Paving the sidewalks just outside famed Lower East Side music venue Rockwood Music Hall, throngs of fans of the Newfoundland based Hey Rosetta! waited patiently to see the band perform. The night was completely sold out, as evidenced by my 1×1 square foot general admission spot secured near the stage. The band consists of Tim Baker on vocals and guitar, Adam Hogan on guitar, Josh Ward on bass, Phil Maloney on drums and percussion, Romesh Thavanathan on cello, keys and vocals, Kinley Dowling on violin, keys and vocals, and Mara Pellerin on French horn, keys and vocals. If you know Rockwood, then you know packing a 7-piece band onto Stage 2 is a feat within itself, with crowd members eagerly helping to keep at least 4 instruments leaned against the guardrail from toppling over at various points throughout the night.
Despite the sea of bodies onstage and opportunities for the sound to become overwhelming and muddied, Hey Rosetta! expertly used their various instruments to elevate their sound, from the tender “What Arrows,” to the raucous “Harriet.” Fans up in the balcony took every opportunity they could to play on the band’s name, yelling out “HEY! ROSETTA!” during various quiet point between songs. I was also delighted to see 2 older gentlemen directly at the foot of the stage dancing and clapping along, a testament that music as great as Hey Rosetta’s moves both young and old.
Tim Baker’s voice reminded me of a mix of Adam Levine and Patrick Watson at points during the night; beautiful and haunting, but also powerful when needed – opening up on what was my favorite song of the night, “Young Glass.” As a songwriter who requires absolute solitude to birth a song, it’s hard to imagine the rest of the band having no input as the words were put to paper; their sound is wholly cohesive, each note taking it’s perfect place in the song. The outcome is truly poetic, one that I’d call a complete experience.
Hey Rosetta! has been churning out music for just about ten years now, and although the band is new to me, hearing bits of their earlier work doesn’t sound outdated in the slightest capacity. Rockwood Music Hall was just my first encounter, and surely won’t be my last.
Article by: Lesley Keller