Words and Photos by Sapphire Mason Brown

Live and unamplified. A gig stripped down to nothing other than the artists and their instruments; acoustic guitars primarily. No lights, no smoke, and as you can guess from the title, no amplification. All we have is the music, making it all the more important that the artists shine; the spotlight isn't there to do it for them.p> There's something of the troubadour about Oh Ruin; one cannot help but imagine him sitting in a green or strolling around a village strumming his tales that invoke a time past. Oh Ruin (Eoin O'Ruainigh) inconspicuously sits on the stool at the centre of the stage and begins picking and strumming at his guitar after the briefest of introductions. As his fingers quickly change position there is an audible hush that begins to fall over the already quiet audience as they take in the complex melodies.

Oh Ruin's passionate distinguished vocals speak of desire, lost loves and stories told by the moon. The songs are filled with lyrics that need to be savoured. "The Pillow where your head does lay" begins, "Climb up on the rooftops to the top of your voice, and tell it to the sky, you love has arrived" continuing with waves of lyrics showcasing the writing ability of this talented artist. This is only occasionally interrupted by his need to keep tuning his guitar, on one occasion saying, "Who makes these?" something all the more entertaining as in Eoin is a trained luthier and made the guitar he presently plays.

'The Pillow Where Your Head Does Lay' is followed by a rendition of 'Now is the Needed Time', a traditional gospel song delivered with such consistently with his style and emotion that it could easily be assumed to be one of his own. The set ends with the initially calm, 'Just like Kat's Guitar', which quickly increases in energy but unfortunately signals the end of the show. Fortunately, the end is preceded by another guitar instrumental that is just as impressive as the first.

And then, as casually as he stepped on stage, Oh Ruin bids the audience farewell and exits the stage but not without leaving a lasting impression.