Demons of Ruby Mae at the Y
8th November 2013
Adrian Manning reports
There’s a lively atmosphere in the bar of the Y tonight – it’s bustling and full of expectant people in anticipation of tonight’s gig. Escaping from the dark mist outside into the light and airy theatre entrance, the room is a bright contrast to the cold November evening.
There are four acts lined up and it is clear that Demons Of Ruby Mae have pulled out the stops to make this gig, the first of two single launch shows, the other being in Manchester on the following evening, something special. Not only have they booked a great venue, with it’s traditional music hall layout, but they have gathered together some great local artists.
Moving into the hall itself, its back into the darkness, but the warmth of the evening follows us in. On stage is Naomi Perera, in white, sparkling beneath the stage lights. She is a solo singer and guitarist who has a good, strong voice and gently eases us into the evening with tracks from her latest CD. She is joined by a young man who takes over guitar duties in a duet that pleases the crowd.
Next on stage is another solo singer and guitarist who is more familiar to the audience, which is building in number as the night progresses. David Wyatt is a popular choice not only because of his fantastic songs but also his sharp wit. With his acoustic guitar and his humourous comments and anecdotes he entertains and involves the audience. Echoes of a troubadour travelling man come through and indeed his song Travellin’ Through appears and gets a good reaction. He wants the lights low and intimate and playing with his little spotlight he achieves this – a mellow voice, some lovely finger picking and a quiet and low lit ambience bring together a great performance.
Kirkland Turn are on next. This three piece start to move the gear up a notch – the first band and a greater pace and volume continue to add to the build up. They are a fantastic group and in the Kirklands – Daryl on guitar and vocals and Katie on drums, brass and accompanying harmonies they have the core to create some great music. Opener ‘Deliver’ has a haunting brass element that gets the set off to a fine start. Leicester’s own Karen Carpenter adds rolling drum rhythms and in the track ‘Sneaky Western’ from their recent EP there is a certain 50s rock style with a twist coming through. The next song in their set has a throbbing hum that’s builds and boils. A jangle, a soaring crescendo and a heavy backbeat pulse join a soaring vocal in the next song. They encore with ‘the greatest song in the English language’, according to Daryl, the charming ‘Feed The Birds’ from Mary Poppins no less and also on their previous EP. The crowd love it and show their appreciation for a great set. There is a real quality and depth to the songs with impressive musical talent. An album is forthcoming and will be a definite purchase for this reviewer.
This appreciation continues as the headliners take the stage. The last time I saw Demons Of Ruby Mae they were less in number. Not only has the band grown in size, but it has grown and matured in ambition and sound. There is a lot of very tight musical interplay between the band members and tonight these include a Birmingham String Quartet which adds a further dimension and lushness to the songs.
All dressed in black, Demons take to the stage with the confidence and exuberance of a band playing much bigger venues. They are meatier and beatier than I recall and the word anthemic jumps into my mind when I hear some of the songs tonight. Revolving vocalists, full band and solo piano tracks plus the strings ensure a varied and impressive set. Opener Ribbons is rolling and crashing and sets the ball moving. The new single Beneath The Surface is great and well worth purchasing. Hope Is was performed beautifully with solo piano and the strings and the crowd were very happy to hear the wonderful, rousing Volcanic Mouth. Finishing their set with The Boy Who Cried Wolf it was evident that the local Leicester fans were impressed by tonight’s set and with this level of ambition it’s easy to imagine that Demons will go from strength to strength.
Overall, a great gig. The effort put in to putting this together paid off and there was some fantastic local talent on display tonight. Watch out for these names locally and nationally which is where they deserve to be heard.