The pitfall of their live performance isn't their music. Last night
they sounded fantastic. The songs translate well from recording to
stage (it's amazing how that can happen when you play instruments and
not computers) and their vocals were lovely. They were just too eager,
too friendly and too inclined to make the performance interactive.
Things like sing-alongs and dance-alongs began innocently and sweetly
enough, but they needed a cap on how much audience participation
occurred. The first instance began with banter about a "2009 dance
craze" that started in Portland, OR, last night but that they wanted to
bring to San Francisco. The dance enacts the lyrics in the song "Bow to
the Middle." After teaching the dance from the stage, Crisp got on the
floor to dance with the very receptive audience. Following the dance
were several opportunities for the crowd to sing along on the "wah
oohs" and catchy choruses. This participation was heavily encouraged by
Howard. It was all a little too precious.
The set list included
a variety of songs drawing from all of their albums. They played "Cape
Fear," "Cemetery Lawns," "Hold Hands and Fight," "Leaves do Fall," "Bow
to the Middle," "Nice Fox," and others. The eclectic crowd of hip moms,
last year's hipsters (complete with trucker hats, John Deere shirts,
colored denim and a Kanye West shirt), reformed punks and infrequent
show-goers enjoyed every moment of audience-friendly interaction.
Couples cozied up in the seats along the walls with beers in hand
bopping their heads while others rocked out on the floor. The Rosebuds
just know how to bring their Southern hospitality from coast to coast.
Hopefully next time they'll be a little less indulgent.
Personal Bias: I'm a city girl. Maybe I just like my musicians a little less cutesy and my audiences a lot more pretentious.
Random Detail: The Rosebuds had puffy painted shirts that were for sale at the show.
By the Way: The band heads down to LA tonight if you need to see them once more before they leave California.