Audible Ruination

Vita 2A while back I was debating with one of my friends about the nuances of the Main Stage at the Black Cat. While we sat in a dark corner of the Red Room, swilling back some booze, we were locked into a conversation trying to name local bands that would be able to pull off a successful show and fill the large room that has hosted countless local and national acts throughout the years. One of the first bands out of my friend’s mouth was The Vita Ruins. He proceeded to describe their mash of electronic sequencing and reverb laden guitars. After hearing my friends excitable pitch I was hoping that I would get to see them soon and also hoping that it would be at the Black Cat main stage.  On March 5th I put my friend’s theory to the test as The Vita Ruins took the Main Stage for their own CD release party.

Five years have passed since The Vita Ruins introduced themselves to the DC music scene and the evolution of the band has gone through a number of line-up changes. The band was started by two likeminded multi-instrumentalists, Tim Kratzer and Greg Balleza. Since releasing their highly acclaimed EP “Thanks for Your Concern (But We’re Okay),” they have become a favorite of local music aficionados. Their lineup has been ever changing and recently they had to part ways with their drummer (Mike Seaner) and bassist (Ian Wright). Even with these departures Tim and Greg continue to commit themselves to their sound and performance focusing on an even broader experience. Since 2007 they have been holed up in their custom built studio recording and perfecting the new album and with the addition of Rob Hart the Vita Ruins seem poised to make some beautiful noise.

Now with their CD finished and a long recording process behind them you could feel the excitement in the air. The room slowly filled with an enthusiastic crowd as two other local favorites, Ra Ra Rasputin and Cobra Collective put on an entertaining and energetic show. The dance floor was now filled with people and the crowd started to look more fitting to receive a national act, rather than a local one.  It was clear that both old and new fans alike were enthused with the new offering from Vita Ruins and anxious to support them.Vita 3

The stage went dark and out filed Greg, Tim, and Rob. They tore right into a new untitled new song, ready for the hungry ears of the audience. All three stood across the front of the stage as the ever-present  Macbook held the drum beats down and the knob tweaking started. One of the most fascinating thing about them was how tight they played with the computer. Often bands can struggle playing with such an unforgivable component, however The Vita Ruins masterfully used it to maximum effect. My favorite of the night was “Seven Suns.” I was lucky enough to grab a copy of the album before the show and this song really stood out to me both recorded and live.  This song possesses the same shimmery electronic gold that gave“ Ok Computer” its legendary status. Although comparisons to Radiohead get tiresome to say the least, if anyone pulls it off it is The Vita Ruins.

Each member switches between guitar, keyboards, bass and drums. The sounds coming out of the speakers seemed other worldly. It is one thing to perfect your sound in the studio, however it is quite a different thing to perform them flawlessly for your adoring fans live on stage. I had mentioned already how daunting it can be to play with sequenced tracks, but to keep it exciting and engaging can be just as difficult. With songs like “The Purpose of Life” the crowd was singing along with a crazed devotion. Tim and Greg worked the keys and the guitars at the same time while Rob pulled together the rhythm.

After the night wrapped up an enthusiastic crowd poured out onto the streets and I was able to get a few comments from a local fan that made it up from Virginia to support his favorite band.


Lee Waggoner

“A band on the rise that clearly exceeds all expectations. A unique blend of sounds that transcends any particular genre.” Lee Waggoner

And that, my friends, is all you need to know. Now go find them here and go see them. You will not be disappointed but your mind may be left in ruins! (Oblivious pun day!)

The Vita Ruins

Featured, Reviews