Concert Review: Rhoseway @ the Jive Hive, 03/27/2023

The Jive Hive is a special place, and not just because of the audio/visual capabilities it has to offer for local musicians. Beneath the sheen of the lighting rig and multi-camera live streams, the beating heart of the Hive is community, and that’s what makes being there in person to see a band play such a memorable experience. On Monday, March 27, I got to be in the room to witness just such a set from Rhoseway.

Rob Fleming (joined by Matt Niedbalski on drums) charmed the small in-person audience with his clear voice and dark, soothing melodies. From the opening notes of “Ode to Arrows” to a final drum and guitar freakout to round out the set, Rhoseway created a unique and inviting atmosphere that pulled me in. Fleming is engaging as a performer without ever seeming overly performative. His mid-song chatter is minimal, mostly letting the songs speak for themselves, but he conveys a connection to the material when singing and playing that speaks volumes.

In the middle of the set, we were treated to a trio of covers that sat well in the midst of the original material: Neil Young’s “On the Beach,” the Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” and Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over.” The first and last of these, in particular, integrated nearly seamlessly into the lineup of original tunes.

There’s a subtle tension to Rhoseway’s songs that hooks you and pulls you along. Fleming’s voice rises and dips around his understated but lovely guitar playing, and Niedbalski’s drumming propels the songs forward. Sometimes this tension is released in bigger sonic moments, and sometimes it refuses to give you the overt resolution you might be expecting. “Cloak & Dagger,” for instance, has a melody that floats above an insistent drumbeat, and just when things feel like they’re going to explode, Rhoseway reels things back in. In general, Fleming’s songs play with dynamics, melody, and harmonic movement in a way that keeps you engaged throughout.

It’s always a pleasure to get to see local artists perform their music, and getting to do so at the Jive Hive among a crew of people who are enthusiastic about the music they help to capture in video and audio form is a unique experience. I’ve never encountered a place that manages to convey both this level of professionalism and such an infectious DIY attitude. Given that sort of environment, the right artist can make something special happen, and that’s what Rhoseway did at this show.

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