Photo credit: Sarah Collaton

As an energetic indie band’s popularity increases, its crowds push toward a threshold teetering between mutually respectful enjoyment of the art and selfish obnoxious behaviour that ruins the crowd’s experience. Appropriately-timed polite claps transition to bro chants and shrill woo girls. Before Hey Rosetta! went on last night, the Horseshoe’s MC’s 62nd anniversary introduction name-checked past performances by many beloved artists. It ended with a (quite funny) Nickelback drop that led to much jeering, but ensuing meat-head-ism for the headliner was not that far off from cock-rock’s worst.

So what shouldn’t you do as a crowd participant?

  1. If the front is packed shoulder-to-shoulder (considering the Horseshoe’s poor sight-lines), don’t reach back to pull three of your friends in. Especially halfway through the set.
  2. Don’t get so drunk you’re falling backward over your heels into strangers. Go lean against a wall, rookie.
  3. If you are 6’3″ and 200lbs+, do not push yourself through a much smaller crowd, clapping off-time, throwing your arm around people, and generally making yourself a fool. Then elbow me in the nose without saying sorry. Dude in the Arkell’s hoodie, you’re a jerk.
  4. Don’t makeout with your partner during an anthem with everyone jumping around you. Especially when she’s ugly.
  5. During solo piano ballads, do not:

    1. Pump your first in the air.
    2. Take the opportunity to fill the singer’s dramatic silence with “HEY RO-SET-TA” or “YEAHHHHHH!”. They are not playing a cover of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.
    3. Talk loudly to your drunk friends (“THEY’RE SO GOOOOOD”). You can save that until after the encore.

I’m not alone on this (even if she’s talking about the Friday show). In the same spirit, I can reference to Future of the Left’s live album Last Night I Saved Her From Vampires, which is completed by hilarious between-song banter such as bassist Kelson Mathias’ bit on “Dancing Etiquette”.

Future of the Left – “Dancing Etiquette”

I’m not saying the crowd should silently stand still with arms to their side at all times, but there comes a point where extreme extrovert behaviour is souring the performance’s mood. Show the love, respect your fellow fan, and stop acting like such a knob.

Now the band itself? Awesome, as always. It’s my 4th time seeing them live, the first being more than two years ago at my fav Guelph dive bar, Jimmy Jazz (which never charged cover). For this show, I managed to score a ticket giveaway through the band’s web site (it sometimes pays to join Facebook Pages), but my guest +1 went wasted as friends were either seeing Phoenix at Sound Academy or couldn’t break other social plans with 5 days notice. Which is a shame because I’ve been trying to get as many friends into them as possible since Hey Rosetta’s success so far has been through word of mouth, which led to a nomination for Canada’s Polaris Music Price.

I did notice leader Tim Baker was tentative on his vocals before he admitted to recovering after the previous night’s two-encore set. Romesh’s “Gotta Have More Cowbell”-like tambourine performance more than made up for it! Their set with a solid balance between deliberate and accelerated songs off their past two releases, Plan Your Escape and Into Your Lungs…, along with playing more than half of their (still unrecorded?) upcoming album. This included the Gros Morne tribute for CBC Radio’s Great Canada SongQuest, “Old Crow Black Night Stand Still”, which I quite liked for its diverse movements.

The past three times I’ve seem them, Hey Rosetta! has packed the Horseshoe Tavern and Lee’s Palace, so hopefully next time they’ll move on to a larger venue with room to breathe. They’ll be at MTV Live on Monday, which I’ll be attending so feel free to come along, punch me in the face, and yell, “WOO!”