Rogue Wave - Belly Up David McHank
Rogue Wave doesn’t, you know, swing Thor’s hammer, or however they’re saying, like, “thoroughly rock out” these days. They’re not the type of band smashing watermelons on stage to get you to look at them. They just get up there, and play serviceably, not as soft as Air Supply but more like a cryptic REO Speedwagon. Not the rocking 70’s ‘Wagon your cousin with the denim vest and the caterpillar of a mustache used to tell you about. The ‘Wagon that you liked and that that cousin despised.
Rogue Wave concerts feel like a celebration. That being said, closer to the Nada Surf type of laid back, ‘life’s pretty cool’ type of celebration than the full on Flaming Lips “There’s a spaceship about to destroy the planet so let’s have a mescaline orgy until it happens” type of celebration. But Rogue Wave wears this celebration proudly, they’ve earned it. Talk about a band that’s experienced tragedy; deaths, health scares, and a rotating cast of musicians in and out of the band. But that wasn’t the focus of this set, and the crowd wasn’t there for heaviness anyway. The band seems to get that since they got in with Jack Johnson that maybe they get more attention by letting it all flow by their little microcosm tide pool. So, since that’s a good enough analogy, I’ll go with it a little further and tell you that Zach Rogue (vocals/ guitar/ songwriter) and Pat Spurgeon (drums/ vocals) are the two islands that have stayed in the band since the start and let all of these tides ebb and flow around them. They’re having fun on the stage and it really shows.
The opening act was this dude, called JBM. He came on unassuming, played his acoustic guitar quietly but well, sang slow and softly, sounding something like Andrew Bird at times and occasionally more like Band of Horses. Not bad. He even did a couple songs playing one man band, singing, playing guitar, bass drum and high hat. The surfer girls ate him up.
The band in the middle of all this was called Man / Miracle. As in, Man, it would be a Miracle if you thought these dudes were killing it. My guess is that they tried to sound like Vampire Weekend. But they ended up sounding more like a bad tribute band to The Fixx.
Either way, I went outside. My friend tried to brave it, until he figured out who exactly the singer sounded like. Right as he texted me to say, “Maximo Park!”
I texted him to say, “There’s an old guy outside picking his teeth with a Rambo knife!”
So, like, my text was more entertaining than that second band.
Sold out Belly Up on a Tuesday night, hanging out with surfer-ish girls and their boyfriends that they force to watch Grey’s Anatomy, and a whole cheering squad of band member mothers. It’s an interesting thing. You should try it.