After a frenzied two days of CMJ running around the city, I was looking forward to a more low key night at Subculture for Irish band, The Rua. The performance art space/venue was transformed into the perfect setting for the band to make their US debut.
As the lights went down, siblings Roseanna, Jonathan and Alanna walked onstage and greeted the crowd enthusiastically. The band, although quite young in age, exuded a level of professionalism, stage presence and poise that I don’t see often. Roseanna, on lead vocals and guitar, Jonathan on violin and guitar, and Alanna on piano and backing vocals, have previously garnered comparisons to bands like The Cranberries, The Coors, and Fleetwood Mac, but hearing their performance, I can’t single out one band in particular that I would liken their sound to.
Joined by Blondie bassist Nigel Harrison and drummer Clive Davison who has previously worked with Radiohead and Portishead, the band played songs from their upcoming debut album, Essence, which is slated for release later this year. Roseanna joked about penning a song while watching the cult classic film, Alien, focusing on a minimal lyrics during the chorus because “I really hate remembering lyrics…” Roseanna quipped. The highlight of the night for me was a soft ballad called “Standout” which was inspired by a relative of the band who always maintained a positive outlook on life, even in the face of her own battle with cancer. Roseanna’s voice was mature well beyond her years, while Jonathan’s violin work, Alanna’s piano accompaniment and both of their harmonies anchored the band’s sound.
I’m sure this isn’t the last you’ll see or hear of The Rua stateside. Be sure to check them out when they visit your city.
Article by: Lesley Keller