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Words By: Rich Lieberman
Rose Hill Drive :: 04.28.07 :: Mercury Lounge :: New York, NY
It's Saturday night, downtown NYC, and Houston Street bustled with New Yorkers who knew where the party was happening. The buzz for this highly anticipated show was undeniable. I recognized Daniel Sproul, guitarist extraordinaire of Rose Hill Drive, out front having a smoke. RHD has taken a grassroots approach, gaining the respect of its fans through their live performances. Along the way, they've garnered considerable critical acclaim, which seems to grow all the time. Tonight, they returned to NYC and a sold out Mercury Lounge but these boys were as laid back as you could get. "We played one of our best shows here in NYC," said bassist/vocalist Jake Sproul. "We love playing here."
Rose Hill Drive by Jake Krolick
Rose Hill Drive consists of Sproul brothers and drummer Nate Barnes. This badass power trio from Boulder, each in their early twenties, has been electrifying audiences with hard-edged rock & roll that instantly hooks listeners and takes them back to the glorious sound of the '70s. They weren't even born when Led Zeppelin called it quits but they're frequently compared to them. The comparison seemed especially appropriate when they broke into Band of Gypsys', "Power To Love," with soaring guitar riffs and an exploding rhythm section. In fact, at their New Year's Eve show RHD covered the entire Gypsys Live at the Fillmore East album from start to finish.
Daniel Sproul by Jake Krolick
Rose Hill Drive released their self-titled debut album last August and has been touring relentlessly ever since. They jumped on the festival circuit playing the likes of Bonnaroo, Langerado and, most recently, the Wanee Festival. They have opened up for some big time bands like The Who, Van Halen and The Black Crowes, just to name a few. But tonight, it was RHD taking center stage, playing to a packed room in downtown NYC, and they would not disappoint.
The boys took to the stage at 11 p.m. and from the opening notes of "Showdown" they were locked in. Their riff heavy grooving in the small brick walled room was pristine and loud. With the packed crowd head banging along in unison with the band, they launched into "The Guru," hard, steady drums leading to the precise but raw guitar and bass work. Jake Sproul's lead vocals were clear and steady all night. The band gained momentum with each song.
It's not a stretch to say that Daniel Sproul is one of the best new axe slingers on the scene. He shredded his Gibson Les Paul through the entire set. They flat out nailed Elmore James' "Look On Yonder Wall" but it's their original material that will sustain this band well into the future.
Rose Hill Drive by Jake Krolick
This was a blazing show from start to finish from an ass kicking band that you better catch soon if you want to see them up close and personal. Rose Hill Drive might not be playing a room like The Mercury Lounge next time around.
Super 400, a power trio from Troy, New York, opened the show. These guys can play. They ripped through a short but heavy set that left me wanting to check them out again. They were a great opener for RHD on a perfect Saturday night in NYC.
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