Rogue Wave Brings New Music to Williamsburg

March 3rd, 2010

Rogue Wave – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 2, 2010

(Photo: Sterling Andrews)

(Photo: Sterling Andrews)

Tuesday night is that nowhere-land part of the week, the point in the sentence where you’re not yet sure what punctuation is coming at the end. Tuesday is also the day when new albums are released, and so it was for Rogue Wave, celebrating the debut of Permalight at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The band hit the stage at precisely 11 p.m. and proceeded to play almost the entire new CD. They opened with “Stars and Stripes,” which was characterized by a heavy, smooth bass sound that seemed to set the bandwidth in which the synthed-up keys and Zach Rogue’s vocals operated. The first few numbers established a comfortable Homer Simpson ass groove in the couch, and the rest of the songs sat there, laid back and comfortable as all heck.

The live Rogue Wave sound is sort of an analog-digital hybrid, with guitars—acoustic and electric, occasionally with capo, slide and even bow—mixing amiably with synthesizer and glossy bass notes. The electronic side was a bit retro, maybe 64-bit, which was amplified by the display on the stage: a decidedly low-def screen, with big, fat, fist-size pixels scrolling indiscernible images in Day-Glo coloring. The change to acoustic guitar brought a songwriter-ly change of pace for “Solitary Gun” and “Sleepwalker,” the latter being particularly charged, with a nice building arc and crushing climax. Rogue had a little excited patter between songs, but would fall into an endearingly sung banter that ebbed right into the next number.

After a short burst of older material, they were right back into Permalight with their dedication to the cruelty of anonymous online critics: “We Will Make a Song Destroy,” which blossomed with angry electricity. And then, before you knew it, Tuesday was practically Wednesday, and an exclamation point was just a short ways away. —A. Stein