Review: Ruby Fields at The Espy, St Kilda, May 28th, 2019
Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you that Ruby Fields has had a pretty amazing year that most musicians would be jealous of.
Having released her debut EP back in March of 2018, the Sydney muso followed this up with a handful of stunning singles over the next few months, culminating in the release of Permanent Hermit earlier this month.
With a rapid rise to fame in just a couple of years, and having managed to assert herself as one of the most down-to-Earth and relatable artists on the scene, Ruby Fields has been able to sell out almost every show on her current tour of the country.
So, having wrapped up performances in Brisbane and Sydney recently, some of her most dedicated fans made their way into The Espy in St Kilda on Tuesday night for the first of three sold-out performances at the beachside venue.
Check out Ruby Fields’ ‘I Want’:
As punters poured into The Espy’s Gershwin Room, they were soon met by the mighty Spike Vincent who, band in tow, proceeded to kick things off with a stunning set full of post-punk inspired alt-rock.
Having been on the scene for a few years now, Vincent has managed to become one of those artists who generates buzz wherever they go, with fans eager to witness the stellar live set that he and his band are known to deliver.
From the outset, the audience was met with a phenomenal wall of sound that conjured up images of Joy Division, paired with the versatile vocals of Spike Vincent, ranging between menacing lows, and euphoric, howls.
Backed by a three-piece band (including a drummer whose animated, yet measured way of playing managed to happily steal focus from time to time), Spike Vincent’s all-too-short set featured a gorgeous array of tracks, most of which sadly went relatively unappreciated by the crowd.
While many folks decided to hang back from the front of the stage, most people seemed content to talk amongst themselves and occasionally tap their foot to the beat rather than pay attention to the action up on stage.
Regardless, those who focused on the music of Spike Vincent undoubtedly witnessed something special, leaving many to wonder how good the rest of the night would be with a band this talented opening the show.
Check out Spike Vincent’s ‘Lie In The Dust’:
After the audience was subjected to a stunning playlist over the PA (seriously, that was a brilliant playlist), the crowd gave a warm welcome to Miss June, a four-piece punk outfit from New Zealand.
Wasting no time at all, the group instantly jumped into their set, ripping through an array of ferocious, awe-inspiring numbers with an absolutely mesmerising series of songs.
While guitarist Jun Park was more animated than a cartoon, drummer Tom Leggett showed off some of the best percussion skills you’ll see anywhere, leaving you completely blown away by the band’s exceptional musical capabilities.
However, the most notable member of the group was easily their electrifying frontwoman, Annabel Liddell. Armed with some pipes most punk singers would envy, she powered through the group’s set, seeming like she was on the verge of losing her voice at all times due to her intense performance style.
Running through exceptional tracks like ‘Matriarchy’ and new single ‘Best Girl’, Miss June undoubtedly won the battle of the openers, with fans protesting the announcement of their last song, and even pleading for an encore.
However, as they closed out their set of blistering rock anthems, vocalist Liddell felt compelled to say goodbye in the most punk way possible.
Appearing frustrated with the sound coming from the foldback, she complemented her ferocious singing of the lyrics “through the cracks” by violently throwing down the microphone, letting it sink to all in attendance that we had just witnessed something truly unique.
Check out Miss June’s ‘Best Girl’:
As the audience found their way to the end of a lengthy intermission, it soon became clear that this gig would be one of the sweatiest on record, with tinned sardines undoubtedly offering up sympathy for the lack of room in the crowded venue.
However, as the lights dimmed and Ruby Fields took to the stage with her band, the cramped confines seemed to be forgotten, with the group instantly kicking things off with the opening bars of ‘I Want’.
As Ruby’s voice filled the room, her devoted fans chanted every single one of her lyrics back, drowning out the powerful rhythm section that backed these tunes. Throw in massive cheers to lyrical references to an ATAR, and Ruby’s ability to belt out the very last line of the track with force, and it was obvious that we were only just beginning to receive what was set to be a night to remember.
After running though ‘Libby’s Pink Car’, we again received some massive singalongs by way of ‘Ritalin’, which undoubtedly served as one of the night’s biggest tracks. However, when the moshing and crowd cheering finally died down, the evening’s headliner was finally able to say a few words to the audience.
“I know it’s a Tuesday but we’re going to try and have a really good time,” she joked, promising to deliver the full “Ruby Fields experience” that we all deserved.
