Posts tagged The Ruby Spirit
This past weekend I caught another Ruby Spirit show, this time at the Toronto Underground Cinema. Since I last saw them at the Great Hall lots has gone on: in particular, I’ve gotten to know their guitarist, Alex Pulec, a lot better since sharing a stage with him at Electric Christmas and it’s also exciting to see that they have begun to play successful gigs in New York garnering even more buzz as they keep plugging away.
The venue was a bit awkward since it was full of theatre seating but it all worked out in the end as myself and other fans got all intimate with the band by cramming into the 10 or so feet of standing room in front of the stage.
What really astonishes me is the work ethic of this band. I got a chance to chat with the Ruby Spirit’s manager, Peter and he told me that the band constantly practices with at least 3 rehearsals a week, along with constant writing. I think that the band have become consumate professionals in their trade and definitely believe that the show must go on. Talking to the band before their set, It was apparent that their lead singer, Paige, was pretty sick that night. As a former touring musician singing in a band I remember getting sick before a show from time to time and could feel the pressure.
There was Paige with a big mug of Tea or juice and a bottle of NyQuil. I held my breath as the band took the stage and didn’t know what I’d hear with their singer under the weather. I gotta tell you, if she was really that sick no one who didn’t notice that very same bottle of Nyquil and mug accompanying her on stage would have known. The Rubies just killed it and Paige sounded great. That’s showmanship. I could not help but be reminded of a story often told by Alice Cooper about a performance he gave where he was swinging his Errol Flynn sword around (as he is known to do) and attempted to stick the sword in the stage, but ended up skewering his leg instead, spurting blood everywhere. Legend has it that he went backstage, was told he needed to stop the show, but instead poured whiskey into the gash and completed the entire concert getting ever more delirious as he lost blood before getting rushed to the hospital immediately after his set (he talks briefly about it in this video) Of course Alice Cooper’s example is more extreme but the spirit is the same and I have a lot of respect for any performer that sucks it up and give the fans what they want.
The Toronto music scene seems to be undergoing a rebirth and we’re starting to do away with all the cookie-cutter screamo bands and getting back to music that pays homage to the old classics while also doing something new and fresh. Band like the Ruby Spirit and Wildlife have the potential to start a whole new movement and you’re fortunate to be around right now when this is all happening. Take a break from the schmooze cruise and get your rock on. Listen to some of The Ruby Spirit’s work right HERE. I recommend “Sound of the Bell” in particular.
Finally after countless nights of karaoke and about 2 years of of silence I got back onto the stage. I almost forgot how good it felt.
I don’t think there is anywhere in the world I feel more comfortable than on a stage sharing music with all in attendance. When I was fronting touring bands I would live my life from stage to stage. Everything in between was just practice because my real home was under the lights in front of the mic.
Funny the other night’s event should be called Electric Xmas because that’s exactly the way I would describe what it’s like for me in front of a crowd. The air is electric and I am sharp, focused and resolute when I perform. Although I was not singing, rather playing guitar, the feeling was the same. I must thank my fellow bandmates in “Gift Receipt” for being awesome musicians to work with. Sean is, as always, in my opinion the hardest working hype-man in showbiz. Alex and Dwayne from The Ruby Spirit and Wildlife, respectively, are just awesome performers and an absolute pleasure to work with. The chemistry was effortless and I hope we all come together once again in the future for another jam. It shall be epic.
As great as it was to perform live again, this is not about me though. Thank you to all the people who made ElectricXmas2 such a resounding success. All the other stage acts were a real treat to watch and everyone who helped out from the lovely ladies, Christine and Reggie, working the door and Affan setting up the twitter wall, to the staff at the Horseshoe were as consummate professionals. A very happy birthday and special thanks to Corey for being the night’s Cellular Santa Claus and thank you to Lauren O’Nizzle for helping to spread the holiday cheer with Dave snapping away on the camera!
EX2 was definitely the place to be and we hope to see you all next year! Have a beautiful holiday, dear readers.
For those of you who didn’t make it here are some of the memorable bits:
- A pulsing, dancing crowd
- Gift Receipt rocking the house
- Freestyle rap by Sean Ward and 100% improvised tunes by Gift Receipt
- Raymi rocking the drumkit
- A good ol’ fashioned hootenanny on stage with the whole crowd
- Secret Santa
- Joey “AccordionGuy” Devilla’s impromptu performance
- Reggie singing Silent Night
- Rayanne folking it up with some original music
- Marie’s Lieder performance of Franz Schubert
- Kat Langdon‘s freaking awesome voice
- Aidan Nulman’s blazing drum solo
- Hannukah Herscu
Are you a visual learner? No problem! Here’s Sean’s Video from the night!
