The lows and high of Caroline Rose at Union Transfer - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Tuesday night at Union Transfer the WXPN community welcomed listener-favorite Caroline Rose to the stage, touring their latest album The Art of Forgetting. The first time Rose and the band played these songs live was at a record release day Free At Noon concert a few weeks back; here, fans got to hear the album in an expansive setting, and more.

Hammydown | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN

Former bandmate and best friend to Caroline Rose Abbie Morin & their band Hammydown set the vibe off with a set of self-proclaimed “sad gaze” music. Morin commented on how attractive the everyone in the crowd is, and further how Philadelphia is an amazing, safe, and welcoming space for trans and gender-nonconforming artists to perform and feel welcome. They also politely — yet firmly — directed objectors to “get the f*** out” which set the building off with allied cheers.

After a changeover, Rose took center stage alone in the nearly pitch-black venue, only to be illuminated by a single projector spotlight while plucking to the touring album’s intro track “Love / Lover / Friend”. Right away fans could anticipate that they were in for something they’ve never experienced from Rose before. The new emo-symphonic sound, matched with colorful pulsing projections of light by John Foresman (who’s recently done other XPN favorites Car Seat Headrest and Mitski), revealed silhouettes of the band behind white scrims, bringing forth an introspective atmosphere which resonates perfectly with their new album.

Caroline Rose | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN

Rose shared their vulnerability with the audience throughout the of the entire album. “Miami” and “Everywhere I Go I Bring the Rain” especially struck a chord as their heart poured out on the stage in lyrics reviving the memories that brought heartbreak and pain. On the production side, home videos and film photos of Rose were projected onto the screen during the interlude tracks with tape recordings of voicemail messages from their grandmother, giving the audience a view on personal some moments for Rose.

Halfway through the set, the stage lighting went dark and Rose left their post for the first time with just a flashlight and a microphone and began to perform “The Kiss,” which became one of the most memorable performances of the evening. Singing the lyrics “For the kiss, I would do almost anything, for the kiss of someone new,” Rose slowly paced through the crowd to the elevated railing in the back of the house. “We’re going to do a trust fall, so get real close” they said before graciously falling backwards into the crowd who faithfully passed them back to stage, smiling through the whole journey.

Caroline Rose | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN

Rose returned the to the keyboard to play “Jill Says,” a song written about interactions with their therapist who “decided to go on vacation right before this tour” mentions Rose sarcastically. They wrapped up with Rose’s “favorite song to play right now”, the album’s closing track “WhereDdo I Go From Here.” At the conclusion, Rose stated “The sad songs are over, now we’re going to play the greatest hits!”

Rather than leave the stage for an encore, Rose remained in place to perform the solo acoustic “ Goodbye May” while the production team brought the band in front of the scrims to share the stage with Rose. The synth into “More of the Same” hit, prompting dance and applause from the crowd who was ready to dance and sing along. Other tracks on the Caroline Rose “greatest hits” include “Jeannie Becomes a Mom” and “Feel the Way I Want” off of Superstar, which they sang while running and jumping across the stage and commanding the captivated crowd with funky hand gestures and dances. Rose brought out the rest of the band — band Mike Dondero on bass, Lena Simon on keys, Riley Geare on drums, and Glen Van Dyk on guitar/keys — to take a bow showered by applause. They took to their instruments one last time pop-funk groove “Do You Think We’ll Last Forever,” going out on a finale illuminated cellphone lights.

Caroline Rose | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN

Check out photos from the concert below; Caroline Rose’s tour continues tonight in Richmond, Virginia, and their full roster of dates can be found here.

Caroline Rose
Union Transfer
  • Love / Lover / Friend
  • Rebirth
  • Miami
  • Everywhere I Go I Bring The Rain
  • The Doldrums
  • The Kiss
  • Stockholm Syndrome
  • Tell Me What You Want
  • Love Song For Myself
  • Jill Says
  • Where Do I Go From Here?
  • Goodbye May
  • More of The Same
  • Jeannie Becomes A Mom
  • Feel The Way I Want
  • Do You Think We'll Last Forever?
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