Archive for the 'rogue wave' Category

Gig Review: Nada Surf and Rogue Wave at Manchester Club Academy, February 22, 2008

Zach Rogue of Rogue Wave live in ManchesterBack in November or so I bought a pair of Duffy tickets for a gig at the Ruby Lounge on the back of “Rockferry” which I’d had the privilege of having about 18 months to get to really love. Subsequently she performed on Jools Holland and was, shall we say, unimpressive – not because she doesn’t have a great voice, but because the songs were such bland soul-by-numbers tripe. The Ledge immediately said he was not going to watch Duffy as he’d been iffy on the idea anyway. I still thought there was hope, I mean if she has one song the calibre of “Rockferry” then perhaps there were more. Of course, then I noticed that Rogue Wave were opening for Nada Surf. That did it. Despite only knowing one Nada Surf song – their MTV novelty hit from around 1996 called “Popular” – I told The Ledge I’d put the Duffy tickets up for sale at Scarlet Mist and we could go see Rogue Wave, who had left us both gutted when they’d cancelled their previous (and only) tour date here in Manchester, leaving us wondering if they’d ever make it to the UK.

So, I, at least, was excited to finally get to see Zach Rogue and band as their second album, Descended Like Vultures, never fails to make me smile through the soft, lilting harmonies and Shins-esque guitar lines. The first album isn’t bad either, although it is a bit more naive and simplistic. In any case, we got to the venue early and a small group of people were already clustered near the stage, at least one of them in a Rogue Wave T-shirt purchased from the merchandise stand. While The Ledge was queuing at the bar I made my way forward where a very nice bloke noticed me behind him contemplating where my best view would be and kindly moved behind his friend so I could get close enough to see the stage.

Rogue Wave live in ManchesterBy the time Rogue Wave emerged on stage there was a reasonable crowd, and the number of people singing along and the sheer volume of the shouting suggested that quite a few people had done the same thing we had – come down to see the opener. While the sound was the usual muddy mess that you get in Club Academy most nights, the band were on good form and much louder and rockier live than on record. Like many slightly twee acts, they bolstered the sound a bit live to make it louder and noisier so that it would fill the room a bit more, and it worked, for the most part. I was fascinated with bassist Patrick Abernethy’s upside down bass – he’s left-handed so he’s restrung it rather than buy a left-handed bass.

The short, 30-minute set consisted of about half new songs from an album that has yet to be released here in the UK (and which, sadly, was not on sale on the night) and older material. We were chuffed to hear “Publish My Love,” “Bird on a Wire” and the standout track from the first album, “Every Moment.” For much of the growing crowd, the highlight appeared to be the appearance of Nada Surf’s lead singer, Matthew Caws, to sing on one of the new songs. For me, though, the highlight was “Bird on a Wire” descending madly into everybody on drums and percussion, including Nada Surf’s drummer, Ira Elliot. Only 7 short songs later and with the promise they’d be back in May, Rogue Wave departed all too quickly.

Nada Surf's Matthew Caws on stage with Rogue WaveAfter Rogue Wave, The Ledge and I debated whether we should move back and let somebody more familiar with the band’s back catalogue to the front or whether my being able to actually see the gig would alter my perception that much. We decided to stay put, at least for a little while, as staring at people’s backs and getting jostled by people going to and from the bar never makes for much fun, and I am glad we did stay where I could see.

As for Nada Surf, I expected late-90’s-style American college drone rock, but they were far poppier and perkier than that and were actually pretty upbeat, chatting between songs to a crowd that (mostly) knew every note. They are, quite simply, probably a great example of the classic American indie-pop, college-radio-friendly band of the sort that I remember from my university days back in Boston, before that short period where everything sounded like Stone Tool Pearl Garden in Chains, and their sound certainly blended well with the live version of Rogue Wave. While the one song I knew I knew unsurprisingly did not make the set, I did recognise at least one other, a love song that The Ledge reckons was probably used in a film or TV show as he recognised it as well. The band chatted with the crowd and were pretty entertaining, but the set was very long – running towards two hours – and by the time they left the stage the first time, both The Ledge and I were exhausted and felt we’d had enough as listening to a band with whom you’re unfamiliar for that long becomes more of a chore than a pleasure, so we abandoned the gig and headed off for some food. Overall though, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Nada Surf are more substantial than “Popular” and probably worth further exploration.

Rogue Wave – Every Moment

Rogue Wave – Publish My Love

Nada Surf – Popular

Nada Surf – See These Bones

Posted by JustHipper on 25th February 2008 at 9:57 pm | comments (1)
File under cancelled shows,Gig Reviews,gigs,mp3,nada surf,Reviews,rogue wave.