Review: The Rosebuds – Live in Chicago & Wisconsin, October 15-16, 2011

Published by JB.

At Schubas in Chicago and Lawrence University in Appleton, WI.


You can say this about most indie bands, but there are some artists that just aren’t meant to play great music in big places. The Rosebuds have too much charm to stand in front of 1200 or 2500 people on a regular basis. Ivan Howard’s quick-wit and Kelly Crisp’s magnetism play best when they can talk to the last fan in the back row….only 40 feet away. In one moment you’re thanking the Gods of indie pop that this duo hasn’t imploded into oblivion (divorce can do that) or exploded into something so big that you’re fighting to get 3rd row tickets three days before the show. You feel blessed to see this band in their element – zipping through perfect pop melodies with effortlessness that makes you believe that yes, you too could be a rock star. But sorry friend – you just couldn’t do it quite this well.

Without a lemon in the bunch, the Rosebuds jump from album to album as the material turns 75 minutes into 20.  ‘Go Ahead’ opens the show from the new album ‘Loud Plans Fly Low’ and go ahead they do indeed.  You’re watching perfect pop mind you – in the company of a few hundred.  In the back of your mind you’re thinking “I wonder why they haven’t sold 3 million copies of this album?  God I hate Lady Gaga!”   Forget the conversations about the dynamics of Ivan and Kelly – the now divorced couple still writing songs and touring happily.  The Beatles loved each other for 4 years and hated each other’s guts for 4 years and the last I checked they made 8 years worth of the greatest music ever.  The Rosebuds are no Beatles, but neither are the 50,000 bands that tried to be like the Beatles and failed.  The Rosebuds don’t need to try – they’ve conquered the beauty of pop music, and they are in the middle of the greatest and worst aspects of being Indie – forced to tour relentlessly to promote and sell a horribly under-rated record – but still hungry to produce great things. The crazy mix of the greatest and worst times of our life often produce the most thrilling musical results – and in their case, some remarkable pop songs.



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