If you missed this show, you truly missed out!
Not to rub it in, but Ruston Kelly is one of our favourite artist of 2018 and his London show at the Slaughtered Lamb only cemented that. Having recently released his debut record Dying Star, Ruston is the exact opposite of that – a rising star. His modern twist on country music is exactly the kind of sound the UK is looking for.
Kicking things off were London duo Ferris & Sylvester who performed songs off their new record Made In Streatham which they recorded in their kitchen. Single Better In Yellow was featured on the Wimbledon Soundtrack this year. But their set also included the audience reciting viking chants and stomps.
“Wassup?” Ruston greets the audience with his casual cool attitude as he takes the stage. Launching straight into the opening track of Dying Star, Kelly shows off his songwriting and harmonica skill from start to finish. “Sick! That’s actually the same key!” He jokes as someone’s phone goes off as he picks his guitar for the intro to Mockingbird.
But the banter doesn’t stop there. As one girl hackles “Get naked!” from the back Ruston tries to figure out if that was what the UK calls “cheeky”. “Speaking of getting naked – I broke up with this chick and wasn’t getting naked.” as he kicks off Hollywood off his 2017 release Halloween.
Fun fact of the evening – Trying To Let Her was originally supposed to be recorded by country superstar Kenny Chesney, twice. Ruston eventually decided, after Kenny changing his mind a few too many times, to just record the track himself. And boy, we’re glad he did. No offence to Kenny, but we’re pretty sure he couldn’t have done a better job of it.
“Are you ready for some of the most depressing songs of your life?” Kelly queries before swapping his guitar for the piano and playing us Big Brown Bus and a new track about how he used to do Morphine.
As he picks up the guitar again, Kelly proclaims “Some more very uplifting songs coming your way” as we listen to Paratroopers Battlecry. The song’s chorus will give you goosebumps on record – live, it will knock you off your chair.
Audience requests like Anchor, Asshole and 1000 Graves in a special reworked version for Koty from Chicago (Koty if we spelled your name wrong, we apologise!) which turned out “better than she ever could have imagined”, and she ain’t wrong.
“This song came to me like a dream. I overdosed and woke up in the hospital, did an actual walk of shame… And I got home, I went out on the porch and lit a little ciggy. And, uh, stared out at the street and this song popped into my head.” he introduces the title track of latest release Dying Star.
As eleven pm draws near and the curfew looms over our heads, Ruston has one last treat for us. The absolutely beautiful Just For The Record, which, fun fact #2, was also recorded for Lucie Silvas’ new album EGO as the pair wrote it together.
It’s become even more evident that if you haven’t checked out Ruston Kelly yet, you honestly should. Even if country music isn’t your thing, this is just honest-to-god epic songwriting.