Jeff Rosenstock joins All People surprise performance

Ben Shooter, Associate Arcade Editor

Acclaimed punk-rocker Jeff Rosenstock is no stranger to the indie music venues of New Orleans, but the Nov. 6 show at Hey! Cafe stands out as one of his most intimate. The concert was put together at the last minute, becoming a sort of surprise show.  

“We were planning on coming through New Orleans on our day off anyway just to hang out, so it seemed stupid to come through and not play a show,” Rosenstock said.  

The tiny room where Hey! Cafe places its performers was already half-full with amps, drums and guitars as a dedicated audience gradually began to fill every available inch of space. The first act to perform was Dan Potthast, who started out strumming an acoustic guitar and singing without accompaniment. Vivid and often humorous images of romance, po-boys and college life played out in Potthasts lyrics. Then, halfway through his set, Potthast shifted gears, inviting members of the other bands and some audience members to join him on guitar, bass, drums and keyboard, concluding in an energetic ska jam.

Next, New Orleans local All People took the stage, filling the room even more with its frantic stage presence. The band relied heavily on material from its new album, still yet to be released. This meant many in the audience were unfamiliar with most of the songs, though anyone who has this years Community Records sampler CD may have picked up on the jangling riff of “Naught.” All Peoples bold setlist choices paid off, and allowed both the band’s energy and musicianship to shine. Daniel Ray, the band’s trombonist, vocalist and keyboardist stood out in particular, balancing all of these duties while thrashing around and playfully colliding with audience members in the now-packed room.

Tiny Moving Parts, Rosenstocks touring opener from Minnesota, changed things up. The band’s sound, while decidedly punk, was much more technical. Guitarist Dylan Mattheisens melodies were often based around complex tapping patterns, as bassist Matthew Chevalier riffed around him. Drummer Billy Chevalier seemed like a blur of motion as he performed a number of demanding rhythms and fills. While the power-trio didnt engage the audience as actively as the bands before them did, they played an excellent set, impressing the audience with their tight execution of songs like “Always Focused.”  

By Jeff Rosenstocks set, things were already feeling hot and sweaty, and the room was filled to capacity with fans. This wasnt a problem at all for Rosenstock — his distinct brand of indie-punk seemed to bring a new energy to the crowd. As Rosenstock launched into the gritty power-chords of songs like “You In Weird Cities,” audience members moshed and crowd-surfed across the room. Rosenstock himself got in on the action, spiraling into the crowd with his guitar, as fans backed him up, singing along on all the choruses. While the show may have started out as a last minute decision, it will certainly live long in the memories of those who attended.