Show Review: Rogue Wave, Gamble House, Bear Crossing
Thanks to my friend Alex, who came through with a free show ticket, I went to a show last night not knowing any of the bands playing. There was something about the spontaneity of it all, and that it was free, that let me keep an open mind to the music. However, it was apparent that none of these bands should be together in the same venue.
To use a metaphor, this show was like an open invitation house party. The openers Bear Crossing were like the creepers that you don’t want in your house in the first place, who don’t really belong there and just want to pound beers as they pound their fists in the air. Their style is like a hard rock Muse — not entirely mindless, but completely devoid of anything really technical or ear-catching. Their stage presence was pretty lame too: 80’s rock star theatrics such as the frontman lifting his guitar up while he “shredded” just came off as cheesy, his jokes weren’t funny, and every now and again he’d hold a hand to his ear, as if he was expecting any member of the audience to know the lyrics. That being said, they’re a local band with time to develop and aside from their goofy stage antics, they were pretty tolerable.
Gamble House were like the people that show up from another school that you don’t really know except through a few mutual friends. As mentioned on this blog before, their Grizzly Bear by-way-of-LA sound was awesome to hear live. At this early in their career though, it’s obvious that they are far from great. For starters, for most of their set the songs were aimless—everything sounded nice, but everything was messy and nothing ever stuck with you. At any random corner they’d throw in some Grizzly Bear style “oh ohs” but they just felt like they stuck them in the song for the fuck of it. It wasn’t until around the end of the set that they played their best material that really made you groove. It would be awesome to see them step out of Grizzly Bear’s shadow and stand on their own two as a great band.
Rogue Wave were the veteran partiers, the “old heads.” Apparently they’ve been around for about 6 years and have a handful of albums under their belts. They’ve got a tight live sound and played a pretty lengthy set. But it’s probably worth saying that there’s a reason that tickets to their show was given away for free by The Norva. To be honest I have never had the desire to check them out and for being in the indie game for so long, they should be way bigger than they are.
At the end of the day though, I’m glad I went to the show, if only to see Gamble House and to see what the big deal was about Rogue Wave.