A couple of weeks ago DCist posted an article about a new, young band in DC, The Vita Ruins. Typically I don't care much for the music discussed at DCist but given it was a slow day and the writer was very enthusiastic, I decided to make my way over to the band's MySpace site for a listen. What I heard blew me away.
Admittedly, I know nothing about music. Sure, I listen to it frequently but I can't evaluate skilled instrumentation and I couldn't tell you if one band sounds just like another. But, I do know when I like listening to something.
The Vita Ruins have a sound that is unique to me. It's evocative and deep, and calls to mind anything from classic rock (Pink Floyd) to modern day rock (Coldplay*). Their first four recorded songs each have individualized power (check MySpace to give them a listen). They come at you from different angles but remain distinctly Ruins-esque. I listened to those four songs constantly the week the DCist article came out. When I saw that they would be playing their second ever show at the Galaxy Hut in Clarendon, I knew I had to attend.
The concert was this past Saturday night. I had never been to the Hut before but really liked it. They have a wonderful selection of quality beers on tap** and while the space was tiny (posted capacity of 48 people), it had a charm about it that fought against the corporatized nature of Clarendon.
When we arrived it became pretty clear that we were one of the few people who weren't friends of the band. It was a unique perspective to see the band members try to remain focused on the gig while still cutting up with their buddies. The band spent quite some time tuning up and at this point I began to get worried. There four recorded songs are really well produced. I've heard recordings from major labels that don't sound nearly as finished as these. For me, this was a huge part of making me like the band - they clearly are doing things right from the start. Anyway, the band would play a verse or two of a song as part of their tune-up and I noticed that the vocals were very shaky. I thought, "oh no, the recorded songs sound so perfect... did they really produce the songs that much?"
At about 10 the band began to play their set and my worries were alleviated. The lead singer's voice came around and sounded excellent, even in a less-than-perfect environment. The band played the four songs from MySpace and mixed in a few new songs as well. I was beyond pleased that they had new material to play and didn't resort to doing covers.
From what I understand, The Vita Ruins were officially formed earlier this year, but I believe some of the guys have been friends for a while. The band members looked to be about 22-24 years old and like I said earlier, this was their second performance ever. I was pleased by the performance and I believe that there is a bright future ahead of them.
When I left the Hut (prior to The SkyDivers taking the stage) I couldn't help but think to myself about how much I hope these guys can keep their stuff together. I want them to practice 4 hours a day. I want them to market themselves smartly and exhaustively. I want them to stay out of trouble. I want them to continue the professionalism that is demonstrated by their four recorded songs (the CD isn't pressed yet... not sure what the hold up is). Essentially, I wish the very best for The Vita Ruins. This is a band that I think can be really big in a few years and I can't wait to follow along every step of the way.
Give them a listen. What do you think?
* During the Ruins performance on Saturday night, a friend of the band yelled out in the middle of a song that they sounded just like Coldplay. There was a lot of good natured ribbing going on throughout the set.
** It became immediately clear how young the band was when their friends (early 20s) kept ordering more and more Bud Light. I mean, come on, another buck for a Magic Hat #9 or Newcastle on tap won't break the bank!