Ruby Throat at Folklore Hackney
Choosing the whimsical decor and intimate size of Folklore in Hackney as a backdrop to an ethereal performance, Ruby Throat showcases tracks from their fourth album in front of a loyal fanbase.
One of the original Riot Grrrls, singer Katie Jane Garside broke onto the music scene during the early 90s with her band Daisy Chainsaw. Immediate success and fame took its grip and after a mere two years of performing she let herself retreat silently. After a cathartic return with a new group, Queenadreena, Garside eventually disbanded the project for a gentler approach. Now she dips her barefoot toes back into the scene with her Neo-folk band Ruby Throat, which has evolved into an acoustic pairing with guitarist and long-term partner Chris Whittingham
The duo start their set by weaving their way through the audience. Garside’s trademark long, tatty locks are adorned with a sprinkling of blueish cornflowers and a homemade crown with rabbit ears. Trademark sunglasses shield her eyes as she follows her partner to the storybook stage and it begins to feel like the start of a surreal Alice in Wonderland theatre production.
Quietly and softly they start with single Hu’u, taken from their 2017 album Baby Darling Taporo. The singer-songwriter‘s childlike vocals sear through the silence in the room as the appreciative audience are instantaneously spellbound. Whittingham’s accompaniment varies between use of acoustic and lap steel guitars, his solid delivery in stark contrast to the animated performance by the singer. With arms flung high, hysterical laughter, maniacal screams that could shatter windows and whispering prose she leads us from song to song, although sometimes the delivery is so quiet it becomes hard to differentiate between the tracks.
With much of her new work revolving around their life on a boat, at times, Garside’s murmurs even sound like the ebb and flow of the tide, whilst her floaty pitch seems to exude the sounds of sirens. For parts of her set she is seen clutching a transistor radio to her ear like a conch shell only she can hear, appearing seemingly lost in her own magical world.
As the evening unfolds, she is joined on stage by an additional female guitarist who adds her own deeper, sultry vocals to tracks such as Salto Angel and Stone Dress and whilst complementing Garside’s beautiful voice she also adds another focal point upon the stage.
Garside detaches herself intentionally from her audience with her minimal interaction, and only pauses twice, once to tell us “I think it’s time for bed”, and the other to ask herself “What you gonna do now Katie-Jane?”, at which we, the audience, cannot even fathom a guess….
Photo: Kai Campbell
For further information and future events visit Ruby Throat’s website here.
Watch the video for Hu’u here: