WORDS AND IMAGES BY GEORGIA GRIFFITHS
There’s been a rush of gigs post-COVID restrictions, as punters try to make the most of this newfound freedom and musicians try to earn a living again. This has meant the return of mid-week shows, where ardent fans come together regardless of tomorrow’s plans. On Tuesday night the Factory Theatre was home to one of these gatherings, heaving with Ruby Fields enthusiasts. Those who made the effort to come out were not disappointed.
Towns, a duo from Adelaide, opened the show. They were really just having fun with their brand of 90s infused indie rock, with a few onstage mistakes simply adding to their charm. It was clear the stage was much bigger than they were expecting, a point addressed directly by frontman Aston Valladares, although it’s always tough for a duo to fill a stage in the same way a band would. It didn’t matter much though, as they kept the crowd engaged through amusing banter and drummer Daniel Steinert’s chanting challenges. They ripped through their discography, with ‘Safe to Stay’, ‘I Don’t Mind’ and latest single ‘Swimming’ all getting the crowd moving. Their mashup of 90s theme songs was also very well received. Overall, they were a great choice for a support, and would have found a few new fans in Sydney as a result.
Watching Ruby Fields and her band on stage always feels like you’re watching a bunch of good mates jamming. Tuesday was no different, despite Fields admitting she was feeling under the weather. The energy of her bandmates made up for her taking it a little bit easier than usual, and the crowd reciprocated. Opening with her latest single ‘R.E.G.O’, Fields and co made their way through her discography. Almost every track was a crowd favourite, from early tracks ‘I Want’ and ‘P-Plates’ to the more recent ‘Pretty Grim’. There was also a previous of her upcoming single, ‘Song About A Boy’. Fields announced that this would feature on her debut album, due later this year. It was obvious how fresh it was to the setlist though, as she forgot how it went initially but got through it in the end. Between this track and ‘R.E.G.O’, the album is shaping up to be some of Fields’ best work yet.
There was a sweet moment for ‘Redneck Lullaby’, a song that saw Fields remain on stage by herself as the band took a moment backstage. She mentioned that her mum was in the crowd, and that ‘Redneck Lullaby’ was written for her. It was a quieter part in an otherwise rowdy show. The set closed with ‘Dinosaurs’, the track that saw Fields come in at Number 9 in the triple j Hottest 100 of 2018. It’s always a big singalong moment from the crowd, and has a touching part at the end where everyone on stage comes together around Ruby and sings. Having seen the band do this at a seated show last year, it was a poignant reminder that the little moments in music are just as good as the flashy showmanship.
Ultimately, Tuesday night was a triumphant return to form for Fields. While she made the most of the seated shows last year, there’s something special about having a dance with your mates and watching the band do the same.