|The Rosebuds/The Sun(/Shout Out Louds)
November 14, 2005 – Crocodile Café – Seattle, WA
by Ashley Graham
The Rosebuds’ name has been tripping off my tongue since hearing of them last spring, but it was with their latest album Birds Make Good Neighbors that I finally became hooked. I love their songs, I love their live performances, I love their dynamic, I love their look, and I love that they’re married. Couples who make music are plain old cute, and The Rosebuds have this idea in the bag because, not only are they married, they are so damn cute it’s crazy. Especially Kelly, whose unassuming petite frame and no-nonsense attire give way to Maja Ivarsson-like bleach-blonde hair and booming vocals that highlight each of the songs on which they appear. Ivan leads most of the tracks and the duo’s pop melodies are catchy and easily addictive.
Their onstage dynamic is just what one would expect from a couple on and off the stage; they give each other knowing looks and mouth entire sentences to one another that are actually understood by the receiver. When Ivan decides to insert an “old favorite” into the setlist, he falls short with the words right from the beginning. He steps away from the mike and shakes his head, Kelly steps up to her mike and starts before Ivan takes the cue and follows suit. After the chorus this interaction gets repeated and at the song’s conclusion Ivan says innocently, “That’s a game Kelly and I play sometimes.” In true wifey fashion Kelly cuts in “That’s a game called ‘Ivan forgets the words to the songs’… No, you wouldn’t know anything about it.” So cute.
Columbus, Ohio’s The Sun managed a great entry into the night with their quirky pop rockin’ palette. A few songs come from the more familiar Did Your Mother Tell You? EP of 2004, and the bulk of which come from the band’s latest release Blame It On the Youth, their debut full-length, which is actually a DVD featuring videos for each of the songs. Trippy concept, eh? Hopefully this band’s suddenly bright future at Warner Bros. Records will promise a spot on a tour that features them a little more predominantly. Lead singer Chris Burney is just so much fun to watch with his offbeat facial expressions and vocal contributions between tracks, and his interplay with bassist Brad Forsblom is the stuff of which boyhood friends-turned-musicians dreams are made.
As for the headliners—I won’t spend any more time on Shout Out Louds than is absolutely necessary. A rousing live performance last spring opening for The Futureheads might have caught my attention early on, but the release of the debut album Howl Howl Gaff Gaff killed any possible future interest. Fittingly, SOL has since been deemed an “it” to watch out for by multiple mainstream music magazines, but really this is just another mediocre pop band with little new to offer and not enough charm to pass it off as interesting. Oh, the horrors of hypeville continue…
The Rosebuds’ Birds Make Good Neighbors is available now, as is The Sun’s Blame It On the Youth. The tour with Shout Out Louds continues through November.