Sunday, February 03, 2008
Rogue Wave at the Belly Up
Rogue Wave were one of my favorite acts from the FM 94.9 Holiday Hootenanny show. I purchased "Asleep at Heaven's Gate" immediately when the album came out but it was buried in the avalanche of new releases at that time. After seeing their performance at the Holiday Hootenanny, I listened to the Rogue Wave catalog non stop. I was really looking forward to catching a full set from Oakland's finest. I have to tip my hat to FM 94.9 for sponsoring another "About the Music" concert series profiling up and coming bands while keeping the ticket price at a criminally low $6.
Manuok from San Diego started the evening with their folk tinged laid back indie rock. I remember seeing them open for the Album Leaf a few times in the past. Manuok is the project of Scott Mercado (Guitars/Vocals) who has various members assist him in the live format. "Flowers For Algernon" was their rocking number that falls somewhere between an Iron and Wine and Band Of Horses. Manuok will be playing with the Album Leaf on the 22nd of this month at the Casbah. Their latest release is "Loud and Clear" which is available on itunes.
Midnight Movies continue to make the rounds on the tour circuit in support of their psychedelic opus "Lion The Girl". I have reviewed Midnight Movies multiple times before at the House of Blues San Diego and Wiltern . "Parallel Paramore" was their opening track and sounded edgier then ever. Larry Schemel (Guitars) was on fire dialing up some scorching tones on his Fender Telecaster deluxe. Larry had his Boss Fuzz pedal on stand by as he opted for the Big Muff distortion for his leads. Larry also effectively used his Z.Vex Super Duper for prolonged sustain while working on his Dunlop Wah pedal. "Souvenirs" sounded even fuzzier compared to the recorded version and was one of the best versions I have heard from the Midnight Movies. "Nights in White Satin" had Sandra Vu (Drums/Flute) come out from behind her drum kit for a flute display. I have recommended "Lion The Girl" in prior reviews and will continue to do so as it has all the essential elements of trippy synths, fuzzed guitars, and soaring vocals.
Rogue Wave were all smiles as they appeared on stage. It was a sold out Belly Up Tavern and the crowd was ready. The percussive bleeps of "Like I Needed" filled the air as Zach started to strum the jangly chords. I managed to spot Zach Rogue"s pedalboard which had a Holy Grail reverb, Ibanez Analog Delay, Digitech Whammy pedal and a Fulltone Fulldrive Mosfet 2. "Every Moment" was transformed into a surefire rocking anthem as Zach would jump up and down during the guitar stabs of the song. "Sewn Up" was prefaced with a feedback wash intro before diving into its reverb and delay soaked chorus. Rogue Wave's songs take on a whole new persona when performed live and will transform you into an immediate fan. It was clear to see the band was having a good time as Zach thanked the audience for showing up. "Publish My Love" was as wistful as ever with Pat Spurgeon (Drums) carefully cymbal smashing in the right places as the song would drop out at the right times with just Zach and his guitar before the rest of the band would come storming back into the song. "Endless Shovel" was an old song off their first album "Out of The Shadow" that Zach mentioned they resurrected for this tour. Zach would explain that "Medicine Ball" was a song that they wrote at the last minute to include on "Descended Like Vultures". Zach pulled out a shiny Fender Jaguar Baritone before playing an astounding version of "Chicago X 12". "Bird On A Wire" turned into a tribal drum jam with Midnight Movies coming on stage with some drums as Zach bounded across the stage attacking whatever he could with drum sticks before making his way behind the drum kit before morphing into the Zune ad featured "Lake Michigan". "Harmonium" kept the high spirits of the crowd alive and was a perfect way to cap their set. Rogue Wave happily obliged with an encore with some fans in the crowd calling for "Eyes". Zach sang a few lines of "Eyes" acapella but they hadn't played the song in awhile. "Ghost" was a worthy encore as Zach tackled it by himself with an acoustic guitar. Zach responded to the requests of "California" by mentioning that the crowd just wanted to hear him sing the lyrics "Screw California". Rogue Wave will be playing Coachella and I highly recommend you catch their set.