Most fans of the Minneapolis-based folk-rock band Rogue Valley know them from having a well-deserved spot on the soundtrack from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The band was in New York City for a show at Mercury Lounge on Thursday night, and in addition to bringing some lower temperatures from Minnesota with them, they also brought their incredibly blissful mix of folk and indie rock to the Lower East Side for a night.
Having recently released their first album since 2011 this past summer with Radiate/Dissolve, the group brought a brand new batch of songs to introduce to New Yorkers, who packed the room pretty impressively for an early headlining set. The five-piece opened the set with the lead track off the new album with the very cowboy-sounding “The Brightest Stars.” From the first lyrical line of the night, singer Chris Koza’s soothing vocals were on point and didn’t lose any of its poetic personality when singing over the band’s equally impressive tight and clear sound.
There’s no clutter with this band when they perform live. Each instrument from each member is like a body organ, each providing their specific gifts and artistic contributions while not doing anything more than necessary to help the machine run effectively. Perhaps that’s what draws people to their incredibly organic sound. It’s their efficient style of musical composition that allows them to sound as fantastic live as they do on their albums.
Throughout the eleven-song set, Koza’s voice and acoustic guitar, alongside lead guitarist Peter Sieve’s accompanying lead guitar additions seemed to have everyone in the audience thrilled to hear the new tunes from the band including the haunting “Loom” and “Transference.” The band’s other vocalist and keyboard player, Linnea Mohn, shined just as brightly in her own light while leading the way with “Somewhere In Massachusetts.”
While they added in some older material, the highlight of the night was of course “The Wolves & The Ravens,” which unlike most past hit singles, is organic and true enough to still stand strong when played on Thursday even though most fans in the audience have probably heard it a million times on their pre-sleep or chill out playlists.
Rogue Valley don’t tour across the country as often as other bands may, but when they do visit your town, their shows are truly a one of a kind organic and honest musical experience that should not and cannot be missed if given the chance to see them.
The Brightest Stars
Bury Your Heart
Bay of Pigs
The Color Wheel
Somewhere In Massachusetts
The Wolves & The Ravens
Red River of the North