Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Monday, February 21, 2005

Rogue Wave

I caught up on some well-needed rest by only going to one show this weekend. And lucky for me, I chose the right one to attend.

Last summer, I saw Rogue Wave open for Calexico and The Shins at First Avenue. I didn’t feel like I gave them a fair chance, though. Since I was mainly concerned about seeing The Shins, I arrived at the show fashionably late. Thus, I only caught the last three songs of Rogue Wave’s set. Furthermore, everything I experienced that night (including The Shins) was eclipsed by Calexico’s amazing set.

Rogue Wave’s headlining show at the Triple Rock last night finally enabled me to give them the attention they deserve. And I got to see some other “interesting” bands in the process (I mean “interesting” in a good way).

A week ago, I wrote about Low. One thing that people often note about Low is how the band fits the music so well. The name Low is a spot-on descriptor for their hushed sound. And the fact that they come from Duluth seems to be a perfect explanation for their slow-paced approach. Well, last night I saw a band that could rival Low in terms of band/music congruence. Vietnam, the opening band, sounded exactly how you’d expect a band named Vietnam to sound. Everything about them – their name, their music, their look – was straight out of 1969. Both singers sounded just like Bob Dylan (without being folk). And every band member was properly equipped with a bushy beard, long greasy hair, and ratty clothes. It was so appropriate. Did I mention that they rocked? (I definitely don’t want to give the impression that they were Phish heads – their 1969 knowledge went beyond Woodstock; i.e. The Velvet Underground.)

After their set, I went over to look for them at the merch table. But none of their stuff was on the table. All their merch was on a fancy rug on the floor alongside burning candles, a bowl of fruit, a strange painting, and tarot cards. The bass player was sitting cross-legged on the far side of the rug wearing a fortuneteller’s head wrap. As I began to talk to him, he started lowering plastic grapes into his mouth. Yeah, that’s Vietnam for you.

The Comas played second. They put on a good show. But I probably would have remembered more of it if I wasn’t still thinking about Vietnam (I was having a Nam flashback). Unfortunately, it’s really hard to play after a band with such an unforgettable stage presence.

Luckily, I was fully recovered from Vietnam by the time Rogue Wave took the stage. It’s amazing how differently you perceive a band when they are headlining their own tour. They seemed so much more significant than the Rogue Wave I saw last summer. Granted, I saw their whole set this time, and they weren’t under the same time restrictions. I was really impressed. They even did a three-song encore. I’m glad I stayed for that, because they did an incredible cover of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday.” I know, it sounds like it could be a little cheesy. But I’m telling you, it was one of the best covers I’ve heard in a long time. The entire show was very satisfying, but that last song ensured that I left the venue with a big smile.


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