Rocky Votolato Returns to Mercury Lounge

February 25th, 2010

Rocky Votolato – Mercury Lounge – February 24, 2010

Rocky Votolato - Mercury Lounge - February 24, 2010
Like scoring tickets to a Yankees’ World Series game or to see Lady Gaga at Radio City, winning a crowd’s attention at a New York City concert can be difficult. But sometimes all it takes is a few earnest solo musical acts, one of them being a storied and exceptional artist from Seattle.

Playing Mercury Lounge for the first time in four years—and just the second show since his sixth LP, True Devotion, came out this week—Rocky Votolato mixed a heavy dose of the new with some of the very old. Most of his songs (especially the newer ones) have a personal tilt to them, dealing with mental struggles and medicated solutions. Yet the warm, encompassing music was never as brooding as the songs’ lyrics. The section of songs off the new disc specifically made for a powerful experience, with hopeful and faithful songs like “Sun Devil” and charged, anthemic songs like “Red River” arresting the audience’s attention.

Once ramped up, the set quickly—but satisfyingly—ended with those in attendance showing Votolato what they had been holding back all night. When he played “Makers” (an anecdotal tune about time spent with Allen Ginsburg on the Lower East Side), concertgoers sounded somewhat prideful, as if they had adopted Votolato as their own, and their passionate attention was their welcoming present. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane |