Venue: The Y (Theatre)
Hidden behind the facade of a 100 year old YMCA building on the outskirts of Leicester's culture quarter is a venue for comedians, dancers, and musicians. It's a venue for expression, with a raised stage and a De Montfort Hall styled layout. The type of venue you can be proud of having in your city, and the owners do it justice. The last band I saw at The Y Theatre was British Sea Power back in 2011, just over two years exactly. Not much has changed since, they still allow glass in the auditorium, and something which shocked me then and still shocks me now. It meant I could enjoy my pint of Boddingtons inside the 300 seat capacity venue and enjoy the program of music for the night - which by the looks of it is an acoustic performance by Johnny Cash? read on....
Demons of Ruby Mae put 100% effort in to making this night a blast. They successfully pulled off their end of the bargain by bringing along seven musicians to join the duo on stage - a string quartet, drummer, bassist, and a guitarist. Backing Demons of Ruby Mae tonight were a number of Leicester locals, ranging from the alternative rock / Frightened Rabbit-esque - The Kirkland Turn, to the stark bonking mad singer-songwriter - David Wyatt.
Throughout the night, single audience members and artists on stage pointed at the disrespect shown by the back-benchers nattering away as if it was their living room and Pointless was on TV. These artists needed the Mastermind audience, but they weren’t given that level of attention, which this music clearly deserved. It was a shame, because apart from the minor audience glitch, Demons of Ruby Mae and their entourage played well.
Those listening at the front were treated to tracks from their debut EP Heliacal, "Hope Is" and "You Got It Wrong" set the mood, with the latter standing out due to Jonny Gavin's electronic drum beat thumping at the front of the stage. Adam Rowley played his guitar alongside Gavin, moving the secondary guitarist to piano. It was very much a game of musical chairs, as the members of Demons of Ruby Mae switched, left, and came back throughout their hour set - a sign of talented multi-instrumentalists. Their latest single "Beneath The Surface" was played, then the crowd pleaser "Volcanic Mouth". The sheer power of Gavin's vocal stood out, with the string quartet in full force doing their minimal work. It was amassed by the closer "The Boy Who Cried Wolf". Rowley took to the piano, with Gavin wandering the stage, which instead of looking cluttered with nine souls, looked rather spacious - as Gavin knocks over the mic stand in emotive passion.
Demons of Ruby Mae are an impressive act on record, and live. They've shown their worth time and time again, and they can only move forward. The Y Theatre acts not just as a venue for Demons of Ruby Mae to play, but a place where Demons of Ruby Mae can express themselves and their love for music. The night wasn't all about debuting new material, it was actually an experiment. Demons of Ruby Mae were working out by audience response how well their new tracks came across, but also, how well the entourage performed alongside the core duo. The outcome was somewhere between the live shows of Elbow and The National. And it's that cosy, emotional alternative rock which turned Demons of Ruby Mae to this material in the first place. One half The XX - with slow reverberated guitar notes, and one half The National - with piano accompaniment intended to replicate minimalism. It made perfect sense for Demons of Ruby Mae to walk off after their set, and have "Fake Empire" play in the background as the audience leave. Demons of Ruby Mae play with sombre tones, the sort of sound and imagery you find with the dark and gloomy musicians of folk's past. All nine bodies on stage were wearing black, the sort of meaning delivered by the Man In Black 50 years ago - this was a well thought out performance from start to finish.