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Rocky Votolato
April 20, 2007 – Neumo’s - Seattle, WA
by Adam Toth
04.29.07

James Blunt? No. John Mayer? Definitely not. This is Rocky Votolato, and he’s a whole lot better.

I moved to Seattle this past fall, and upon arrival, kept hearing the name “Rocky Votolato.” I had no idea who he was, but repeatedly told myself I’d one day give him a try. Due to my laziness, however, I never actually attempted to listen him until this recent Friday night.

Off the bat, let me say that the local presence Rocky V. has on Seattle is a sight to see. The show was jam-packed and kids were waiting for hours outside to get their hands on tickets. This was probably the most crowded show I’ve seen at Neumo’s this year, and I was extremely excited to see what the buzz was about.

When Rocky walked on the stage, the crowd went nuts, he laughed, grabbed his guitar, and along with his band, began playing his set. Initially, I wasn’t too impressed. The music was good, but I couldn’t quite figure out what was so great about him. I must admit, though, that I was distracted at first by a girl who walked in front of me with horrible body odor. She decided to stay put despite saying she was “just passing through.” But eventually I got used to that, turned my sense of smell off, and cranked up my sense of hearing.

After a few songs, a woman behind me said to her friend, “when is he gonna ditch the band?” It was obvious that she was frustrated with the current arrangement, and almost on cue, the band was gone and Rocky was standing solo with a guitar. This, my friends, is where I fell in love with Rocky Votolato. His self-proclaimed tour-ridden scruffy voice filled the air with authentic passion. It brought me back to the likes of Conor Oberst or Isaac Brock – it was wonderful. Without the band, Rocky showed off his true skill, and I can see why the person behind me wanted them to be gone so badly. This was more enjoyable than listening to any recording, because it felt so real.

Unfortunately, his band came back, and there was a muffled, yet collective sigh among the crowd. It’s not that the band was bad, in fact they brought a lot of sound to the set, but Rocky alone was just that good. Not to mention, it was his performing alone that distinguished him from “just another band.” But it all worked out in the end, as Rocky came out on stage solo for his encore, and we all walked home pleased, but tired from a long night of standing.

Oh! And on another note, Rocky was generous to play us a few songs from his upcoming album, and I can tell you that from what I heard, it should be a good one.

More on Rocky Votolato:
www.rockyvotolato.com / www.myspace.com/rockyvotolato.