Ghost Hotel/Flooded Palace/Little Lord Street Band
Friday, May 15, 2015
It has been a long time coming, but Ruby Boots finally hit the stage in support of a debut album. A culmination of years of tireless work and development, the band shared the celebration with a handful of their favourite locals pushing the roots barrow.
Natasha Shanks and James Rogers front Little Lord Street Band who played a short set of folk tunes. The songs take a modern Australian slant to a traditional genre to peddle tunes that would appeal to fans of The Waifs’ most earnest moments. Some credit to the band for creating tunes that are very ‘meat and potatoes’ for a genre that typically appeals to vegetarians.
It’s cruel the amount of talent that Todd Pickett is blessed with. Not content with being the go-to drummer for local bands on the rise, and being responsible for effortless harmonies along the way, he also writes tunes and fronts Flooded Palace. The four-piece play things at a snail’s pace and let the space between the notes speak volumes. There is plenty of ache and some well placed darkness that make Flooded Palace a must-see outfit.
When The Ghost Hotel first surfaced, they were a group that was embraced by those who love Jeff Tweedy. Like that man, they have taken their sound from something that was rooted in country music, to something more akin to a rock band. As has become the norm, Aaron Gibson only bobbed up briefly for a couple or tunes, handing the reigns over to Paul Wood for the majority of the set. After a 10-month break The Ghost Hotel returned with some well worn favourites, a wall of guitars and even a new tune to boot. A timely return for a quality unit.
Bex Chilcott has spent a large chunk of the past 12 months touring either as a solo artist or in duo mode, so it was well overdue that Ruby Boots would appear in full band mode. As is customary whenever Ruby Boots are launching some product, the room was at close to capacity and spirits were high. This a band of local folk who certainly have a focus that is broader the city they live in. Solitude is a result of that drive and once the tunes started flowing Chilcott’s knack for bridging the gap between indie and mainstream was on display.
Country music is all about the power of telling a tale. This is something that Chilcott can do with ease during song, but her penchant for excessive yarning between tunes would be better received if it was reigned in a little. Still, playing to a room of people who were undoubtedly true believers this was but a minor concern.
Songs from the album were all graciously received and already well-known staples for the regular punters. Cola And Wine and Wrap Me In A Fever were up tempo gems, while moments such as Ruby Blue give Chilcott a chance to shine vocally and Middle Of Nowhere shows guitarist Lee Jones’ versatility. Professional as always, Ruby Boots can tick ‘a successful album launch’ off the bucket list.
CHRIS HAVERCROFT | DANIEL GRANT