Last Night: The Rosebuds and Other Lives at Dada

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The Rosebuds, Other Lives
June 23, 2011

Better than: a fried onion at an Aussie-themed steak house.

The Rosebuds have what every other band worth its salt wants: Charisma. Sheer, raw charisma that makes connecting with fans a simple act. A smile, a nod, a knowing remark -- all delivered with warmth and sincerity -- and the deed is done.

The moment the band took the stage, it was clear they meant business. They were there to entertain all that would be entertained, and they were going to love doing it.

The Rosebuds have crafted a style that marches through some of the darkest and most wrenching emotional moments in life. But they manage to populate their music with highs that transcend the often dark subject matter.

They launched into "Go Ahead," from their latest full-length, Loud Planes Fly Low and the crowd was instantly theirs. Fans could be heard singing along almost before Ivan Howard could belt out the first few notes. The stiff motionless forest of spectators that adorns the floor of most shows was quickly dissipated by dozens of fans that had come to dance to The Rosebuds' joyous brand of pop.

The connection between audience member and performer continued to thicken as Howard's reminisced about The Rosebuds' last visit through Dallas at The Cavern, which resulted in a busted keyboard amp for Kelly Crisp. Many in attendance on that fated night had returned on this one to seem them again. But this time there were no technical or equipment outrages. Just a smooth stream of solid Rosebuds gems, cuts like "Leaves Do Fall," "Boxcar," and "Cemetery Lawns" -- songs that span their entire catalog of releases.

It was clear that crowd-pleasing was the whole point of this set, making up for any lost time since their last visit and rekindling their connection with the city of Dallas and their fans here.

So much has changed in The Rosebuds world, with the current album existing as sort of song cycle, play-by-play of those up-and-downs that have occurred within the lives of the group's core members. But their live performance on this night left audiences only knowing just how good it feels to hear a band they love play the songs it has written, and seemingly just for their ears. Crisp and Howard have seen the world from within a relationship, within a band, and they live to sing the tale. Every note is honest and heartfelt, tailor-made for the listeners swaying at the front of the stage.

In final proof of complete band and fan connectivity, the band descended into the crowd for a final sing along, an acoustic performance of "Nice Fox" from their album Life Like. After giving a quick lesson in the dynamics of the piece, everyone there (including this writer) attempted to harmonize with one another. The Rosebuds, with Howard alone on acoustic guitar led us through the end of the tune.

The fans couldn't get enough and, for a brief moment, it seemed like there might be more -- another encore. But when Howard retook the stage, he was met with a mic that had been turned off. The plug had been pulled on the stage mix and hopes of continuing the evening here at Dada came to a close.

Leaving the venue, it was clear what had just taken place on this Thursday night at Dada: The Rosebuds played great set of tunes, tightly with tremendous excitement. And they made it look easy. Like a rock 'n' roll hug.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I have been a long time fan of The Rosebuds since first hearing them on a Starbucks Hear Music compilation CD, of all places.

By The Way: Oklahoma band Other Lives opened to a very eager crowd of fans in their own right. With a sound that combines spaghetti westerns with Brit-influenced folk and psychedelia, they showed off some hefty chops -- chops they've honed opening for some major talent like The Decemberists and The National. A perfect complement to the evening.

Rosebuds set list:
Go Ahead
Limitless Arms
Second Bird of Paradise
Cemetery Lawns
Leaves Do Fall
Come Visit Me
Waiting For The Carnival
Cover Ears
Life Like
Nice Fox

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