Saturday, January 24, 2015
One Longfellow Square, Portland, Maine
I was very excited for this night of back-to-back shows! I was sad when I first saw that Newfoundland’s elusive Hey Rosetta! was coming back to Portland on the 24th, because I already had plans to see UK’s London Grammar that night. Imagine my delight when I found out that Hey Rosetta! was playing early because One Longfellow Square was hosting a second show there later that night. I could go to both! Serendipity!
I’d seen Hey Rosetta! just a few months earlier for the first time ever opening for Stars at Port City Music Hall. I’ve been a fan for years, and they sounded as good live as I’d hoped. I drove to Portland in a bit of a snowstorm and snagged what I thought was a miraculous parking spot between the two venues and hurried to get a good seat at One Longfellow. I learned when I got to OLS that my great parking spot was probably available because a parking ban was going into effect in a few hours and I’d have to move before the London Grammar show. My concert friend Colin surprised me by coming to the show based on my recommendation on a rare Saturday night off for him. He told me later that it was the best money he’d spent so far in 2015.
Hey Rosetta! took the stage filled to the brim with people,equipment, instruments, and cords. They are seven mostly multi-instrumentalists, and only six of them fit on the actual stage amongst all three keyboards, six guitars, two bass guitars, a cello, French horn, trumpet, fiddle, a drum kit, glockenspiel, and all variety of other percussive tools. They opened with “Soft Offering (For The Oft Suffering)” and completely won over the audience in short time with their powerful, layered sound. It’s also the opening track off their newest album, Second Sight, which just released in the US this week and you can stream here. Hey Rosetta’s last album, Seeds, came out in 2011, so this album is much anticipated.
Tim Baker’s lead vocals are strong and clear. He can really sing, and he knows just where to project and with how much power to make the point. I could listen to him for hours and not tire of it. If there’s any one thing I wish Hey Rosetta! would do differently, it would be to interact more with the audience. Tim chatted a tiny bit to thank us for coming to the show, but I’d love to hear more about the band and about their songs sometime directly from them (Google searching is only so satisfying).
Since they really did have to get off stage with time to clear off their insane amount of gear so another band could set up for a show, Hey Rosetta! didn’t have time to dally. They invited us to get up and dance together to “Red Heart,” and it was then that I noticed how many great folks were in the crowd. People were really friendly, so I suspect a lot of them were Canadian. They really didn’t have time to leave the stage and wait for us to clap and come back for an encore, so Tim just introduced their last song “Bandages” as being about the long Newfoundland winter and being ready for spring. After Juno and the amount of snow shoveling I’ve done the last two days, I’m ready for spring now, too! Come back anytime, Hey Rosetta! You guys are such a pleasure to see live!