Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Caroline Rose, Exchange, Bristol, 04/06/2023

Photo Credit: Jack Delve

Originating from Long Island in New York, USA and gracing the stage in Bristol for the first time in her career, we headed down to the Exchange to see indie-rock singer and songwriter Caroline Rose. Following the release of her fourth studio album The Art Of Forgetting in March, this is the artist’s first full-length tour of the UK and Europe since 2018 (apart from a couple of one off shows in 2022.) Since her last major outing in the UK, she released an unfortunately timed third album Superstar which came into the world just before the first pandemic lockdown, however the heavy synths and unforgettable basslines of it did help us get through those months!

Local project Tamasene consisting of Elliot Ellison and Samuel Fox opened the night which was the first time the band performed as a duo with just a guitar and a lap steel. The intimate set was initiated with a horn solo from the frontman before going straight into psychedelic infused tracks and great chemistry between the members. Although not our usual genre for Bring The Noise, fans of music with a laidback indie vibe or even music reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys’ sixth album Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino, will love this band when they release their debut single Tough to chew on July 7th and their debut album later this year. With the whole crowd swaying to the calm tracks, it is obvious that the Tamasene boys know exactly where they want to be heading with their music in the coming months and years. 7/10

Taking to the stage, Caroline Rose and her band opened with Rebirth, a track bursting with waviness and eerie vocals juxtaposed with gentle acoustic guitar chords set the atmosphere for the set as a whole. As the album version sounded so ambitious it was great to hear it sounding as close as the band could get to it. The singer opted to have the first half of her set dedicated to her recent album which meant Tell Me What You Want and Everywhere I Go I Bring the Rain. For the latter, the band let Rose play an extended outro by herself in which the audience watched as it was just one woman and her guitar captivating an entire room. The singer remarked that it felt like they had been on the road for at least seven years as they had just crossed the pond after an extensive run of North American gigs. She admitted that at points, she’s even forgotten what city they’ve been playing at, giving an example of her thanking the Mexico City audience, to a crowd in Phoenix, Arizona.

Slowing down the set and closing the portion of the evening dedicated to The Art Of Forgetting, Rose played the tranquil Stockholm Syndrome and Love Song For Myself before arriving at the songs that many of the concertgoers may have discovered the artist with. Despite not being singles, More of the Same and Jeannie Becomes a Mom from her 2018 record Loner may be her songs with the most staying power in people’s playlists. They opened the second half of the set and you could be mistaken for thinking that the album tracks were just being played because that is how true to the original Caroline and her band got. Although the originals had a synth aspect to them, we loved that it was brought out even more in the live performances of them.

Unfortunately, only touching on her 2020 record Superstar for two songs, she chose two of the singles that were released prior, including Feel the way I want. She then understandably returned to the 2018 record for the two closing tracks, the self-proclaimed feminist anthem Bikini and Money which sounds like it is right out of a country and western movie with its repeating electric guitar riff. Raising the energy of the room right at the end seemed like a perfect choice as the rest of the set was a relaxing view into Caroline Rose’s masterful song writing. One aspect of Rose’s discography we wish was featured in the set however, was her 2014 debut I Will Not Be Afraid. Even though the Americana genre of that album does seem a far cry from what the singer is releasing today, we do think that it would have been interesting to see what spin she could’ve given on some of the tracks considering her current synth and indie sound.

Even as this was her first time in Bristol city, we could tell that she felt welcomed by the crowd and will definitely want to come back after this gig. We can see that Caroline Rose can hook the audience of a venue like the Exchange but we just wish that she was visiting locations with bigger capacities because her music and live atmosphere would definitely suit much larger audiences. Despite this, for only her third time to the country, the Bristol audience were into the music as soon as she stepped on stage to the second the final track was finished. 9/10

Photos and Review By Jack Delve