For those who don’t really care about the words that follow, here’s a gallery of photos from two Bitter Ruin gigs.
My overtly eclectic taste in music means that, while I certainly like some artists more than others, I have never been fanatical enough about a single band to become one of those dedicated few that follows the entire European leg of a tour, a permanent front-row presence that the band starts to recognise. While I wouldn’t trade the spread of music for a narrower focus, I always felt like I was missing out on some part of the fan experience. So it took me slightly by surprise when, during another band’s set at Bitter Ruin‘s Underworld gig, Georgia spotted me in the crowd and waved. Having accidentally discovered the band together, Romina and I now meet up every time the band play in London as a kind of sibling bonding ritual. Enough, certainly, that the band know whom we are and will even have the odd drink.
Unusually this meant seeing them play twice this month, both times in Camden: once at the Underworld at once at Proud. Seeing them twice is hardly a chore, but the second show was made more unique as the band were debuting both a new music video and new stage costumes, replacing the ones which had been their signature look for the past two years. Discussing the unveiling of the latter with Ben at the earlier Underworld gig, he seemed slightly confused by my apprehension, but given the theatrical nature of Bitter Ruin’s live performance, their fans have become so comfortably familiar with their stage appearance that any change was as unnerving as it was exciting. Naturally we need not have worried, their updated appearance creating a similar vibe with a more mature sensibility. I suspect Georgia was relieved to lose the heavy (if incredibly evocative) eye make-up, with the strange result that she looks younger while dressed older. The choice of song for the new video, the softer A Brand New Me, surprised many but looks as gorgeous as expected (if filthier), directed again by Mark Withers who also helmed the excellent Beware video. Meanwhile the band continue to take to the stage with increasing ease, Ben quipping, “When we say, ‘Any requests?’, what we mean is, ‘Can you guess what song we’re going to play next?'”