Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Wire: Rocky Votolato & Adam Stephens, 3.6.10

Tonight I took a little mini-roadtrip with Jeff up to Upland, California to see Rocky Votolato and Adam Stephens. Yes, I'll be seeing them again on Sunday at the Casbah, but Jeff offered and I'm not one to turn down a Rocky show, ever, and the opportunity to see him in a super-small all ages venue seemed like a good idea. I love the Casbah, but as Rocky has gained popularity in San Diego, the crowds are bigger and sometimes more boisterous. There's definitely a difference with seeing a performer in an all-ages space versus one where the alcohol is consumed liberally.

The weather wasn't commuter friendly, with rains on and off as we made our way north on the 15, but we had snacks (shrimp cocktail and Humboldt Fog and crackers from Whole Foods) and good music (Musee Mecanique, Rocky's new CD True Devotion, and Dawes) and Jeff had planned on dinner at an Italian restaurant on the same block as the show, so we took off early in the afternoon and despite minor traffic through Ontario and Corona, we made it in pretty good time.

The show was at a venue in Upland called The Wire, which is a relatively new space judging by the congratulations to the owners by the performers, and might be compared to Lestat's, Hotel Cafe or Tin Can Ale House, because it is long and narrow, though it had a deeper stage than any of them, and no seating. This was a benefit in my eyes, as we were able to secure spots up in front without any problems. The sound was great and they had great lighting (though a bit trigger happy on the fading in and out of said lighting.)

There was a local opener and I'll just fast forward past that band because I like to keep it positive. Adam H Stephens took the stage with a band that consisted of him on guitar, a female on bass (and cello for one song), a keyboardist, and a drummer. I love Two Gallants, and Adam's new material is very different than his old band. It's really good, and his songwriting is still great, but with a summer release, it would've been nice to be a little more familiar with the new material since I'm so used to the epic sing-alongs that came with Two Gallants music. Still, if you're planning on coming to the Casbah show, don't miss Adam. Actually, don't miss Correatown, either, because you'll get to see buds Angela Correa and Joanie Mendenhall share the stage. Plus, there's that alcohol thing...

The videos for Adam will take a while, but here's the setlist (as written):

Elder Wood
New Song
2nd Mind
I Found A Lov
W/ Vengeance

No songs from Two Gallants as it seems Adam is distancing himself, perhaps? Or maybe it's an agreement with Tyson as they both pursue new projects not to go there? I don't know. Maybe I'll get the chance to ask him on Sunday, but he was particularly annoyed by the happy lighting finger so I didn't want to bug him. I hate admitting so, but I was pretty wasted last time I talked to him, so I'd rather pretend we've never met anyway.

Since Rocky performed solo, there wasn't a huge space of time for his setup, though he commented about how quiet the crowd got even for his soundcheck. Apparently the night before at the Troubadour was quite the opposite, so he appreciated the silence, though it could probably also be unnerving, too, especially since his latest release and subsequent interviews have been so deeply personal about depression and dramatic highs and lows that his life has seen in the last few years. I think the sing-alongs helped him to know that the crowd was on his side and just wanted to take in every note of every song.

I didn't get Rocky's setlist, as he's notorious for keeping it in a little pocket notepad that someone else had the brains to ask for, but I think I recorded every song he played, which would make the setlist something like this:

Sunlight (a new unrecorded song)
Instrument (True Devotion)
Alabaster (Suicide Medicine)
What Waited For Me (True Devotion)
Portland Is Leaving (Makers)
Father And Son (Cat Stevens Cover)
Sparklers (True Devotion)
Tinfoil Hats (Makers)
Lucky Clover Coin (True Devotion)
Eyes Like Static (True Devotion)
Fragments (True Devotion)
Sun Devil (True Devotion)
Goldfield (Makers)
Suicide Medicine (Suicide Medicine)
Montana (Suicide Medicine)

Note that there were no songs played from The Brag & Cuss or Burning My Travels maybe he'll throw some in on Sunday's set. I should also mention that I had the chance to say hi to Rocky and his wife April before the show and they both are such sweet people, and genuinely grateful that we made the trip up from San Diego. Hopefully they get some sunshine while they're in town since it sounded like the rain has been chasing them around the state thus far.

If my gushing about Rocky here and on SoundDiego isn't enough, here are a few of the videos I shot of the show. I think we might be getting Rocky on Tim Pyles FTP show for a quick interview, too, so be sure to tune in and then catch him at the Casbah.

The rest are still uploading, so I'll insert them as a playlist later.
See you at the 'Bah.

1 comment:

Ken said...

Please tell me Two Gallants aren't done, and just still on hiatus. Please!