Before east Canadian septet Hey Rosetta! came onstage last night at the Sunset, the night began quietly at 9 p.m.
Red and blue disco lights softly flickered around the venue’s intimate stage when Silver Torches—the moniker for Erik Walters—opened the show, strumming mellow tunes off his acoustic guitar.
Only a handful of people were present, but for those who were, it was hard to ignore this talented singer/songwriter, who once fronted a post-punk band called the Globes. Though he has a somewhat quiet demeanor, he was still personable and had humor, bantering in between songs as he tuned his guitar. One story he told was about playing at The Rendezvous and telling a joke about a guy who called him boring for tuning too much during his set. He ended his set with a sweet song about growing up in Spokane.
More people trickled in when members of the Quiet Life came onstage sporting flannel and denim, the drummer suited with a cowboy hat. Unlike its name, the band was anything but quiet. Though the crowd kept a shy distance from the stage, its loud, fun, soulful rock was able to loosen people up and get some heads shaking and bodies dancing when frontman Sean Spellman encouraged the audience to move closer to the stage (which they did).
The house properly primed, and with more folks present, the seven members of Hey Rosetta! started setting up on the small stage. A variety of instruments in tow, watching the crew set up was a show in itself. There were six guitars, a violin, cello, three keyboards, drum sets, and smaller instruments like tambourines, shakers and a handheld xylophone. Placing all of that and the many foot pedals onstage took a while, and the band didn’t start performing until after midnight.
Once they did, the crowd welcomed it with a hearty cheer; during the second song, “Soft Offering (For the Oft Suffering),” people even began dancing. The band played mostly from its latest album Second Sight, an uplifting, instrument-heavy, indie rock opus, but also played some old ones that the crowd sang-along to. Four songs in, when the energy was high, frontman Tim Baker appeared slightly winded, and joked that the set was speeding along. “It happened so fast,” he said, taking the opportunity to slow things down with the following sweet love song “What Arrow.”
Despite the cramped spaces onstage, the band was able to deliver a fun set and were excited to be playing in Seattle. Baker, who looked like he was enjoying the crowd, was gracious and thankful to be in Seattle, he said. The band had a quick moment of sound difficulties, but got back into it fast playing the upbeat song “Harriet”—perhaps by a few shouts of requests for it—and there were a lot of moving bodies in the crowd and people mouthing the words or singing along.
During the song “Red Heart,” the band got the whole place clapping to the beat and incited a lively call and response. There were a couple more quiet songs like “Cathedral Bells” and they closed with an old song, “Welcome.” It was a good end, with fans swaying to the beat and singing the lyrics.
But that wasn’t the end. Before walking off stage, there were calls for an encore, and shortly, the group was back on stage, thanking everyone. It closed with the song “Bandages,” another crowd favorite. After this, it gave a final goodbye and thank you to everyone, and walked off stage.