Rocky Votolato stopped by the Rhythm Room last March in support of his sixth full-length album, True Devotion. He is known for playing intimate shows, and last night was no different.
Rocky took the stage solo, relying on nothing more than his vocals, guitar and harmonica to capture the audience.
The mellow audience quietly sang along throughout his performance and showed lots of energy when favorites from Makers and Suicide Medicine were played. The crowd seemed to be waiting for "Goldfield," as they erupted into a chorus that nearly overpowered Votolato's vocals. He said the song was about "doing what you want in life even if you're flat fucking broke" while driving through a Nevada ghost town.
Votolato drew on his Americana roots throughout the evening, dedicating "Red River" to "any soldiers in the house, or anyone who has soldiers in their family." He said he has been writing new material as long has he's been growing out his beard, and it was getting pretty long. He played two new, unreleased songs- "Fool's Gold" and "Ghostwriter."
"Mix Tapes/Cell Mates" was dedicated to a fan with a tattoo of the song's lyrics who showed it to Votolato before his performance. He closed with three songs from Suicide Medicine, ending with "Montana." The audience cheered loudly at the song's reference to driving through Arizona.
Rocky shared the bill with fellow singer-songwriter, Matt Pond, who played a stripped down set with a second guitarist and a cellist. His set focused on the more mellow songs from his catalog that translated well to the three person set up.
His first comment was, "So no one's watching the Oscars tonight? You came here? Thank you." Although there was some cross talk during his set, (someone even had to "shh" talking girls during "Starting"), dedicated fans quietly sang along, augmenting Pond's performance.
He played a new song employing "tambourine and cowbell, putting two of the most obnoxious percussion pieces together," as he explained. As stated in our interview, the new album should be finished some time this year.
Rocky Votolato's setlist:
1. Tinfoil Hats
2. White Daisy Passing
3. Fool's Gold
4. Portland is Leaving
5. She was Only it for the Rain
8. Postcards from Kentucky
11. The Night's Disguise
12. Gold Field
13. Red River
15. Mix Tapes/Cell Mates
16. Suicide Medicine
Last Night: Rocky Votolato and Matt Pond at Rhythm Room.
Personal Bias: I first heard Matt Pond's Several Hours Later while working in a record store about five years ago.
The Crowd: Young indie/folk fans, more beards than the eye could see!
Overheard in the Crowd: Rocky- "I've been writing and growing out my beard..."
"Hot bearded summer!"
"That sounds like a good porno."