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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Rue Rocks New York
Wednesday, November 07, 2007

This past Friday my radio show was pre-empted for college basketball and it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. At first I was disappointed, but then I remembered that my girl Rue Melo was going to be in NYC to perform and I quickly hit up her publicist to get on the list. Once on the list (+1, of course) I called up a buddy of mine that I hadn’t seen in a while and we were ready to head out.

The event was technically a Lyrics Born show, but Rue was the opener with an extended 30 minute set. We arrived in time to grab a drink and go up to the balcony area and take a seat in one of the nice smaller sections that had sofas along the walls. About ten minutes later we were approached by a woman who introduced herself as Norma, Rue’s manager. I knew Norma from all my interviews with Rue and quickly introduced myself. She noted that she pretty much assumed whoever was in those seats knew Rue. We asked why. She replied that there was a sign in front of the section that read “Reserved for Rue Melo.” We hadn’t seen the sign despite it being in the perfect spot to greet us as soon as we had arrived at the top of the staircase. Sometimes dumb luck has a way of making things right.

Rue hit the stage with her band at 9:45pm, dressed simply, but nicely in jeans and a multi-colored jacket, and opened with a non-album cut. Two songs in she’d lose the jacket and perform the rest of the show in a wifebeater and jeans. It was a subliminal announcement that she wanted people to focus on the music, not what’s she’s wearing (although I have focused on just that for two sentences). Her music was worth focusing on as it shined through and did so in a way that was slightly different from her stellar eponymous debut album. While her album is peppered with Latin rhythms Rue’s live show had more of a rock feel to it. Her band, comprised of guitarist Martin Estrada, bassist Bryan Bush and drummer Idris Tate, have clearly been playing together for a while. They played off of each other perfectly and there was never any question of who was supposed to be doing what. They also love to rock. At the end of the set Rue even left the stage to let her band close it out with a jam session where they all went back and forth with each other for a few minutes.

Flirtatious and fun, during her time on stage Rue danced alongside Estrada as he played his guitar, played with the crowd a bit and slyly smiled at us with a knowing grin a few times. At one point my buddy turned to me and said he was reminded of early No Doubt, a comparison I usually reserve for Paramore, but in this case he was fairly on the money due to the way Rue’s band was completely rocking out and Rue’s prominent presence on stage despite her being so diminutive. She was very much a Gwen Stefani on this night.

Tate caught some much deserved flak for wearing an Atlanta Braves hat in New York. As a Mets fan I was going to say something after the show, but another Mets fan beat me to it, getting vocal during a break in-between songs and yelling at him to take his hat off. He added a loud “Mets rule” for his two word reasoning as to why. (No argument from me there!)

After Rue’s set was done and she had made her way to her merch table we went down to say hey and hang out for a while. I also ran into Bush and had a nice conversation with him, as well. My buddy and I closed the evening chilling out with Rue and her manager while listening to Lyrics Born’s set, which was much more beat oriented than lyric oriented thanks to his band interpolating numerous songs, including classics such as “Living in America” and “Sweet Dreams.”

On this night, however, Lyrics Born wasn’t my concern, I was there to see was Rue, and that’s who I saw, so in my book it was a successful evening. And even though I love her album it was nice to find out she could also switch it up a bit. Putting a new spin on things shows some real musical ability. So while I love the smooth grooves on her record I also dig the fact that there’s a less “mellow” side to Rue, as well.

Related Links

Website: ruemusic.com
MySpace: myspace.com/ruetracks
Adam’s World: Artist of the Week – Rue Melo
60 Second Review: Rue Melo

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