Saturday 18th November 2017
Demons of Ruby Mae
at the Shed
with Ollie Charles
Photos and videos by Kevin Gaughan. Review by Trevor Locke.
The Vault room at The Shed was packed to capacity tonight for a performance by Demons of Ruby Mae.
But the night commenced with a set by solo singer Ollie Charles. Let me explain who he is.
It’s 6th September 2008. The place was The Pavilion Venue on Victoria Park. My review of tonight’s gig began with this
In a city where indie bands are thick on the ground, one or two really stand out and the Steptoos is one of them. A top class band with a crackingly good set of songs and some sparklingly good sounds, this is a band that really gets a gig to take off.
Now if that was not enough to whet your appetite, I don’t know what is. The review went on:
This is a band with a set of amazingly good songs – ‘Out Tonight‘ is a geezer rock classic, with a catchy ska beat sprinkled into the chorus. A band with a set of star musicians, they know how to blend instruments to make captivating sounds. Vocalist Ollie also puts on some marvellous solo appearances and when playing with the band whips out a harmonica in between playing the guitar and singing. The Steptoos are a band with a very modern set of songs, and you can hear influences ranging from Oasis through to the Pigeon Detectives. Crisp, clear vocals where you can hear all the words are intoned with a vaguely northern rock accent. Listen to ‘Girl You Amaze Me’ – you’ll see what I mean and checkout the soaring backing sound. With a good producer and a decent studio, these guys could hit the charts. [Arts in Leicestershire magazine archive]
Clearly, I was a very big fan of The Steptoos, whose lead singer was Ollie Charles.
Following the demise of the band, Ollie went on to a solo career and, although his appearances in Leicester were rare, they were always a great pleasure. He is a singer of considerable charm and ability. As Ollie sang to us, the room filled up with fans. Ollie’s set was lively and engaging, as he played guitar, sang and sometimes used the harmonica. In the audience there were celebrities – people I refer to as The rockerati; always the sign of a top gig when they turn out. A star quality performer – Ollie Charles never fails to please. His final song was The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals; he put himself into it and made it his own.
Demons of Ruby Mae
Some readers will not who about this band; after all, it’s been a long time since they last played here in Leicester. Although they originated in the county, they moved to Manchester to further their musical career – understandably – as the music industry in this country seems to have no idea where Leicester is.
There are two members of DoRM: Jonny Gavin
and Adam Rowley.
Some will remember Jonny Gavin at the lead singer of the award-winning band The Chairmen. In it’s day it was one of the most popular bands in Leicester. The music of the Chairmen defined the local indie music scene at the time.
Gavin is one of the finest singers to have come from our local area. His voluminous voice is used with subtlety and passions of an almost operatic quality. Listening to him you would be forgiven for comparing him to José Carreras or Franco Corelli.
Demons was founded in 2012/13 and many still remember that December evening when the band filled the Concordia Theatre in Hinckley for their big show. The one in which Ruby Mae actually appeared. Let me tell you a bit about it. Firstly the band’s big show in Hinckley, in 2012.
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 Demons 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’. I also remembered Gavin sitting on the grand piano, playing and singing. Now that’s a moment. Not something you see very day around here. Operatic tenor, concert pianist. Gavin is a musician of breathtaking ability. Put him on stage with a vocalist and musician of considerable versatility as Rowley and you get a stunning act; an act that has given unparalleled musical offerings. [Music in Leicester magazine archive]
The songs were heard tonight were hauntingly beautiful and the lyrics and melodies were spell-binding. Rowley’s instrumental backing was sensational. Together they created a transportingly delightful atmosphere, full of the resonance of great lyrics and the magic of mesmerising music.
Songs performed tonight:
What Is Now
This Is The End
Beneath The Surface
I’ll Meet You There
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Tonight they played their new single Someday, this is on the band’s Facebook page. DoRM’s set ended tonight with their song Young Blood; but that was before * several encores.
Finally, some more history
As our reviewer Adrian Manning wrote back in 2013
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. [Arts in Leicestershire magazine archive]
These are top quality musical artists. They were superb songs.
Demons of Ruby Mae are planning to be back in Leicester in March 2018.