Josh Rouse at the Courtyard Theatre
With a soulful, delicate delivery and amusing moments in between songs, Josh Rouse delivered a heartwarming performance on a cold Friday night. In the intimate venue of the Courtyard Theatre, the American singer started his stint of ten English cities before continuing on his European tour.
As the lights went down, Rouse entered onto the stage – the guitar was already in place – and immediately created a pleasant atmosphere in the the room with I’m Your Man. Swinging and playing with gusto, the songwriter made the audience smile with the witty lyrics. His fingers slid swiftly on the fretboard as the rhythm increased with Some Days I’m Golden All Night. Supported only from time to time by background heartbeat tracks, the artist performed acoustic versions of old and new tunes.
For his latest single, Love in the Modern Age, Rouse asked for the help of the crowd, who chanted along on the chorus. Inspired by the poetry of Leonard Cohen, the number is a tribute to the lovers, especially those struggling and surviving the challenging present. The classic rendition of the piece cleared the melody of the digital tones he experiments with on the online version – which was published about a month ago. The loss of the synthesizers left space for more folky sounds instead.
Recently returned to the States after ten years in Spain, Rouse told some anecdotes of getting used to the cultural shocks he experienced when leaving Europe. Hinting at the latest current affairs, he jokingly apologised for the lyrics of Women and the Wind, which melancholically charts the wavering love of female counterparts.
The marked rhythm of Comeback filled the venue, whereas Sad Motherfucker closed the first part of the show with giggles and amused faces everywhere. A much-needed song for today’s events in the world – as the singer introduced it – Winter in the Hamptons vibrated with a pop rhythm, enjoyably mixed with folk notes by the harmonica.
Towards the end of the night, the requests from the audience became louder, until Rouse finally digressed from the programme to play Feeling No Pain and Dressed Up Like Nebraska. Although the singer noted he hadn’t performed the first track for a long time, it was one of the most harmonious pieces of the night, engaging the public the best.
Experimenting with soft tunes and combining them with touching lyrics, Josh Rouse continues to enchant with his emotional music, marked by distinct acoustic sounds.
Photo: Yufan Wang
For further information and future events visit the Josh Rouse website here.
Watch the video for Julie (Come Out of the Rain here: