Friday, November 8, 2014
Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine
I stumbled upon Canada’s Hey Rosetta! many years ago online and love their layered, full sound and lead singer’s Tim Baker’s smooth voice. I’d been keeping an eye on their tour schedule for what felt like forever, and was SO excited to see they were finally coming to Maine to open for Montreal’s Stars. This was the first night of their tour together. I got to Port City Music Hall early to make sure I had a good spot up front, and I met Jen there, who’d driven down from New Brunswick just for the show. It was great to watch the show with another fan, and there were plenty of Hey Rosetta! fans and friendly Canadians in the crowd. My friends Bartlett and Ellie showed up right before the show, too. I’d suggested to Bartlett that he catch Hey Rosetta’s set at Bonnaroo when they were both there in 2012 and he did and was hooked. Hey Rosetta! sounded great live. They are a seven-piece indie band and create a rich sound with the usual four-piece instruments, but also with the addition of a string section, horns, and tight harmonies. I was probably most excited to hear “Yer Spring” and “Young Glass,” both from their 2011 album, Seeds. Tim didn’t say a whole lot to the crowd (which I would have liked), but did tell us that he’d just recovered from being really sick, so I’ll give him a pass. Hey Rosetta! played eight beautiful songs and left the stage—many of us wanting more. I hope they’ll come back and headline a show sometime so we can dig in a bit more. You can stream their newest album, Second Sight, here. I hope you’ll give them a listen.
I ended up literally front and center touching the stage (my favorite) for Stars, and they were awesome from the first second they took the stage. I’d been streaming their October release, No One is Lost, a lot in the weeks before the show, and really enjoyed their pop sound. Torquil Campbell took us all in immediately as he effortlessly engaged the crowd. He sang above me (and I had to duck out of his way) as he leaned into the eager, bopping crowd. Amy Millan also shone brightly on stage, with her sharp dance moves and comfortable banter. They have the kind of stage presence you earn after more than a decade together, and it shows that they care about the caliber of show they put on and don’t take it for granted. Check out the video for their newest single “From The Night” to get a taste of their style. Even though I was impressed, I hadn’t packed my earplugs, and Stars was L-O-U-D. Bartlett texted me to say they’d left because the sound was so overwhelming, and even though I decided to ditch my front row spot for a place in the very back of the room, I still felt overtaken by the sound in a way that pushed me out the doors early, too. I’ll definitely pack some earplugs and stay the whole show next time (and maybe the guys in the sound booth can turn it down a bit, too?).
So glad to have finally seen Hey Rosetta! live. I hope they’ll come back again soon and play twice as long.