Confession: Before Saturday, I was not much of a Rosebuds fan. It’s my own fault—as of late I can only fall for bands on either extreme of the melancholy-hyperactive spectrum. In a conversation a few weeks ago, I tried to explain this to a friend:
ME: ...like the rosebuds here—who I don’t like! I can’t even tell people in raleigh that; I’d be excommunicated from the city.
FRIEND: What kind of music do they do?
ME: I guess your standard indie fare. I like some of their songs, but they usually bore me. I guess most music now bores me if it’s not like, “We met on the dancefloor and I thought you were cute! But then I couldn’t decide if I was gay or not bee bop boop ::noises that don’t sound like instruments:: CATCHY CHORUS! CATCHY CHORUS! BEE BEE BOP BOP BOOP record skid.”
Cut Copy, basically.
I had never seen the Rosebuds live before, and I walked into Marsh Woodwinds Saturday evening expecting to be half-charmed, half-bored for an hour or so (“You mean we have to sit in chairs?”).
Folks, I’m here to tell you that I am a changed woman. I’ve attended nary a show that kept me genuinely entertained for as long as the Rosebuds did last weekend. And not just entertained—utterly delighted!
Many of the songs were interactive. At one point Ivan and Kelly even asked the audience to choose numbers at random, then used those numbers to build a beat and put a new sound on an old song. The non-interactive sets were beautifully played and accompanied by tales of dead neighbors and dead foxes, both funny and sad. For the finale, the Rosebuds pulled audience members onto the stage for a “new song,” i.e., an entirely improvised performance, even soliciting nouns and adjectives from the crowd to form the lyrics in the chorus. So together we wrote a song about a brown bird gone crazy in the marsh (or at least that’s the best my colleagues and I can remember). Throughout, the Rosebuds were joined by all kinds of special guests, including members of Megafaun and Bowerbirds. The stage was fluid, and the interaction between performers and audience, full of laughter, flowed like a conversation among friends.
More than just the typical indie rock crowd came out on Saturday. There were fans of all ages, including the owners of Marsh Woodwinds and a whole bunch of kids who snagged the front-row seats on the carpet and shouted things at Ivan throughout the show, to everyone’s delight. Even with the 40 or 50 people filling the small room and crowding the stairs trying to get a peek, the event felt much less like a show, and much more like a family gathered around for an evening of entertainment. How refreshing to see that happen without a single screen.
Saturday evening was music at its purest: acoustic, improvisational, communal, and—best of all—it took you outside of yourself, softening your hard edges and melting you, body and soul, into a shared experience.
Sincere thanks to the Rosebuds and Marsh Woodwinds for a lovely evening.
Photography by David Millsaps.