Love Amongst Ruin @ Scala
aaamusic | On 13, Jun 2010
London, 9th June
After their first gig at Barfly few weeks back, tonight it’s a proper show for Love Amongst Ruin, Steve Hewitt new project (yes, the ex Placebo drummer).
For those of you who, like myself, really liked them up until Sleeping with Ghosts and then hated all the emo twist, it is with a mixture of excitement and concern that you step in to Scala tonight. I always thought that Steve just got fed up with the crap they were playing, leading to the split with fellow mates, and tonight’s gig just confirmed it. Steve took a different route, a damn good one.
Needless to say, Scala was pretty full tonight, and this goes to his work with Placebo. There are lots of fans there, all dressed up in emo fashion, and lots of Italians at the front. I wonder what they thought of the show, it couldn’t sound more different that the last two Placebo albums and I bet a pint those are the only ones they know anyway.
So, back to Love Amongst Ruin. If you expected to see Steve on drums, well, get over it, those days are gone (for now) as Steve does a Grohl one by embracing guitar and lead vocals duties. Fascinating, he sings incredibly well, soft yet powerful and rough when needed voice, it’s a shame that the sound engineer is not doing a great job and if you down at front you won’t hear a thing (thanks Alessia for the feedback!), despite the continuous requests and signal from Steve. Oh well, the beauty of live performance.
The first track is Blood & Earth picks elements from Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, sharp guitar riffs, distorted vocals, accelerate rhythmic. Sounds more American than British and more Anthem rock than indie. The catchy chorus “I gotta run just to get away” seems quite appropriate for his departure from Placebo, quite clever and amusing. You cannot avoid noticing how relaxed and happy Steve is, just like a child playing with a shiny and much wanted toy. This band seems really to suit him.
Next on is Alone, another rock ‘n’ roll anthem with tambourine additions. The band plays it tight and everyone really enjoys it.
I am surprised that, despite being three guitarists, the sound is not heavier. Instead, every note plays a specific and important role in the architecture of the song. Everything has a meaning and it emerges a maniac attention to detail in both the lyrics and the rhythmic. I spent some time just observing the way they played: the handsome glam guitarist who never says a word, just stays there focused on making love with his guitar; Steve giving himself 100% to the crowd, passionate about every word he sings and every note he plays, secretly aware of the expectation everyone has for his new project; the other guitarist, standing out as a contracts with the glam rock companion thanks to his impeccable suit and by no means being less important on guitar duties, producing incredible guitar riffs; the bassist and electro Double Bass player, I could have spent days just watching him touching the strings with such delicacy yet firm in order to create the perfect sound; the impressive drummer, looking very much like an heavy metal one, never missed a beat and the multi instrumental guy on duty on keyboards, extra drumming and cello, a real talent. They couldn’t be more different yet they melt incredibly well together, and this is their strength. Their diverse background is what gives them the sparkle, their unique sound.
Totally carried away by their technique, I get back into the gig by the beautiful track Oh God. Dedicated by an emotional Steve to his friend, the late Stuart Cable, it is a beautiful rock ballad, which highlights Steve vocal skills. Everyone is silent now, respectfully listening to a man paying tribute to his friend, coming undone on stage in front of strangers, shedding a tear and asking the crowd to bear with him. Possibly one of the highlights of the night.
The gig continued with other rock ballads such as Truth and Bring Me Down, followed by the forthcoming single So Sad (Fade) – sharp vocals and guitar riffs, tight drum beat, this is a great example of how a rock ‘n’ roll ballad should sound like.
The set is closed by Home, great track, amazing beat (with double drumming), infernal guitar riffs, rough vocals (loving it!) and a broken guitar. This is definitely my favourite track, a perfect way to end the show.
The crowd doesn’t seem to have ad enough though and starts screaming for more. Steve and the guys walk back on stage and Steve tells them that, as they’re on the first record all they can do is playing a track that they already played, asking if for them that is cool. The response is affirmative so they played again So Sade (Fade), this time without Steve playing guitar as he previously smashed it. Everyone got really excited again and truly enjoyed and appreciated their effort to engage with the crowd and please them.
It was a great night, I truly love this new project and I am glad that Steve took a brave route and walk a different path from the known, safe Placebo sound, doing what he truly is made for: rock ‘n’ roll. I really wish them to get the recognition they deserve.
Blood & Earth
Heaven & Hell
Away From Me
Bring Me Down
So Sad (Fade)
So Sad (Fade)