Along with everything else Rogue Valley accomplished over the past year, one of the more impressive feats was its ability to draw sizeable crowds to each of its four CD-release parties and keep them interested in new material each time. The quintet wisely enlisted some help to do it again for the final edition Friday night at the Varsity Theater. In keeping with the winter themes on Album #4, “False Floors,” a troupe of white-clad dancers in Founding Fathers-like curly wigs popped up repeatedly throughout the show, adding visually to all the fluttery movement musically. Actors read weather-sprinkled poetry at the start and middle of the set. And just when the crowd started to chatter a little too heavily during the regal “Onward and Over,” Jeremy Messersmith quietly walked out on stage to regain the attention for a buoyant “Shoulder to Shoulder.” That set up a captivating closer, “The Wolves and the Ravens.”
A sign of the previous three albums' consistent quality, fans yelled out requests at the start of the encore – a wide range of them. “That’s the bad thing about putting out 46 songs: You don’t know what people are going to shout out,” frontman Chris Koza said. It was pretty easy to agree on the rousing closers, though: “Rockaway” and “Red River of the North.” It'll be interesting to hear all those songs are mixed together in upcoming shows.