I descended upon my favorite venue, Saint Vitus, to check out Emma Ruth Rundle’s headline tour. I had caught her a couple of months back at the same venue, doing an acoustic set opening for Young Widows. While mainly unfamiliar with her catalog, the song that stuck out the most to me was a new track titled “Fever Dreams”. Emma’s haunting melodies really struck a chord during that song, and she ended her final song by walking amongst us in the crowd, sans microphone and is easily one of the more intimate performances I’ve ever witnessed.
Fast forward to this past Friday night, and Emma Ruth Rundle was back in town to headline this time, and she was outfitted with a full band featuring main support Jaye Jayle’s Evan Patterson and Todd Cook on guitar and bass, respectively. Patterson, known for his other band mentioned earlier, Young Widows, is married to Rundle and is a connection I did not realize before the show.
The night was opened by SIGE artist Nordra, who’s largely instrumental set saw her utilize multiple synths, guitars, trumpet and very clever looping. Her set was a dynamic rollercoaster with moments of extreme noise pulsating sub heavy beats followed by ethereal vocal looping.
Jaye Jayle was up next, and this would be my second time seeing the Louisville based band. The set opened with “No Trail (Path One)” off their newly released album No Trail And Other Unholy Paths. The only similarities between Patterson’s bands are the dark stage dimly lit by clip on lamps and the formal black attire in which the members perform. I liken much of Jaye Jayle’s music to a dark, menacing western soundtrack. Patterson’s vocals maintain a lower register delivery, with riffs droning on while the rhythm section pound on odd time signatures.
Patterson often times ditches his trademark dissonant yet ambient guitar licks for synth/keys, which is often accentuated by multi-instrumentalist Corey Smith on synthesizer/percussion/guitar/vocals. Emma joined for vocals on “No Trail (Path Two)”, as she was a contributor to guitar and vocals on the album.
Jaye Jayle would return the favor, as Emma Ruth Rundle’s newly released album, On Dark Horses, features the full band configuration seen on tour. The main room of Saint Vitus which had slowly filled as the night wore on reached full capacity as Rundle took the stage. The opener to the set was a pair of new tracks, “Dead Set Eyes” and “Apathy On The Indiana Border”. Rundles haunting melodies were so fitting over Patterson's atmospheric yet jagged riffs, making them a fitting musical couple.
While much of her set was comprised of newer material, there were a few tracks off of previous full length, Marked For Death. Rundle ended her set doing a solo acoustic performance of “Shadows Of My Name”, which changed the energy in the room and ended the night on a high note.
Overall, a fantastic night of live music that touched on many genres. Emma Ruth Rundle’s new album On Dark Horses is available now on Sargent House.
video by Jamie Van Beveren