Show Review: From Candor to Comedy, Caroline Rose Connects with the Crowd at Royale

Photography by Jimena Cieza

By Ella Mastroianni, Blog Assistant

Artist: Caroline Rose

Venue: Royale

When: Sunday, April 7th


On April 7th, Caroline Rose took the stage at Royale, and in an hour and a half, Jeannie became a mom, I felt the way I wanted, and I learned the art of forgetting (all lessons or stories Rose has shared through their discography). 

Rose is a jack of all trades who has been making music for over a decade. 34 years old and from Long Island, New York, Rose is not only a talented songwriter and producer, but they also have a degree in architecture. This will become important, I promise. 

They are best known for their remarkable vocals and the funky energy their music has. Rose has made a name for themself and has planted their feet firmly in any and all music spaces. 

While they began with more country and folk music, they branched into indie-pop and, most recently, a more alternative-rock vibe. None of Rose’s music can be neatly packaged, and their show certainly can’t be either. 

The stage was set up with fabric panels in a “V” formation, and after having spoken with Caroline about their degree in architecture, I knew this show had much to offer once the lights went up. 



La Force, or Ariel Engle, is probably a goddess. Entering in a pink dress alongside some projected “XO” images (à la her 2023 album XO Skeleton), she took the crowd’s attention before she even opened her mouth. It only took some cryptic audios — including hold music royalty “Opus Number 1” — to get the audience intrigued. 

Before playing the title track off of her latest album, Engle said, “Death is the ultimate uniter. Birth is cool too but I’m facing death so that’s what I’m into. Coming to a theater near you.” La Force didn’t speak much throughout the set, but when she did, she was passionate. 

One of the highlights was her unreleased song, “Protection.” It was about wanting to shelter someone from the world, even when you know you can’t. 

La Force’s performance was a whirlwind, with cool visuals and a bit of interpretive dancing that reminded me of Mitski’s most recent tour performances. It was a time where beautiful vocals were heard, conversations about death were had and her pink dress ultimately unraveled to reveal a black sheer one underneath (some might say, she went from XO to skeleton). 



The crowd cheered as Caroline descended from steps onto the stage. Everything was dark, except their red cardigan which was the brightest thing in the dim, blue-lit room. 

“The Doldrums,” was the opening song and the perfect way to set the tone for the night. It’s a really inquisitive song that asks the burning question, “If that was me then, then who am I now?” The dramatic potential of the stage setup that I predicted upon arrival reigned true, as when Rose sang the drawn out “now,” the lights intensified to a bright citrine yellow, caught on the fabric panels.

From there, they jumped into “Miami,” “Stockholm Syndrome” and “Tell Me What You Want,” which is in the same chronological order as in the album. Rose, with their acoustic guitar strapped on them, cried out the lyrics to all of these songs. The emotion-filled lyrics were not just heard, but felt by the audience in all of their glory. 

When performing “Tell Me What You Want,” the audience chorused the lyric, “Boy, you're gonna hate this song!” Additionally, the intense energy of the ending line, “I'm becoming someone else,” certainly has an emotional impact on the recorded album, but was especially intoxicating to hear inside the venue as it was repeated over and over again. 

The setlist had 16 songs total, including the encore. They played tracks off of their last three albums— The Art of Forgetting (of course), Superstars, and LONER. Rose had their incredibly talented four piece band on stage with them, consisting of Glenn Van Dyke, Lena Simon, Riley Geare, and Zach Bilson. The electronic energy of the night wouldn’t have been possible without them. 



If you’d have listened in on the concert from another room, you’d maybe have mistaken Rose’s performance for a stand up comedy set; the crowd was laughing and having a great time listening to the stories that accompanied their music.

Between songs, Rose was doing little dances and conversing with the audience for good amounts of time. The audience was more than willing to chat right back. Firstly, Rose thought it was a Wednesday night, and the audience — in unison — corrected them that it was in fact a Sunday. 

We also heard about their trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods, their sleeping bag in the green room and Rose’s thoughts on AI. The audience truly received a complete package of information they didn’t ask for, but would and could never forget. It was with little conversations like these that Rose made the audience feel comfortable.

In between singing their most vulnerable songs, they found new ways to open up to the audience. “I love you, I feel like there’s a good vibe in the crowd tonight,” Rose said at one point. Later, they said that this was their favorite Boston show to date. 



“The party is over, the cake has been cut,” Rose sang on the stage solo, just them and their guitar, at the end of the night. “Where Do I Go From Here?” was the perfect closer for the night, as it was for the album. Rose’s voice was intense— the closest sound I can compare it to is a soulful howl. 

“Come on now, babe, take all this pain and learn to love yourself again,” Rose concluded. “Thank you all for being here. My name’s Caroline Rose, have a wonderful night.” The crowd cheered loudly, and Rose inevitably walked off. 

We were left with an empty stage, but also this: as much as forgetting is an art, so is the remembering.

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