Martin Van Ruin at Fitzgerald’s 8/17/18

Being a fan of Martin Van Ruin is a bit like having a best friend that moved away when you were kids. You get together every few years and have an amazing time and at the end of the day you both know you won’t see each other again for a while. That makes every show this band performs all the more important. I’ve been fortunate to see them three times now, and this was easily their best set.

Their new album, Current Day, was released on Friday (digital only), so the songs were nice and fresh. This show was their first since recording these tunes and it was obvious they were excited/nervous to play them for an audience for the first time. They’ve added some new textures to their sound and the results are really something.

The 11-Song set highlighted the best of the new album and also provided some choice cuts from their debut Every Man A King. Everything sounded great, but the final three really took it to another level. “Always Talking” closes Current Day but played the antepenultimate role here. I love the line “Those clowns downtown deserve some mocking, but don’t mind their kind, their always talking, about how they get by.”

The band’s video for “On The Level” premiered on this very site last week. The song was the first indication that they had found some new toys to play with during their hiatus and they do a wonderful job of integrating them. It’s far more danceable than anything they’ve done in the past and serves as a reminder that they’re ability as musicians hasn’t gone away just because they haven’t put out a record in a long time.

The set ended with “Gold And Love And Gin,” which you could argue remains their best song. It’s got a little whiskey swagger (or in this case I guess it’s gin) to it and the cockiness is definitely earned with the brilliant back and forth between guitar and violin.

If you haven’t taken the time to check out Martin Van Ruin, I suggest you do so. You can find Current Day here. Just don’t expect them to be appearing in your town any time soon.