Canadian one-man power-pop act Rosedale returns to the Cowgirl this Thursday April 27 at 8 pm to make us all think things like, “Dude, blink-182’s Dude Ranch was actually pretty sick!”
Just kidding—nobody but my dumb friend Jasper thinks that anymore, and Rosedale's Mike Liorti has a far more nuanced sound than that particular band's early stuff anyway. "Throwback" would be too harsh a term, but for fans of acts like Honorary Title or later Green Day or, yes, blink-182, Liorti hits all the right notes (ha—music jokes) in a pop-punk way, yeah, but also as a songwriter who pulls from the heavy-hitters of the genre's greatest hits and histories for inspiration, while simultaneously embracing his own damn thoughts and feelings and ideologies and celebrity crushes.
Anyway, legend has it Rosedale basically followed the infamous Warped Tour everywhere he could for years, playing the parking lots and winning the hearts of the people and honing his act. Even today he's on the road basically nonstop playing solo, getting tighter and putting on one hell of a show. I spoke with Liorti to try out a little something where he was given a lead-in to a sentence to be completed on the spot with very little time to formulate an answer. Here are the results:
Pop punk is …
not what I play. I'm more along the lines of alternative power-pop, I guess. There's some punk influence, but it's more of the early-2000s/late-'90s realm. I guess there are some emo influences in there as well, but not so much lyrically. (Author's note: Damn, genre lines get blurry.)
When I was setting out as a musician, I couldn't stop listening to …
Box Car Racer [by Box Car Racer]. That album, front-to-back, changed my life, and once I saw it live, it was over. Grades went down, couldn't score anymore on the ice (Author's note: This is probably about hockey because Canada) and music, production gear and skateboarding were the only things that mattered. I'd been playing music before that, but I really started leaning towards the idea of making it my life after seeing those kind of punk/club shows.
I play solo because …
it just has never worked out with band members or fill-in guys. Nobody else cares. Not only do I play solo, but I manage Rosedale. I'm the booking agent, the merch person, the producer, video director, designer, editor … everything.
These days, music is considered a hobby. A side gig. I get it—nobody is gonna love my baby as much as me, and that's totally fine, but it seems like all these hobbyist part-timers [like] managers, producers, booking agents, drummers, etc. are so preoccupied with modern-day 'growing up' distractions that as soon as a speck of hard times hit, they're out!
It explains why people don't bother going to shows anymore. There's so much doubt, because 99 percent of musicians don't care to entertain their audience these days. They're bored! So they leave right after their friends' bands because they doubt it's gonna get any better. The only real-lifers left are already in bands. If not, hit me up at email@example.com—everyone gets a chance.
When I perform, I secretly …
overthink: Sell it! Performance over passion! Eye contact! Open your eyes! Smile! Be grateful! Move! Body Language! Be Present! Get her eyes off her phone! Don't do what you did last night at this part! Dammit! I guess it's not all so secret, but it's probably the reason I sweat so much.
People will like Rosedale if …
they give it a chance. I can't count how many people have said, 'Not gonna lie, this is really not my style of music, but you made me like it,' then they buy a CD. I'm often considered a hater by my friends; there are so many bands I don't like from all genres, but then there are about five bands from every genre that I can sing every word and feel something. I call those 'Cleaners,' referencing Tim Grover's book Relentless. Call it conceited, but I believe I'm on my way to being a Cleaner. I just need more people to ignore doubt and give it a chance—a huge challenge these days.
My ultimate goal is to…
inspire mass audiences to pursue their passion and go all in. To be an example that getting through bad luck and loneliness builds a character that is unstoppable. The only way to fail is to quit, and there's always a way to keep going if you reinvent and take the leap everyone else thinks you're crazy for taking.
8 pm Thursday April 27. Free.
319 S Guadalupe St.,
Skylight Set to Close
Owners of the downtown nightclub Skylight (139 W San Francisco St., 982-0775) tell SFR they plan to stop regular operations following this weekend's activities, which include a benefit for the Santa Fe Dreamers Project on Friday and a farewell party on Saturday. The club's hours had already been drastically cut.
Opened in 2014 after former tenant Milagro 139 shut its doors, the cavernous 7,000-square-foot space containing three separate bars became a haven for local and touring DJs, comedians and dance events such as EmiArte Flamenco. Skylight also hosted bigger-name touring bands such as The Dandy Warhols, X and Surfer Blood. With roughly 25 employees, the closure also comes as a blow to local service industry workers.
"The largest impact of this is not on me, it's not on the partners," managing partner Kate Kennedy says. "It's the staff and the role we play in the community."
Kennedy points to debt that they couldn't climb out of, caused by slow winter business, the buying out of several partners who left the business last year and two citations from the Department of Alcohol and Gaming in 2015.
"That, coupled with the impact of immigration policies, have affected some of our customer base, specifically on our international nights," Kennedy tells SFR. She also estimates that nearly 100 renters, promoters and entertainers will be affected by the closure.
For now, Skylight plans to honor all of the events currently booked through October and will possibly restructure. Kennedy says the liquor license allows the club to host one-off or picnic events. "We are working diligently to uphold those agreements," Kennedy explains. "We refuse to be the bar that was going to just lock up and not say anything, and we do want everyone to come out this weekend—we want to own our mistakes and we want to thank our supporters."
The farewell party will run from 2 pm-2 am Saturday April 29, and Kennedy says she's helped employees find positions at other local businesses.