Rogue Wave @ Black Cat - 3/31/2018

Oakland, California-based Rogue Wave have been making their melodic indie rock for a decade and a half now, having released six albums of original songs and, most recently, an album of covers last year. But if only one record of their extensive output were destined to be considered a classic, it would almost certainly be their third release, 2007’s Asleep at Heaven’s Gate. It, and in particular the song “Lake Michigan,” was the record which brought the band to a wider audience and cemented their position as an important band in the indie rock scene of the last decade. But it was almost destined to become a lost classic, as the album went out of print and has been unavailable for several years. A new, remastered and expanded vinyl edition released by Slow Down Sounds in March corrects that. The band’s tour in support of that release brought them to the Black Cat on Saturday night.

Rogue Wave performing at the Black Cat in Washington, DC on March 31st, 2018 (photo by Matt Condon / @arcane93)

Rogue Wave performing at the Black Cat in Washington, DC on March 31st, 2018 (photo by Matt Condon / @arcane93)

This time around, the band had a singular focus – playing Asleep at Heaven’s Gate from start to finish. While a few songs from the album (“Harmonium,” “Chicago X 12,” and in particular, of course, “Lake Michigan”) have remained staples of the band’s setlist over the years, others like “Phonytown,” “Fantasies,” and “Christians in Black” have made few if any setlist appearances in years. At one point frontman Zach Rogue thanked the audience for bearing with the lesser-known tracks, but isn’t that what a full-album tour is about? At any rate, he needn’t have worried – it was clear that most of the audience knew the album front-to-back and were thrilled at every note. The band played the twelve tracks of the original album, opting not to do any of the four bonus tracks from the new edition (though Rogue seemed impressed when one audience member called out for one of them, “I Can Die,” during the encore).

For the encore, the band chose to look even further back, going back to the first album Out of the Shadow for “Nourishment Nation.” They followed this with two tracks from 2005’s Descended Like Vultures, “Bird On a Wire” and “Publish My Love,” and then ended the night with the 2006 single-only track “Eyes.”

The show was opened by LA indie pop quartet Dear Boy, who released their latest single “Love Interest” in January. The band, which has only released two EPs and a handful of singles since their debut in 2013, seems finally ready to break out, making their first big east coast trek. Their high-energy set was well received and showed that they’re going to be one to watch in the future.


Photos by Matt Condon
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