EMA - Manchester Ruby Lounge
Erika M. Anderson, trading as EMA, received widespread critical support for new album Future’s Void, yet only a handful of Ruby Lounge regulars turn up to hear more of her musings on life in the digital age. Too busy posting on Facebook maybe to come out of the house? It's a shame, because there's much to commend about the album, and much to like about EMA.
As a violin solo heralds her entrance onto the stage, the dark sunglasses seem like overkill in the gloom, yet they do come off after first song, 'Satellites'. She moves effortlessly from the synth keys of ‘3jane’, to the heavy guitars of ‘Butterfly Kisses to the samba-style drums of ‘Neuromancer’. Unfortunately, a heckler interrupts the proceedings: polite remonstration fails to have the required effect, so he gets a bottle of water over his head for his troubles and the instruction to “cool off” - much to the delight of everyone else in the audience.
In spite of the poor turnout, EMA puts her all into the set, throwing herself around the stage during the elongated guitar solos and wrapping herself up in the microphone wires as she sings. Almost all of the new album is on the set list, with a smattering of older songs, and even a track from previous incarnation, Gowns. As the show draws to a close, Anderson takes advantage of the intimate surroundings and perches on the barrier in front of the stage to sing ‘Dead Celebrity'.
Returning for an encore, an emotive cover of Bikini Kill's ‘Feels Blind’ provides a link to a previous generation of female artists who had to kick against the (occasional) prick. Manchester, you sure missed something special.