Hey Vancouver! Hey Rosetta!

Newfoundland indie band rockets to success with egos in check.

As a seventh-grader rocking his first gig, Tim Baker loved the energy he felt belting out Metallica and NOFX tunes in his girlfriend’s basement — even if his voice was octaves higher than he’d wanted it to be. Despite developing a small crush on that rock ‘n roll onstage feeling, the Hey Rosetta! frontman saw himself as more of a folk singer/songwriter than a rock star. But in 2005, after returning home from Concordia University with a degree in sociology and creative writing along with “a pile of songs and a few really embarrassing demos,” Baker realized his songs deserved a full band. “I didn’t initially want to be in a rock band, I thought it would be soft folk instruments with a cello and classical songwriting,” he says from his home in Newfoundland, where the band is currently based. “But somewhere along the way it turned into rock, because it’s just a magnetic thing, and it’s so much fun. So I went looking for people to play with.” Fast-forward to 2010 and his six-piece band has picked up three East Coast Music Awards, a Polaris Music Prize nomination, and has played shows around the globe. Hey Rosetta! is also on the lineup at the Canadian Pavilion in Shanghai for Expo 2010 and will be performing on several Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad stages — including the Orpheum, where they will open for Canadian indie favourites Stars on February 19. “I don’t know how it all happened,” he says. “Steady effort, steady pushing, and many, many, many hours consistently trying to move in a certain direction.” This modest attitude comes through in Baker’s honest, thoughtful lyrics, while the band’s onstage performance, complete with punchy drums and soaring melodies from its string section, radiates energy. Despite his band’s torpedo-speed rise to success, Baker says he still often feels like a “country mouse in the big city.” At a recent show in New York City, he says he was caught off-guard by the warm welcome Hey Rosetta! received. “I’m always surprised when these really cool dudes react so well to our music.” “Stars and Hey Rosetta!” is February 19 at The Orpheum, Smithe Street at Seymour Street, Vancouver; tickets from $32.50 to $37.50. Tickets and more information on “Stars and Hey Rosetta!”

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