by Madeleine Cummings
Newfoundland rock band Hey Rosetta! never fails to put on an amazing show, but last night, as front-man Tim Baker sang “Cause I get so tired” at the top of his lungs, we almost believed him. The band has toured relentlessly this fall, playing over 50 gigs in three countries, but last night in Montreal was the last show. And what a show it was.
As the band members set up on stage, a line snaked out the door of Le Belmont, and eager fans formed a dense, excited crowd. True to form, the audience was rowdy, spoiling parts of the softer “We Made A Pact,” but their excitement was certainly well-founded. Hey Rosetta! played tracks off their 2008 Polaris Prize nominated Into Your Lungs, but also introduced the audience to a bunch of brand new songs. The new material was sharp and upbeat sounding and it comes from a new album, which, according to Tim, will be released very soon.
Because they play with so much passion, Hey Rosetta! demands more than a simple head-nod from each audience member. Bodies start moving subconsciously as each song builds, arms wave and clap, beer spills, girls swoon – their view of Tim Baker perpetually blocked by tall, hat-wearing men… The audience in Montreal was completely adoring and “into it,” song after song after song.
Plan Your Escape’s Lions For Scottie was a big hit, though arguably the best song of the night was “There’s An Arc,” which had the crowd going completely wild with its almost stop-and-start chorus. (Check out this video of the same song that was shot in one awesome acoustic take: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYJiT_F2B4c) The band finished with “New Goodbye,” an amazing song which, on the CD, grows from soft finger-picking to full out-distortion by the end. Live, the song had a tamer but no-less-epic ending. The crowd sang along enthusiastically, though as usual failed in mid-song hand-clapping.
Unfortunately, the show had to end eventually. Aware of their time constraints, band members quickly packed up their gear, even as fans chanted Hey-Ros-etta! over and over again, hockey style. Who could surpass such an act? Certainly not Hot Hot Heat, whose songs seemed boring and methodical compared to Hey Rosetta’s beautiful layered harmonies.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for a new album from Hey Rosetta! In the mean time, give their Red Songs EP a spin, and try to re-live some of the excitement they shared with audiences all across North America this fall.