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All words by Jeb Gavin
All photos by Michelle Yass

Supposedly, Thursday is the new Friday.  And 30 is the new 20.  And self-serving anachronisms are the new aging gracefully.  Luckily, my inner- dirty old man overruled my inner- grumpy old man when a cute girl invited me to check out the Rosebuds when they played the Rock and Roll Hotel down on H Street this past Thursday night.

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The Raleigh, North Carolina indie rock band was, in as few words as possible, consummate professionals.  Playing to a small crowd in small club, The Rosebuds trotted through a pleasantly earnest 80 minute set playing songs selected from the depth of their eight year career, despite this being the penultimate show touring behind their latest album, Loud Planes Fly Low.  Actually, penultimate might not be accurate.  As keyboardist Kelly Crisp pointed out, DC was the end of the tour, but they were still going to play in Richmond on Friday- if anyone felt like showing up.

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In addition to the solid mix of older songs and new material, the band kept everyone engaged, at times politely instructing the crowd to dance, and not once but twice leading the audience in a call-and-response chorus.  Crisp’s ex-husband, lead singer and guitarist Ivan Howard worked the more-than half full room with charm and aplomb.  The former couple has an easy grace with the audience, conversing directly with the crowd, both as an entity and to individuals therein (particularly the drunken members of opening act The Moderate.)  At one point, a loud discussion over college basketball broke out, the loudest opinion proffering the superiority of NC State over neighbors Duke and UNC.  Keenly aware of his surroundings, Ivan ended the conversation; he claimed to be a Juan Dixon fan.
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Often you can judge the confidence of a band by the time between songs.  Nervous new bands are anxious to explain their songs.  They talk too much, and take too long tuning guitars and adjusting microphones.  They never seem to have as much fun playing as the audience does listening.  As the easy give and take between Howard and Crisp illustrates, they are old hands at playing smaller venues, and consistently pleasing their fans.  Watching the Rosebuds play, you can sense they seem genuinely happy to be making music.  Their warmth sustained me for the drive home, alone.

As for the lady, she hoped a flight out of DC after the show.  I went home alone to drink rye and watch NCIS reruns.  Barring that, it was a pretty good night.

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