Hey Rosetta! Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON November 23

Hey Rosetta! Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON November 23
Shortly before Hey Rosetta! took the stage for the first of two nights at the Phoenix, the street outside was a ghost town. Usually that doesn't bode well for what awaits past the bouncers. Nevertheless, the venue was rammed, heavily mustachioed and already a bit drunk. Evidently, the people that like the Newfoundland six-piece like them a lot (i.e., too much to smoke).

Like the Frames or, to a lesser extent, Powderfinger, Hey Rosetta! blends familiar rock tropes -- don't be fooled by the two-piece string section -- and expanding arrangements with general affability and plenty of earnestness. It's a simple setup that, when done well, spurs audience adulation, extra-regional love and fervent loyalty.

Structurally, Hey Rosetta! songs cover pretty similar ground. Opener "Parson Brown (Upirngaangutuq Iqalunni)" began as a spot-lit acoustic number, à la Great Lake Swimmers, with the rest of the players arriving to add weight and a Blue Öyster Cult guitar moment. String-driven rocker "Young Glass" and kick-drum effort, "New Sum (Nous Sommes)," followed the same start-small, end-big template.

All of that interval training could get exhausting, especially on the overwrought "There's an Arc." Still, it produced a few genuinely exhilarating moments. For "Seventeen," singer Tim Baker channelled Travis's Fran Healy, adding much-needed levity to a could-be austere cut. "Yer Spring" fused Mumford and Sons and Graceland-era Paul Simon, which might have created a radio-rock throwaway if it weren't for drummer Phil Maloney's stopwatch-perfect time keeping.

Shooting for the ceiling over and over, the outfit alway had a clap-/sing-along in their pocket. Centerpiece "Yer Fall" epitomized the M.O., starting with a pretty quiet moment before inevitably going grand. Essentially, it was a Coldplay cut.

The show climaxed with confetti cannons on "Seeds," which seemed a natural -- albeit cringe-worthy -- progression. In case you didn't notice the exclamation mark -- or the crescendos or the confetti -- Hey Rosetta! are built for big spaces and they'll likely get there.