the Dea Matrona rendition was uncompromising, mettlesome, and highly spirited.
The jumpy Shania Twainish ‘Stamp on It’ was a bit bass-heavy if we’re honest, but because it was a reliable head-banger, it went down well. And there was a power-slide groove on ‘Get My Mind Off’ and a burpy-bloopy rhythm that went all the way through the piece so the number must have pleased the blues appreciators in the audience.
But the stand-out song from these throwback boogie-blues grind-daughters was ‘Make You My Star.’ It was as groovy as 70s T.Rex, as squoggy as something might have crept out of a Louisiana swamp, and as chiselling as anything offered by ZZ Top.
So, don’t think of these musicians as some kind of glammy B52’s woo-woo, but (instead) think of the melodic timing and impudent shine of the Runaways when you describe Mollie and Orlaith! Yes, Dea Matrona are a thoroughly ravishing act!
File alongside Joan Jett, Suzi Quattro
Words and Pictures: @neilmach 2023 ©