Live Review: Queer Irish pop icon Jack Rua electrifies crowd at The Button Factory

“I don’t need to catch my breath. I’m Jack fucking Rua!”

Image Source: Luke Faulkner

The Button Factory’s stage glows purple as queer anthems, from the likes of the Spice Girls and RuPaul, bubble through the venue’s sound system. The mood is set for the second live show from Jack Rua, one of the first indoor gigs to take place in the country since the recent easing of lockdown restrictions.

The frontman himself makes his way to centre stage, composed with his hands behind his back as the audience cheers and applauds. The first track of the night, ‘Narcissus’: A hard-hitting ode to hyperpop is then brought to life by Jack’s commanding vocals and a smashing performance from the live band.

Jack has fun with his natural stage presence, from gyrating hips to full on head banging, as he delivers some of his most major releases such as ‘Curious’ and ‘Scarlet A’ – a dynamic combination of theatre and fierce sexual confidence. Later on in the set, fellow queer Irish pop artist Viscose joins Jack on stage for a dazzling performance of their song ‘Self Love’. An unreleased floorfiller with elements of pop/rock tinged with disco.

The audience is treated to more unreleased music as Jack performs his upcoming single ‘Vaccum’. With a playful drum-beat intro leading into a glam-rock banger, enough energy to fill a stadium, it rivals the sounds of No Doubt and Blondie.

Through the entire live performance, the audience is invited to not only reflect on mutual emotive experiences such as navigating relationships, loneliness and sex but to dance our way through them too in this realm of contemporary electro-rock created by Jack Rua. It’s also queer AF too.

And dance we did! Well, seated. Until the introduction of a snippet of unreleased track ‘I Don’t Like Pop Music’ began; instantly getting the crowd excited as we headed into the climax of the show following a chorus of, “One more tune!”

Image: Issey Goold

The frontman and his band held nothing back as they delivered the show’s finishing numbers ‘Ego (feat. LOGUOS)’ and ‘Rise (feat. Darce)’. All while the crowd hopped and cheered, in a really wonderful moment, a celebration of the artists and spaces that we’ve all missed so much.

We spoke to Jack after the show to get his thoughts on what it was like being in front of an audience again, performing new tracks live and what’s to come in the near future…

How was it being back on stage with a live band and audience?

“This was actually my first time ever performing with the full band on stage! We had started working together at the end of 2019 getting ready for some 2020 shows and then miss Panny D struck. Chris, Andrew and Charlie are all so talented and add so much to the music so it was so satisfying to see it all come together. And what can I say about performing in front of an audience? For a self-proclaimed Narcissus-tic performer like myself there is no greater feeling than getting people on their feet and dancing and singing along to your music, it’s so special.”

Image: Issey Goold

You performed some new tracks during the set (one of which you had only just rehearsed for the first time a couple hours before!) how was that experience?

“It was great. Creating music in the isolation of a pandemic can kind of feel like an echo chamber of your own self-doubt at times, so part of me was worried and wondered whether this new music lived up to the stuff I’d already put out because I’d never really received any validation through performing it live. Thankfully the audience loved the new stuff, especially the new song with Viscose.”

What can we expect from the Haus of Rua in future?

“I have an absolute vault of new music, for me it’s just a case of releasing what at what time. It’s all quite party-party music so I want to release it when people are actually in the mood to shake their asses. I have created a little project that will hopefully be dropping this year that centres around…. orgasms! So that’s something. Also hello gigs! I want to play more shows! I have missed performing so much and I’m actually quite good at it so heya @MCD, @Aiken.”

Follow Jack Rua on Instagram to keep up to date on future releases and live gigs and be sure to check out his latest EP I Don’t Party Enough Anymore featuring Saint Taint below on Spotify.

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