Caroline Rose performed an unhinged set at Union Transfer on their second lap with 'The Art of Forgetting' - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

For their second lap supporting The Art of Forgetting, Caroline Rose switched up the set, improvised with the setlist, and refocused the experience on having fun. La Force opened up for Rose Friday night at Union Transfer, and they too seemed to be on the same page.

La Force’s set had a false start, or so it seemed. Ariel Engle was checking levels, which ever-so-sneakily lead into playing back messages from a voicemail machine. The stop button would click, then the rewind button, a fragment played, and again the stop button would click.

Following a crowd grabbing performance of “XO Skeleton,” the title track of La Force’s latest album, Engle tapped into a sensitive desire, one she had while writing the song “Protection.” Unreleased, the song is about wanting to protect those you love, and accepting the things you can’t protect them from.

Engle was dressed in a red, straight jacket-like dress with many straps that wrapped around.  As “Ouroboros” went along, she pulled a strap, and a chunk of the dress fell. La Force’s set, accompanied by macabre projections, showed vulnerability and a seeker’s desire to go deeper.

La Force | photo by Megan Matuzak

Friday night, Caroline Rose was on one. They were in a silly, almost ambivalent mood: they playfully missed cues, brought up unhinged banter topics, wrapped their mouth around the whole microphone head and blew in and out like it was a train whistle, and creeped between the projector screens behind the backing vocals and band members.

But one of Rose’s on-stage antics “backfired.” Jokingly, they doubled down from the last time they were at Union Transfer, extrapolating that AI can’t mess up on stage like a performer can, and that maybe there should be a “tax on crowds” because of this. Balled up dollar bills were thrown on stage, scattered around thier feet. Some twenties were thrown, which they seductively waved and tucked into their Muay Thai shorts and bra.

Rose’s set was a lot like a roller coaster slowly creeping up the incline, the mechanisms clicking and your full body weight pressed against the back of the bench. Early in the set, Rose played the hazy, introspective song “The Doldrums” off The Art of Forgetting, and a few songs later off the same album, a song about depression’s influence on daily life:  “Everywhere I Go I Bring the Rain.”

The top of the incline, just before the drop, arrived with the iconic synth chords of “More of the Same” off Caroline Rose’s 2018 breakout album LONER. The crowd cheered loudly with several people turning to the other to give that “this is our favorite” look.  The euphoric, dizzying, racing decline delivered a promised thrill. Then, Caroline Rose and her band opened up the floodgates with “Bikini” and “Money.”

To end their set, Caroline Rose stage dove during “The Kiss,” a move that’s become their signature. (Though they did have to direct the Union Transfer crowd back to the stage after getting a little too close to being dumped into the lighting booth.)

Caroline Rose at Union Transfer
  • Love/Lover/Friend
  • Rebirth
  • Miami
  • Better Than Gold
  • Everywhere I Go I Bring the Rain
  • The Doldrums
  • The Kiss
  • Cornbread
  • Stockholm Syndrome
  • Tell Me What You Want
  • Florida Room
  • 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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