To all you folks who just love to say rock is dead, me and the Ruby Spirit have one thing to say to you: WE GONNA CUT YOU!!
If you’ve got your ear stuck to the radio and your idea of real rock n roll is Adam Lambert then it’s time to turn off MTV and MuchMusic just for a bit and get your asses out into the thriving rock scene Toronto has. Yes that means leaving your house, and yes that means putting on pants. I’m sorry.
So it’s like this: I put on pants last night and went down to the Great Hall near the west end to check out the Ruby Spirit for their CD release party at the recommendation of my friend, and the host of the show, Sean Ward (see his Video at the bottom of this blog post). He’s been jiving at me about these cats for a while now so I figured why not give them a listen. I love going to shows to hear bands I’ve never heard before simply because if they rock, they ROCK and you aren’t standing there disappointed if they didn’t play your favorite song. Every song can be your favorite for that night and in that divine moment when the sweat is dripping from the band’s foreheads, the stage lights are glimmering, the speakers throbbing, and you’re at the bottom of your beer, you are the perfect fan. Pure in your innocence to the music and able to allow yourself to be swept away in the music and stage performance.
It was an action packed night, to say the least. Ran into @bizaaron and caught the first act with him right after we checked out the photo booth. The band was called Jumple (no website yet) and I was very entertained. So here’s the lowdown on them: They are a collection of thick-accented brigands from Russia, the Ukraine and all points around the Carpathians (read: Gypsies), perform very upbeat, somewhat punkish music complete with violin and a very gifted drummer, employ a gypsy dancer, dance and run around the stage like lunatics and wear clothing that looks like they fell into the Tickle Trunk and came out right before their set. Sound familiar? Well it should, especially if you’ve heard of an almost identical band called Gogol Bordello. Jumple is pretty much a straight ripoff of the very established Gogol (right down to a lead singer by the name of Eugene) but a good band is a good band, and these guys rocked so hard that I was worried that any act that followed them would be put to shame – even the Ruby Spirit. But Sean assured me that with regards to the Rubies that I’d be “in for a real treat.” Taking pictures of Jumple was extremely hard because they were so kinetic that most of the pics were blurred beyond recognition. However through diligence and a lot patience, I was able to grab some good ones. Check the bottom of this post for the Jumple pics. If you want close ups and some extra pics, check out the Flickr Album
Reggie and Christine showed up after Jumple and I made sure to make them feel awful for missing such a great act. The whole night was just a music orgy really – at the same time as the show upstairs (where we were) was going on, a free show by a Beatles cover band called the Rattles was underway in the cafe. They didn’t look anything like the fab four but they sure sounded like them. Between Jumple, and the Rattles, came “Jesse and the Rippers” who turned out to not be the cheesy late 80′s hair band of Full House fame but instead were a light jazz ensemble. They didn’t rip that hard, to be honest, but I think in the right venue they would be very well received – say, the Montreal Bistro. I would say the Reservoir Lounge would be good too, but you gotta swing really hard to be in there. I have an old love affair with that place, which I will talk about in a forthcoming post.
Well well, The Ruby Spirit did not disappoint at all and thank God for that since I went ahead and pre-bought their CD before I even walked into the main hall of the venue or heard them play a single note. Really took a leap of faith on these guys based on Sean’s recommendation and I was not at all disappointed when they took the stage after he hyped them up the way he knows best – seriously, Sean is the white Flava Flav except he knows what time it is.
Paige, the lead singer of the Rubies came out larger than life and was equipped with a candy striped megaphone, confetti launchers, a see-through dress with sleeve streamers and more stage presence than Jesus Christ. Really talented musicans in that band, I tell ya. The freaking place was packed and I was old schoolin’ it like I did back in the day by standing at the very front, hands clutching the stage, beer flowing and head bobbing like a bobblehead. Here was a band I’d only heard of in passing and I may as well have been their #1 fan. And why? Because it’s bands like The Rubies who are in the trenches and giving it their all who are proving to the world that rock is back with a vengeance. I think we’re starting to get into a musical rennaissance of a second coming. It may be like the days when the Beatles and the Stones were building momentum – the air is electric, the social media networks are abuzz, and people are coming to shows! You’re should be thankful that you’re all part of some pretty exciting stuff. People are starting to leave the Nickelback camp and are craving something fresh and I think this city has it.
So get your pants on and get out there before these bands get so big that $10 bucks won’t cover admission!
EXTRA BONUS TRACKS!
Here’s Sean Ward’s Vlog