Saturday, October 24, 2009


Tuesday, August 14, 2007 
The Rob Roy

It surely isn't just the $8 cover charge that ensure so many folk turn out on a Monday night for a band playing two shows the following two days. Word had clearly got around the The Ruby Suns are worth catching, and with such great supports this was clearly a reason to miss Idol. This lineup was a perfectly pitched reminder that off-kilter pop comes in so many flavours that no one could have left unsatiated.

The lone rock wonder that is Popolice is on fine form tonight. Veering between MBV-via-Dunedin rock riffage with metronomic backing and a squealing, pedal-punching, jam-that-knob-to-10 noise-fest, the extremes only serve to sharpen the force of each. When he sings and pulls out melodic wonders such as Middle Ground and the set-closing glory of Going Nowhere you can be assured that Sgt. Marc's law is here to stay; more sprawling guitar mess barely held together but inspired melodies is barely enough.

The new-look Ramps take to the stage and it soon becomes clear that there is a general level of tightness, strength and calm that is new to the band. How much of this is down to brilliant new drummer Jon Tjhia (replacing Shultz AKA Captain Rad who is leaving for Perth several hours after this gig), and how much to a heavy rehearsal schedule, time will tell, but this is now an oddly effective beast. Sounding more Sonic Youth EP than Sister LP, surprising structures, tom-heavy drums and compellingly jagged arrangements grip attention and make a case for this band leaping from amusing oddity to hottest new thing in town; much the way Pikelet has gone from being bottom of a five-band bill to playing in London and headlining at The Toff within nine months. Aleks And The Ramps' new energy, more forceful, drier sound (particularly on the never-more-sinister and dancable They Recorded Everything We Said as well as several impressive new songs), and with their live show no less exciting - the flailing limbs of the band like a hurricane around the calm bass-playing of Janita - mark this band as complex, edgy, fun and totally unpredictable.

To a stage bedecked with glowing lights, the headlining Kiwi five-piece stride out and launch into the haunting yet catchy Beach Boys-esque Asleep In The Garden. With bouncing beats, shimmering guitars, glorious harmonies and a new rhythm every 30-odd seconds, The Ruby Suns are a wondrous thing to behold, particularly in a place so made-under as the 'new' look Rob Roy. Lead singer and guitarist Ryan McPhun (tonight adorned in an I Survived Hurricane Hugo t-shirt) leads his Ruby Suns through one psychedelic yacht-rock shenanigan after another and the smiles all round the room show his pop-friendly Animal Collective-vibe is working a treat. Older songs Criterion and Masai Mara sound audibly thinner next to new raucous barnstormers from their forthcoming Sea Lion album like Oh Mojave, Tane Mahuta and Sister Brother. With the sound almost mariachi in places, there is an unprecedented emphasis on rhythms that pulls the songs along wonderfully, and by the time autoharpist Gareth Shute leads them into the handclapping and percussion bonanza that is Oh Mojave, you can see the seeds being sown for the blossoming of audiences for future gigs.

No comments:

Post a Comment