Live Concert Photography: The Ramona Flowers at Coney Island Baby 5/9/18
Comprised of founding members Steve Bird (vocals) and Dave Betts (keys, guitar), along with Wayne Jones (bass) and Ed Gallimore (drums), the Bath and London-based indie rock act The Ramona Flowers, derive their name from one of Scott Pilgrim’s evil ex-girlfriends in the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World — and interestingly enough, the band can trace its origins back to when Betts and Bird met at a costume party. As the story goes Betts was dressed as Freddie Mercury while Bird was dressed as a vacuum cleaner. A woman that Betts knew claimed to have been stood by on a Tinder date by a “good-looking guy,” who was also a professional drummer — that professional drummer turned out to be Ed Gallimore. Wayne Jones was recruited to complete the band’s lineup.
According to the members of the band, they all bonded over a shared interest and passion in finding the sweet spot between arena rock and electronica releasing 2014’s Dismantle and Rebuild and 2016’s Part Time Spies; however, their third full-length effort Strangers finds the band carefully honing and refining their sound, and as a result the album, which continues their ongoing collaboration with producer Chris Zane may arguably be the most ambitious and dance floor friendly of their career to date. And while largely inspired by the band’s experiences touring the world, and the people they’ve met while on the road, the album’s material also focuses on the swirling whirlwind of first love, when everything seems absolutely wonderful — and the desire to both hold on that feeling a bit longer, and to repeat it.
Along with the greater emphasis on the dance floor, as the band explains, Strangers found the band radically changing their songwriting process with each member writing separately, using computers and synthesizers before bringing material in for the rest of the band to complete as a team in the studio. “These guys don’t pick up their guitars any more,” the band’s Bird jokes in press notes. “It wasn’t a conscious decision. It was just the way it naturally progressed. We’ve always been going that way.”
I recently caught the up-and-coming British band play material off their recently released Strangers at an intimate show at the Lower East Side’s newest venue Coney Island Baby. Check out some photos from the show and the album below.