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Live Review and Photos: The Rosebuds and Other Lives, July 1, 2011, The Satellite – Los Angeles, CA



All Photos by Philip Cosores

The Rosebuds are on tour supporting their newest album, Loud Planes Fly Low, their first since the divorce of the two members Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp. The record itself documented the feelings of the breakup, but the musicianship on it showed that The Rosebuds are still just as much a band as they’ve ever been, even if they’re no longer a couple. On tour, the two take this even further, showing that their relationship is still the core of The Rosebuds, and the relationships they have with others – their touring drummer and violinist Logan Matheny and Daniel Hart, the support band Other Lives, and of course the crowd – are what makes them a great live act.

Opening act Other Lives are a band about which there was an audible buzz in the audience, with the room getting crowded well before they took to the stage. Other Lives took the opportunity to air songs from their new album, Tamer Animals. And, even though they were the support band, it seemed as though the majority of the crowd were already more than familiar with their music, cheering for the start of each favourite, and cheering even louder at the emphatic conclusions. Other Lives’ performance revolved around their bearded, long-haired singer Jesse Tabish, who stood in the centre of the stage, with an acoustic guitar slung on his back, looking every bit a charming rogue as he sung his songs.

His four band mates, who switched instruments regularly – or played two simultaneously – created the rich music which wove together with Tabish’s words, taking his tales to another musical plane. Jenny Hsu’s rich cello stayed more or less constant in the mix, but Josh Onstott and Jonathon Mooney played piano, organ, synthesizer, bass, trumpet, guitar (sometimes with bows (both of them at once!)) and when all that wasn’t enough, they invited Ivan Howard of The Rosebuds on stage. The crowd lapped it all up and gave them the reception of a homecoming headline band, striving to get an encore, but having no luck. They were, after all, just the support.

The adoration for Other Lives persisted into The Rosebuds’ set, where Ivan Howard rhetorically asked “Are Other Lives the best band around or what!?” and Kelly Crisp implored the audience to buy Other Lives’ record if they didn’t already have it. The show, however, was certainly The Rosebuds’. Augmented to a four piece for the live setting, Crisp took centre stage, despite Howard having the majority of the vocals. They tore through a set that consisted mainly of songs from newest album Loud Planes Fly Low.

Opener “Go Ahead” popped with its swaggering chorus, and slower jams “Limitless Arms” and “Second Bird of Paradise”’s sultriness matched the mood of the dim room, but it was when The Rosebuds straight-up rocked that they were at their best. The highlights were old favourites “Boxcar” and “Leaves Do Fall” (for which they were joined by Jesse Tabish). The Crisp-led “Come Visit Me” lost some of the pep from its recorded counterpart and became more of a straightforward rock song to fall in line with the rest of the set. Throughout the night the band looked comfortable and in a fun zone. Crisp could be seen singing along to all the lines, not just the ones where she had to sing back up, and the band were all smiles when talking between songs.

The main set closed with the urgent single “Woods,” which saw Howard entirely letting loose with his vocals in the chorus and the guitar seeming more vitriolic than at any other point in the evening. The Rosebuds left promptly, but were back onstage almost as quickly for their encore. Their stunning performance of slow-builder “Cover Ears” showed that this album track could become a live favourite for years to come for The Rosebuds, with all four seemingly at their most focused of the evening. After such a serious number the band finished in much more light hearted fashion. Going unplugged and coming right to the edge of the stage, they played “Nice Fox” from 2008’s Life Like. Despite the subject itself being quite sad- the unfair death of a nice fox that used to live in Howard and Crisp’s garden – the song was turned into a happy and rousing sing along, perhaps more as a celebration of the fox’s life.

The Rosebuds may be one of the smaller names on indie giants Merge, but in the live setting they show that they can be just as accomplished and confident as any of their peers when it comes to performing. And with the excellent encore these North Carolinians showed that they’re not just natural performers – they’re entertainers too.


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