RUBY BOOTS @ Lyric’s Underground gets 8.5/10

Ruby Boots @ Lyric’s Underground

w/ Simone and Girlfunkle, Wayward Johnson & the Adjustment, Leah Grant
Friday, November 22, 2019


“This is the kind of venue that will live forever.” So said Ruby Boots’ Bex Chilcott on the third night of action – ever –  for new Maylands basement venue, Lyric’s Underground. The internationally acclaimed, Nashville-based former local artist was referring to the fact purpose-built music venues underground should be free from the sort of noise complaints and prohibitive measures that have dogged other local institutions over the years. She’s not wrong – the venue is a keeper.

Leah Grant

In a rare headline for hometown fans (her second recently after a show-stealing appearance for WAMFest), Chilcott also noted this was a venue with limited-to-zero phone reception meaning punters were paying more attention than usual, something likely to make it a favourite among artists. It certainly worked in everyone’s favour last Friday, as we witnessed an inspired, upbeat and rocking set from Ruby Boots and some sublime support from opener Leah Grant, heartfelt rockers Wayward Johnson & the Adjustment and main support Simone and Girlfunkle.

Wayward Johnson & the Adjustment

The former had a healthy early crowd despite the 7:50pm start time and Dongara native Grant’s stunning voice rose above the swelling roots and alt-country arrangements majestically.

Simone and Girlfunkle

The latter, meanwhile, played their second show in as many weeks in the vicinity, following a laneway set upstairs for the Maylands Street Festival, and again it was the harmonies of their three frontwomen that stood out. One of the best bands in Perth for a long time now, Simone and Girlfunkle are local royalty and from clarinet-led Summer Rain to favourites like Secret and Blown Into The Wind, they were irresistible. You could’ve hear a pin drop during Belly of Time; beyond impressive for a local band room. One day they’ll play Time Song again.

Ruby Boots

Ruby Boots astounded at WAMFest with how far she’s come, both in terms of stage presence and just upfront rocking out. The one time Scarborough native has always been a mesmerising presence with her huge pipes and signature red mane, but now she rocks a Telecaster as much as she twangs the acoustic – her previous instrument of choice that many will remember from her long, thankless years spent championing the local Perth scene at open mic nights.

With her Uh Huh Her PJ Harvey t-shirt pretty self explanatory, and a heady scent of rock star in the room, she kicked off with It’s So Cruel. It was a rocking start as Easy Way Out and I’ll Make It Through followed, all staples of her impressive 2018 sophomore record Don’t Talk About It. The title track itself was a huge fave, as was Wrap Me In a Fever, a rare cut lifted from debut Solitude. An artist clearly on the move, she didn’t make time for old familiar numbers like Oh Lover and Middle of Nowhere, preferring to bring the crowd in close for intimate highlight I Am A Woman, which she explained was written for the Trumps of the world who feel it is ok to grab a woman’s body. “If it doesn’t feel right, have a conversation about it,” she said to loud cheers.

Ruby Boots

She acknowledged Simone and Girlfunkle, noting it was their first show together since 2010, and left us sans encore but with a mighty farewell care of Believe In Heaven, a newer song that speaks as much of how far Ruby Boots has come as any. With echoes of Angel Olsen and some psychedelic shredding care of local guitarist Luke Dux, it was a mighty finale.

The introduction of Lyric’s Underground is a breath of fresh air for artists, Maylands and the scene at large. With boutique beers from the likes of Blasta Brewery and a bandroom that’s really unlike anything else in WA, its 200-odd capacity, multitude of accessible viewing points and closeness to the city are set to make it a local staple. With acts the calibre of Ruby Boots in there, top shelf nights are a given.


Photos by Adrian Thomson