Apparently when The Rosebuds rolled into town last week for their August 7th show at Boot & Saddle they were expecting a hater or two… According to vocalist/guitarist/programmer Ivan Howard the last time the band was in town, which had them performing Sade’s Love Deluxe in its entirety at Johnny Brenda’s, a less-than-charmed fan approached the band after the set to proclaim, “What the fuck? I come see The Rosebuds and you play a bunch of fucking Sade songs.” However, said fan apparently did not turn out… and it’s hard to tell whether that was to the band’s delight or disappointment… The band did, however, have a reasonable number of very enthusiastic fans in attendance, some who even claimed their fandom was won over by the Sade covers. And while Boot & Saddle was far from “packed” on that particular Thursday, those in attendance made their presence very known, chanting along to the North Carolina duo’s indie pop “classics” as if they were the songs that saved their lives… and they were even quite supportive of the new material.
Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp, formerly married couple and core of The Rosebuds, are currently supporting their sixth full-length, Sand+Silence, which dropped last week on Western Vinyl. Throughout their career, which dates back to 2001, The Rosebuds have transitioned back and forth through a number of fairly disparate sounds. While they began as what could be described as an indie folk band, they have also regularly dealt in the genres of R&B, post-punk, and dream pop, without ever losing the intimacy of the duo as legitimately great songwriters. Their latest Philly appearance included the better part of their latest album, which boasts new wave grooves (“Sand+Silence”), epic alt rock balladry (“Give Me a Reason”) and even a bit of twee-and-Brit-pop-inspired soul (“Tiny Bones”)
Despite the abundance of new tracks, the band’s set did manage to span their relatively dense career, including “Back to Boston” off of 2003’s The Rosebuds Make Out; “Get Up Get Out,” off of 2007’s Night of the Furies; and “Come Visit Me” and “Woods,” off of 2011’s Loud Planes Fly Low. However, the evening’s perfectly-spaced highlights all came from 2005’s Birds Make Good Neighbors and 2008’s Life Like, the band’s undeniably most profound works. The evening began with the title track of Life Like, a haunting Americana postmodern lounge number (see: Nick Cave, but less Satanic). Just about mid-way through the set had the band churning out arguably their best number, “Boxcar,” which meets at the intersection of authentic jangle pop and dance rock revivalists. But the night’s finest moments were (as should always be the case) in its final moments, with “Nice Fox,” The Rosebuds’ quintessential gospel anthem, which eventually had Kelly Crisp make her way into the audience to embrace the mildly transcendent moment among her fans… And while The Rosebuds might not be selling quite as many albums and tickets as we had expected half a decade ago, they have certainly proven to be the kind of band that has fans that truly do get them.