Caroline Rose is a supernova, one who went out with a bang this Saturday at Black Cat for the final stop of the 2021 Superstar tour. March 6, 2020 might have been an awful time to put out an album, but following quarantine hiatus, Caroline Rose proved they haven’t missed a beat, showcasing their irreverent, sexy-awkward charm and funky, synth sound to match.
The show opened with Joanna Sternberg, who charmed the crowd with their vulnerability and endearing folk sound.
Before long, Caroline Rose bursts on stage in a flash of bold, primary red. They start with “More of the Same,” off the artist’s latest album, Superstar (2021). When they finish, they call into the crowd to get them a drink. Can the whole band have shots, actually?
After a band-wide tequila shot, someone yells, “Jeannie Becomes a Mom!,” begging to play one of the artist’s top hits next. Excitedly, Rose gives the people what they want. Tonight, they’re all about having fun.
Between off-the-cuff jokes Rose’s lyrics maintain their sweetly sardonic perspective. As Rose sings, “Do you think we’ll last forever? No pressure though, you just tell me yes or no,” you can’t help but chuckle. Later, they taunt the screaming crowd with their custom red-striped bomber jacket, just to say they probably won’t throw it. It’s the coolest thing they own. Rose’s understanded humor runs through their work seamlessly, and it’s a treat to watch.
After moving through hits from Superstar and Loner (2018), Rose gives us background on their tri-tone set lights. They fashioned the set themself with flood lights they stole from Lowe’s. That’s okay, though, the singer reassures us. The money would’ve gone to Republicans. In front of the set’s white sheets, the vibrant colors cast stunning shadows over Rose, their band, and an endless array of synths and red guitars.
Later in the set, Rose cuts their dazzling lights. “Can someone give me their phone?” the artist calls out. A teen center stage jots their phone out to hand to Rose. “What is this, an iPhone 4?” Rose quips. “How do you turn the flashlight on?”
After troubleshooting, Rose says this is something they’ve been wanting to try out. Rose holds the single, iPhone 4, spotlight to illuminate their face as they get vulnerable, about performing, COVID, and everything else going on in the world. In an intimate, sentimental, slowed-down version of “Getting to Me,” Rose takes a minute to bear their soul.
Rose’s live performance was full of texture, featuring the vulnerability, vocal strain, jokes, and leg kicks that are lost in their recorded material. Hearing Rose live, you get the glitz-y pop sound you know and love, but with an added grit you didn’t know you needed. Each moment of the performance got me more hooked on Rose than the last. In watching videos of past-performances, Roses’s klutzy stage presence may seem hard to watch. This was not the case seeing Rose at Black Cat. On stage, their personality strikes one as incredibly authentic, playful, and completely their own. For fans of artist, Rose’s performance is even funnier, weirder, queer-er than you could hope for.
As the last show of the Superstar tour, Saturday night at Black Cat certainly felt like a celebration.
Check out our shots from the show down below.
Make sure to check out Caroline Rose on Spotify, here. (But honestly, let’s hope they come back ASAP.)