Live Review

Ruby Suns, Cargo, London

The Kiwi party atmosphere picks up any energy levels that might have been lagging.

I had almost forgotten that The Ruby Suns’ third album ‘Fight Softly’ came out this year. That’s not say that it wasn’t a memorable record, it’s just that March seems like such a long time ago. With its Animal Collective vibe and indie-friendly rave riffs it felt like a summertime record. Of course, in the UK we were still thawing from winter when it was released, I guess in The Ruby Suns’ home country of New Zealand they were entering autumn so it might have been more apt there.

As we come out of our own brief period of warm weather I’m looking forward to seeing the Suns revisit the songs live.

But I might not have been the only one to let the release of ‘Fight Softly’ slip from my mind as Cargo isn’t as busy as I had expected, although there are ex-pat New Zealanders all over the place. Which is great. I never normally meet New Zealanders in London, you can’t move for stepping on Australians here but I’ve found their antipodean neighbours to be a more elusive bunch.

With the amount of people chatting to The Ruby Suns as they set up it becomes clear that most of the audience are friends originally from back home. The band even asks the room at one point if “there is anybody actually from the UK here?” Luckily there is, but the hometown-away-from-home crowd does work to their advantage. This is one of the last dates on a pretty mammoth tour and the Kiwi party atmosphere picks up any energy levels that might have been lagging.

The set is mainly made up of tracks from their most recent release and their 2008 album ‘Sea Lion’. Whereas the new material goes down the electro road the older songs take their influence from Afrobeat and work even better to keep spirits high.

The three band members can’t quite cover all the sounds on their records, which means a lot of samples and prerecorded parts are used and it occasionally leaves them looking like they’re only adding a few flourishes of guitar or drums while singing over a backing track. But with this crowd it doesn’t matter, they could just play the CD and everyone would still be dancing. Everywhere I look New Zealanders are hooking up or shouting private jokes at the band.

It was a fun night and really that’s the most important thing. The band played some decent music and the crowd had a great time, maybe I should look out for the Kiwi gigs more often.

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