It soon became clear what this experience entailed exactly, with a performance of ‘Climate’ proving to us that every song on offer tonight would be one to write home about.
Using this opportunity to dial things down a bit, Ruby found herself alone on stage, delivering a gorgeously poignant and reflective performance of ‘Redneck Lullaby’, which was both written about and dedicated to her mother.
Check out Ruby Fields’ ‘Climate’:
As the night continued, riotous renditions of ‘Trouble’, ‘Fairly Lame’ and ‘God Bless Turbulence’ proved Ruby Fields’ worth as a performer, managing to stun the crowd with every note, but not so much that stood still for more than a second, moshing their hearts out at every turn.
After knocking us out with the lengthy ‘Dingo’ (which featured Ruby jumping up on an amp to say ‘hi’ to drummer Patrick Rogers – “wasn’t really a rockstar moment,” she quipped), the emotion was definitely turned up a notch, bringing out a close friend to help play guitar on ‘Conny’, a tribute to a late friend which Ruby explained “means a lot to us”.
Following some exceptional guitar solos on the track, it became sadly obvious that we were heading towards the night’s finale, with countless cheers signalling the beginning of ‘The Unguarded Moment’, a song by The Church which Ruby recently covered for triple j’s Like A Version.
As fans belted out these lyrics and the song ended with a massive finish, we were treated to one of the catchiest tunes of the night by way of ‘Dodgy Neighbours (& Tax Evaders)’, which soon turned into the anthemic ‘P Plates’.
As the final guitar tones faded out though, Ruby segued into the phenomenal ‘Dinosaurs’, to excited screams of anticipation. If you think it’s odd to close out a set with a song that starts so slowly and subdued, you’ve obviously never listened to this iconic track, because it was – without hesitation – the highlight of the night.
While fans screamed along to the lyrics (somewhat undercutting the emotional intensity of the song, but we can’t blame them), the intensity of the track kept on rising, eventually reaching an almost frightening level as the huge chorus came crashing down, allowing some of the wildest moshing you’ve ever seen to take place from the front to the back of the venue.
As guitarist Adam Newling jumped up on an amplifier, no one in the audience was left standing still, with Ruby Fields belting out the lyrics, appearing absolutely exhausted as the song settled down for that final emotional line.
The energy soon subsided, and everyone in the crowd looked at each other as if they felt shocked they were overtaken by such raw musical energy, chuckling to each other as if to say, “I don’t usually do that at a concert!”
Sadly, this meant that the evening was over, with Ruby Fields and her band bidding farewell to the crowd, undoubtedly leaving punters keen to do it all again the next night.
Check out Ruby Fields’ ‘Dinosaurs’:
With Ruby Fields having been on the scene for a couple of years now, you could almost forgive her if she was to grow tired of the massive fame she’s achieved, and decided to sit back and take it easy every night.
However, the raw passion, emotion, and severe gratitude that every single member of the audience bore witness to proves that she is far more than an up-and-coming Australian muso; she a future legend of the scene.
Sure, you might not see too many sets where the artist plays every single one of their songs, and you might not hear too many shows with lyrics discussing hentai, chronic masturbation, and pwning Runescape n00bs, but damn it if that isn’t what makes Ruby Fields so exciting.
At the end of the day, it’s so rare to witness a musician with the talent, motivation, and fervour that even musicians twice their age don’t yet have, but if anything, that’s just proof that Ruby Fields is set to be one of the most electrifying musicians on the Aussie live scene for quite some time.
Check out Ruby Fields’ ‘P Plates’:
Ruby Fields @ Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda, Melbourne 28/5/19 Setlist
‘Libby’s Pink Car’
‘Fairly Lame Fairly Tame’
‘God Bless Turbulence’
‘The Unguarded Moment’ (The Church cover)
‘Dodgy Neighbours (& Tax Evaders)’
Ruby Fields Permanent Hermit Aus Tour 2019
Wednesday, May 29th (Sold Out)
The Espy, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday, May 30th (Sold Out)
The Espy, Melbourne, VIC
Friday, May 31st (Sold Out)
Torquay Hotel, Torquay, VIC
Saturday, June 1st (Sold Out)
Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide, SA
Sunday, June 2nd (Sold Out)
Badlands, Perth, WA
Friday, June 7th
Kambri Anu, Canberra, ACT
Saturday, June 8th (Sold Out)
Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
Tickets available through Ruby Fields’ website