Rogue Wave at the Rickshaw Stop, by Debra Zeller
Rogue Wave (by: Debra Zeller)

Hometown heroes Rogue Wave returned to the stage last night to celebrate their recently released Cover Me (an album of reinvented 1980s songs) and transport the sold out Rickshaw Stop back a few decades to the hairspray-laden, synth-heavy pop perfection of the ’80s. The show was presented by Popscene and Noise Pop — the landmark San Francisco festival now in their 25th year.

Before Rogue Wave enraptured the crowd with a great set of inspired nostalgia, DJ and Popscene co-founder Aaron Axelsen spun indie and well-known tunes from the era that brought us hair metal and The Cure‘s greatest hits. Next up was local act The New Up who rocked an early arriving crowd with their darker take on electropop. I was really looking forward to seeing Middle Kids — who just released their debut EP last week — and the band didn’t disappoint. The group from Sydney, Australia ripped through a melodic set of songs, punctuated by first single “Edge of Town.” Lead singer Hannah Joy’s piercing vocals, in full command and rich with longing, played beautifully over bandmates Tim Fitz and Harry Day’s jangly guitars and propulsive song work.

Middle Kids at the Rickshaw Stop, by Debra Zeller

And rounding out the fun-filled ’80s-fueled night, was headliner Rogue Wave. Over their 15-year career, these Oakland natives have always shown an affection for the decade of their youth — in their bright melodies and the in-studio stylings of some of Zach Rogue’s finest recorded moments. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when the band released Cover Me earlier this month, their ode to the ’80’s — chock-full of fresh interpretations of some of the best songs from the decade. In concert at Rickshaw Stop, the audience was treated to a set full of tracks from the album and an encore with some of Rogue Wave’s most standout tracks.

Rogue Wave at the Rickshaw Stop, by Debra Zeller

It’s always a thrill to watch artists dip into their past and wonder how it will propel their future sound. No doubt, the joy the band emitted from the stage comes through on wax with Cover Me. Where Rogue Wave will transport us to next is unknown, but no doubt it’ll be a trip worthy of the band’s own powerful catalog. Check out Rogue Wave’s set list below and watch their video for the Pete Townshend classic, “Let My Love Open the Door.”

Rogue Wave at Rickshaw Stop, February 24, 2017

“Rescue” (Echo & the Bunnymen)
“In Between Days” (The Cure)
“Let My Love Open the Door” (Pete Townshend)
“That’s All” (Genesis)
“Sharp Dressed Man” (ZZ Top)
“Bette Davis Eyes” (Kim Carnes)
“She Sells Sanctuary” (The Cult)
“Under the Milky Way” (The Church)
“Talking in Your Sleep” (The Romantics)


“Publish My Love” (from Descended Like Vultures)
“Ghost” (from Asleep At Heaven’s Gate)
“Lake Michigan” (from Asleep At Heaven’s Gate)