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Rogue Wave
November 18, 2005 – Neumos – Seattle, WA
by Katie Sauro

If you’re in a band, getting stuck with an early show is never easy, especially if it’s 21+.  For one thing, you never know if anyone will show up. You can always count on kids to go to shows, they really have nothing better to do, but those of age have other options.  Secondly, sans-alcohol, Seattle isn’t exactly known for its rambunctious audiences, and in general, the booze doesn’t start flowing until later in the night.

But breaking through the obstacles Friday night were both Rogue Wave and the crowd at Neumos. The band put on an incredible set, and as for the audience, well, let’s just say they didn’t have any problems starting a bit early.

Rogue Wave made the most of their compact set Friday night, hardly talking to the audience at all in an effort to try and pack in as much music as possible, playing much of their most recent release,
Descended Like Vultures. Their set started off with the opening track from said album, “Bird on a Wire,” with frontman Zach Rogue’s angelic choir-boy voice floating over familiar jangly guitars and keys, replete with the sweet harmonization of all four band members. 

They followed with other new ones like the catchy “Publish My Love,” the slower, epic-sounding “Love’s Lost Guarantee,” and the quick-talking folk number, “Medicine Ball,” among others. They mixed in older material, as well, with one of the highlights of the set being crowd-favorite “Every Moment” from their first album.

The new album and tour have documented the progression of Rogue Wave becoming a truly collective effort by all four members, rather than Zach Rogue’s one-man band with backing musicians. They have truly progressed as a folk-tinged indie-pop band, each song sounding like a collaborative effort, and the entire four-piece sounding tight.

Opening was SubPop labelmate Kelley Stoltz, a singer/songwriter from San Francisco, backed up by a four-piece band. They are clearly from a warmer climate, as they were all decked out in jackets, sweaters, and scarves. Stoltz switched off between keyboards and guitar, playing new songs from his SubPop debut EP,
The Sun Comes Through, as well as some of his older material. They didn’t play the most polished set, they made mistakes here and there, and the occasional voice cracked, but Stoltz and his band were talented and fun. Sub Pop will be releasing Stoltz’s next full-length early next year.

Both bands continue to tour through the end of the year, though not together. Check
www.subpop.com for tour dates.