Colorado Band Increases Its Size and Sound

April 25th, 2011

Rose Hill Drive – Mercury Lounge – April 23, 2011

(Photo: Marty Caviano)

(Photo: Marty Caviano)

“What the fuck is up, New York?” asked guitarist Daniel Sproul to open the show. “I can’t tell you how happy we are to be here.” No doubt. It had been a while. Originally a power-rock trio out of Boulder, Colo., Rose Hill Drive made a fairly quick rise from obscurity, going from playing local gigs in a college town to opening for the Who. But for whatever reason, they shut down the whole operation for nearly a year and a half and have now returned as a four-piece. The new guy, Jimmy Stofer, plays bass, allowing frontman Jacob Sproul to slide over to rhythm guitar while brother Daniel plays lead.

Besides forming a stellar rhythm section with drummer Nate Barnes, Stofer brings some depth to Rose Hill Drive and complexity to their sound by adding a third voice to harmonies and a fourth instrument to jamming. The nearly 85-minute set was comprised of songs from the band’s first two albums, Rose Hill Drive and Moon Is the New Earth—much of which would’ve fit nicely on the Almost Famous soundtrack—and new material, due to be released on an album later this year, plus a strong, well-received cover of the Stooges’ “Search and Destroy.”

As the set went on, the crowd grew louder and rowdier. Standbys like the show-opening “Trans Am,” “I’m on to You” and “The 8th Wonder” and new tunes “Speed Dial” and “Psychoanalyst’s Conundrum” had those in the audience rocking out, pumping fists, hooting and hollering and clamoring for more guitar rock. While the show was long by Mercury Lounge standards, it left those in attendance wanting more. They may have taken some time off, but make no mistake: Rose Hill Drive is back. —R. Zizmor