Article by Lukas Wall, with Photos from Mike Heffernan
Not every band has seven members, a diverse instrumentation that includes strings and a French horn, and a tendency to play songs longer than the radio-friendly 4-minute norm.
But it’s the emotional impact and the meaning their music holds with fans that truly sets Hey Rosetta! apart. The powerful and emotional story Joanna Barker shared yesterday on theovercast.ca is one of many such examples of this impact.
With all this in mind, Friday night’s performance in Bannerman Park certainly did not disappoint. All the hallmarks of a Hey Rosetta! show were present, the hockey chant, the sparklers, the audible swoon as Tim Baker took to the stage, but the show also marked both a homecoming and a birthday celebration for the band.
The band’s Folk Festival performance this year marked ten years (and one day) since the group’s first ever performance at what is now The Levee. The band has obviously changed quite a bit since those early days of late nights downtown, but the consistent through line that has likely made the band so successful is the energy and passion that they bring to every gig.
The group began their set with a few polished and well-toured songs from their latest record, Second Sight, before delving in to the back catalog for updated arrangements of three rarely played songs.
Baker performed a stirring solo version of “Epitaph,” before the whole band launched in to “Lions for Scottie,” wrapping up the brief retrospective with “Plug Your Ears” from 2005’s EP. Curiously, the older tunes weren’t nearly as well received as the newer material, despite a solid performance.
More choice cuts from Seeds and Second Sight filled out the set, before a rousing version of “Red Heart” carried in to “Black Heart” to close out. The band’s short encore, brought on by the famous hockey chant, wrapped up with a feel-good Hey Rosetta! take on Ben E. King’s classic “Stand By Me.”
Over the past ten years, Hey Rosetta! have set their own course and carved a niche as an exciting and original group that has put Newfoundland on the map. Friday night was another in a long line of fantastic, moving Hey Rosetta! performances that show why they are one of the best live acts in the whole country.
Hey Rosetta! are certainly not your average band, and it will be exciting to see where they go in the next ten years.