As I entered The Chapel Tuesday night, an excited fan rushed to buy a ticket at the box office, armed with news that the sold out show had a few more tickets to sell. I wasn’t surprised at all by her enthusiasm; this was Daniel Rossen’s first solo tour and he’d built a solid fan base through his other very prominent bands, Grizzly Bear and Department of Eagles.
Rossen opened up his solo, acoustic set with the tumbling and melodic lead-in track off his 2012 EP Silent Hour/Golden Mile, “Up On High.” With his eyes closed, the seasoned performer sang beautifully, setting a mellow yet powerful tone and displaying his unique and completely identifiable sound. With three guitars, a piano and a banjo and his powerful yet delicate vocal strength, Rossen created a full sound and left little to be desired. Seeing him perform defined his contributions to his other projects, not only in his leading roles performing in these bands, but in defining their overall sound. He has a quality in the way he builds melody, and adds texture through intricate picking that is all his own.
The evening was was a mix of Rossen’s solo recorded material and songs from Department of Eagles. Playing the title track off of Department of Eagles’ LP In Ear Park, the feathery and effervescent intro evoked a sense of nostalgia and familiarity as the crowd sang along and anticipated the punctuations of the song. Adding dimension to the set, Rossen played new and old songs from his personal catalogue with a couple of covers, all seemingly unplanned and based off of the crowd’s energy.
Between songs, Rossen’s stage presence was concisely humorous, with updates about his current state and jokes about how long it takes for him to tune his guitar. After letting us know that he didn’t really know what to talk about and wanted to be upfront with that fact, a fan suggested the subject of his favorite color, to which he replied, “I’m not a very visual person.” It was refreshing to see his candid and thoughtful personality and allowing the audience to participate made the atmosphere more intimate.
Ending the night with a one song encore, Rossen, after a moment of suggestions from the crowd both real and joking (Freebird!), covered Judee Sill’s “Waterfall.” He played a beautiful rendition, bringing clarity and intention to the uplifting love song and left us satisfied and content.