Cries of “Ruby’s, Ruby’s, Ruby’s” ring around a busy Ruby Lounge in a football chant style on the launch night of ‘The Ruby’s’ debut album, ‘Limelight Parasite’. The band have a heavy core following and these people aren’t willing to miss what will surely be a monumental night, culminating two years hard work, none more so than the graft put in at the studio to master the album. With the help of Martin Coogan and Dean Glover pushing them to the limits, the band endured a torturous yet highly rewarding few weeks in perfecting the album that will tonight be launched to the world, and what an enthralling and brilliantly well structured album it is.
The band’s set list tonight is played in album order, which means they start with ‘Last Night’, a real energetic, upbeat track that hypnotically sucks you in immediately. As stated in the interview, drummer Dave Earlam iterates that the songs get progressively darker as they go on, so the northern bounce and rocky qualities in their song writing that have quite a distinct Mancunian vibe to them shine through in songs like, ‘Good Times’, ‘After All’ and ‘Jesus Girl’. The first signs that the tone is about to turn darker is in ‘Sun’, where the crowd become further geared up and belt out the chorus. ‘MLE’ is rather emotive in its melody, key and the various pitch of singer Lee Hunter’s voice. Lyrics become darker and troubled, but not obvious to the tune, a great subtlety where the listener really has to listen to understand. ‘Echo’ is a fantastic track where lead guitarist Tat King Kong’s slide guitar really pulls at the soul with a very simple and effective riff. He emulates that feeling on ‘Not Like You’ where the guitar really brings the tune out of itself, giving it a different dimension with a tinge of an 80s rock feel. The set ends with ‘The Fear’, previously released as an EP but has slightly changed for the album, becoming more polished. It’s a track that starts with guitar that’d suit An early ‘U2’, ‘Joy Division’ or ‘Echo and The Bunnymen’ number, really capturing a dark atmospheric scene until the chorus explodes into a different direction. The guitar solo in the middle is very powerful and deliciously melting, and to witness live just shows how hugely talented guitarst Tat Sing Kong is. The album gets progressively dangerous and more emotive till its end, almost like a love story ending on a twist, bringing out the unexplained psychology involved in love that sits deep inside our souls, uttering the unspoken words we dare to even whisper.
What’s great about ‘The Ruby’s’ live is they clearly enjoy themselves whilst playing, giving each other little looks and laughter as if sharing a private joke or an appreciation for what they’re accomplishing, which in turn spills over into the crowd’s reaction. Bassist Mike Hamilton and Rhythm Guitar Barry Kirkwood play off each other extremely well. Drummer Dave Earlam beats the drums violently to keep the band at core volume. Lee Hunter is the confident lead singer boasting a harmonious yet soothing indie rock voice that grabs attention. Phil Winstanley is the latest addition on keyboards and backing vocals, who’s energy live adds to the showmanship of the band. You can almost envisage a festival full of people jumping up and down howling the words out in appreciation of this fine Manchester band. The love and passion for what they’re doing shines through in their unbreakable chemistry and individual performances, which makes ‘The Ruby’s’ a very entertaining live indie rock act where you can’t help but fully immerse yourself into the world of a limelight parasite. The influences can be faintly recognised as elements of classic rock, alternative 80s, 90s Britpop and original indie style combinations, all pulling together to give a very modern and refreshing perspective and sound.
The band themselves are older than the stereotypical new band coming through, but in an industry with no rules anymore, this could perhaps be the start of a new movement and way of doing at things. With a band like ‘The Ruby’s’ you get a stream of advantages by doing it this way. Firstly, they are more experienced and financially better off than a teenage band, therefore able to do a lot more things for themselves. With age comes a deeper wisdom, knowledge and experience that fires through in song writing. Having potentially ridded of all youthful demons of using a band as an avenue for a hectic social scene, they are more focussed on what really matters, the music. Finally, inter band arguments are cut to a minimum as greater understanding and reasoning comes into practice, and from a management point of view, probably much easier to work with. With that said, why can’t a band like ‘The Ruby’s’ become a force to be reckoned with? However, these are just theories, first and foremost there still needs to be talent on show. Luckily, ‘The Ruby’s’ really do deliver in that respect, live and recorded. The album and live shows are a huge must for those continuously searching for great rock music with first class lyrics and musicianship.
Not Like You
Read the interview with The Rubys here.
Review by Nigel Cartner
Photos by Matt Johnston