All photos by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Tuesday night at Johnny Brenda’s an odd, yet inviting sound came forth from the miniature stage and dark, moody lighting – Sade’s whole album, Love Deluxe, as covered by the underrated North Carolina alt-rockers The Rosebuds. And if that seems like an unlikely pairing, consider the fact that the band fronted by the once married Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp released this cover album for free last year and had not released new non-holiday oriented material for two years (they did put out a Christmas album last year as well). Add to this the fact that Crisp was absent (due to being back at school in New York) and you have a night of the seemingly unexpected.
But, if you know how talented Howard is, you could sense this would be a satisfying experience, especially with a solid five piece backing band. Though the crowd was sparse – no more than 75 people attended – the reception for the delivery of such Sade classics as album opener “No Ordinary Love” was quite warm. It was an intimate evening of music that ended with two great notes – the delivery of one of their finest tunes off of my favorite work of theirs (Birds Make Good Neighbors), “Blue Bird,” and a brand new song to end the night. Of course the lack of Crisp’s harmonies was felt, but there is promise for more aural plumage in the future.