We love being haunted.
On 23 July Rose Wintergreen brought the haunt at the Toff in Town.
What does it mean to be haunted? Rose Wintergreen summoned ghosts of memories past. She wove stories of the intersection between vivid dreams and half-forgotten memories. These are not the stories of eating a tuna sandwich in the summertime. This is 9pm in the middle of winter and you’re not quite sure if you’re creating a new memory or reliving an existing one. You’re not quite sure if you’ve been here before.
This is music that pulls at something hidden deep within us.
Rose Wintergreen is something of a phenomenon. Originally establishing herself as an acoustic folk artist, she’s since expanded her sound with a range of new colours and textures. In addition to her guitar, Wintergreen introduced four backing singers, electric violin, piano, electronic backing tracks, a looper and even a kalimba. The result was lush and varied, extending beyond what the handful of musicians on stage would imply.
Rose Wintergreen’s set mainly consisted of new songs selected from her upcoming album. But she also managed to sneak in a couple of cheeky covers – Teardrop and Sweet Dreams – both performed solo with looped vocals. From unassuming, almost unrecognisable beginnings, Wintergreen added layer after sublime layer to build toward a dense texture of intricately woven vocal melodies.
The single she was launching – ‘This City’ – rounded off the set as a kind of dark lullaby to see her audience off into the night. The song spins a story of reclaiming the boundary between the self and the other, anthropomorphising the city as an intimidating and assimilating force. Both words and music would be at home in a Tim Burton film, juxtaposing the dark and mysterious with the personal and fragile.