Live Review: Ru Outshine the Sky at the Perth Observatory
So you think you know the Perth music scene, right? You've been going to gigs at HQ since you were old enough to catch public transport on your own, headed to Fairbridge on your red Ps and have followed the rise of Stella Donnelly more closely than the AFL. Enter Ru; the brainchild of prodigy Zal Kanga-Parabia, ready and waiting to flip all preconceived notions of Perth sound on their head. Ru debuted at the 2017 Perth Fringe Festival as a quintet and have been blowing minds ever since. Their most recent gig, an intimate affair at the Perth Observatory, was an unforgettable night of stars, both on and off stage.
The cold room at the observatory was lit by wandering constellations, warmed by the murmur of chatter that only occurs at intimate gigs like this. The band, affectionately coined 'the roos', began in stillness, and created some kind of heaven with their angelic sound (if heaven could only fit 60 people and was designed in the 1970s). Their honest yet ethereal music has the ability to touch the human spirit, and is a testament to the power of a well-composed song to embrace, encourage and refresh an audience. It is moving in a 'why am I crying' sort of way, constantly asking for more attention until the whole crowd becomes one body listening with bated breath.
Nothing else I have witnessed on stage embodies the sheer sense of wonder at creation the way Ru does. Laura Strobech holds the audience in the gentle palm of her lilting voice as they are guided through wandering melodies of Matt Salt's sax, Zal's guitar and Wayan Dana's bass. They are often reminiscent of Justin Vernon's works, playing a cover of 'Holocene' that left everyone breathless. It was a lyrically, melodically and harmonically tiered performance that required intentional listening, and sometimes participation; well worth the audience's while when they paid close attention and met the band halfway.
This band gives so much more than it takes. It is a sound well practised in the art of letting go, and moving on, that evokes emotion beyond what we think we are capable of, and brings the macrocosm of life into the intimate now. There are very few moments like those that Ru orchestrates, and so, I invite you to step into one and be changed for the better because of it.