May 20, 2004
Local rock band Rotary Downs played blues for those who haven't found their calling. Detached, dark ambivalent rock divided into many layers. They created beautiful soundscapes.
The band's strength was expressing a stated feeling precisely by knowing when to cue the horn, organ, or pedal steel guitar and interweave them correctly. This made them great musicians and one of the top ten rock bands in New Orleans(if we have to count Better Than Ezra and Cowboy Mouth).
Rotary Downs transformed d.b.a. into a loud rock club Thursday night. The band played many new songs either unrecorded or from their new six song Quitters EP. They offered their first CD for free along with a purchased EP. Their new songs were very enjoyable, maybe even more so than the great collection on their last album, Long After The Thrill. This album incorporated a pedal steel guitar into their sound, while the new EP added a trumpet and some organ additives into the brew. The trumpet made the band's laments sound official. Earnest trumpet playing in a rock band automatically heralds feelings in a song. So, what will they add next? How many more textures? These are the questions—maybe only for me.
Rotary Downs drew an indie rock crowd and packed the performance room. They branched out onto the floor and adorned their gear with two old school red and blue lamps. Nice touch.
The band started out the set aware of d.b.a.'s stuffiness, but I eventually saw them smiling and joking around. This had a lot to do with one girl. She was the sparkplug in the "cooler than thou, can't really show my emotions cause then I would be uncool" indie crowd. I think she "woooooed" herself out, and when she yelled that the band rocked, the drummer said, "No, you guys rock!" Then, I thought to myself, "Yes, I do rock," and then I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.
The band played sleepy music with half spoken/half sung vocals, but they could rock out well(Rockwell?) with their offbeat sound(number of times the word "rock" has appeared in this review: 11). They were a little too stoic when the rocking out happened, so if they hold back, they shouldn't. There's already enough people out there ready to chastise someone for properly enjoying an intelligent rock band.
Ahhhhh, the future for Rotary Downs. Keep it coming.(13)