Demons of Ruby Mae at Concordia

9th December 2012

Demons Of Ruby Mae

Trevor Locke reports.

Hinckley-based band Demons Of Ruby Mae filled the Concordia Theatre’s main room
tonight for a show that featured new songs by the band with support from Sheffield’s
The Hot Soles and an acoustic set from Leicester’s By The Rivers.

hot soles

The Hot Soles © Kevin Gaughan

The Hot Soles is a duo – one guitarist and a drummer. An act with lashings of panache, they drew an enthusiastic response from the full auditorium. A series of their own rock ‘n roll songs had the audience clapping along to the infectious beats and to the lead singer and guitarist’s Pavarotti-powered voice.

hot soled

The Hot Soles © Kevin Gaughan

Reminiscent of Blues Brothers, they pumped out a goodly load of energy with their red hot blues rock. They showed how just two musicians could deliver as much musical substance as a large band.

The Hot Soles on Facebook.

The show was compared by Stuart Baxter, whose amiable approach kept things moving.

Jordan Birtles and Nile Barrow are from By the Rivers, a band that is sometimes seen as an eight-piece orchestra with an extensive brass section. Tonight it was just the two of them and their set began with a superb a cappella rendition of Son House’s ‘Grinning in your face.’

by the rivers

By The Rivers © Kevin Gaughan

What stands out about these two celebrated artists is their superbly matched, closely harmonised voices. Still, only in their early twenties, they have spent a lifetime making music together and have risen to be the backbone of one of the most successful bands in Leicester.

They also came across as two loveable personalities, a bit like a double act, with Nile being the ‘straight’ guy and Jordan the funny man with a rascal grin, all adding an extra layer of likeability to their engaging set of foot-tapping old-school ska songs.

by the rivers

By The Rivers © Kevin Gaughan

Even when Nile’s guitar had a string brake, they carried on entertaining the crowd until Nile had picked up another instrument and tuned it and then they were back off to their set.

Whilst Nile played the acoustic guitar, Jordan played on his hall-mark melodica, blowing through a tube while making the notes with its keyboard.

Their perfect-pitch singing and beautifully harmonised voices delivering a set of rhythms laden songs drew a hugely enthusiastic response from the audience, before the close of the first half of the evening. They finished their set with a cover of the Jackson Five’s ‘I want you back’, a great Motown classic hit.

By The Rivers on Facebook.

The audience returned to the auditorium to find the red plush curtains of the proscenium closed. Music started and when they opened, some of the musicians were on stage ready for the headline set of Demon of Ruby Mae.

Set high above the stage was Ruby Mae – a young lady dressed in a specially designed gown with an elaborate horned hair-style – who sat perfectly motionless throughout the whole set. She was the band’s icon and when lead singer Jonny Gavin walked on stage – to a huge cheer from the crowd – the band launched into their opening song ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’.

demons of ruby mae

Demons Of Ruby Mae © Kevin Gaughan

Jonny Gavin started on the baby grand piano and introduced a new song which he sang with his great rich, powerful voice. Jonny and Adam Rowley took it in turns to play either the piano or guitar, both of them superbly good vocalists and excellent musicians.

You got the feeling that Demons Of Ruby Mae is a national-level band, poised and ready to break with a set of extra-ordinarily quality songs that are laden with mood and colour. This is from a band that quotes its influences as drawing on such as the Fleet Foxes, Felice Brothers, Bon Iver, and Gram Parsons.

demons of ruby mae

Demons Of Ruby Mae © Kevin Gaughan

The three members of Demons – Jonny Gavin, Adam Rowley and Dino Johnson – are all top-notch musicians and the band’s music is rich in powerful emotions and imagery; when it comes to musical ability, they tick all the boxes. Their balladic pieces were sweeping and euphoric, fired with imagery and moodily evocative.

Their line-up of songs was varied and the audience already knew some of them, joining in with the singing and frequently clapping along to some of the more upbeat rhythms. Despite the audience being entirely seated in the tiered theatre, there was no shortage of participation.

The guys on stage are and have been popular musicians for quite some time and, playing in their home town, they had attracted an enthusiastic audience, eager to sample the next stage in their artistic evolution (not to mention the large contingent that has trekked over from Leicester on a bleak Sunday evening.)

demons of ruby mae

Demons Of Ruby Mae © Kevin Gaughan

It was a superb performance and the music was breathtakingly impressive. Jonny and his colleagues had put together a set of spell-binding musical delights that was rich in eloquence and originality. It was a magic night, with magic songs and magic artists.

Demons Of Ruby Mae is due to release an EP on 21st January 2013.

Demons Of Ruby Mae on Bandcamp.

Demons Of Ruby Mae on Facebook.

Demons Of Ruby Mae on SoundCloud.

Last edited on 14/5/19

See also

Demons of Ruby Mae at the Handmade Festival 2013