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Ruler at The Cannery

Ruler at The Cannery (Photo by Christine Mitchell)

Ruler at The Cannery (Photo by Christine Mitchell)

Ruler is on the rise, and mastermind Matt Batey has devised a pop equation that has an alluring potential. If you make the easy investment of checking out the two Ruler tracks currently available on Bandcamp, you’ll understand immediately: Ruler is polished and poised for bigger things. Batey has been known to moon over Taylor Swift; and while Ruler’s music isn’t the same, it’s still shimmering pop.

Their show at The Cannery exemplified this. The live band includes Batey’s buddy and harmonizing twin Eric Anderson (they’re also both in Cataldo) on keys and Thunderpussy’s own Leah Julius on bass. The set started off with just Batey and his guitar, a little quiet (but not too quiet), but after the opening song the band joined in for an uptempo bunch of songs that kept heads bobbing. “Unhindered Pace” has a touch of vintage Gin Blossoms, but it’s a faster song with more swagger and none of the maudlin feel associated with that ’90s act. “Keep Movin’,” with its driving drum beat, inspired the audience to do just that. Also included was a beautifully harmonized cover of Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes,” which Batey confessed to springing on his bandmates that very day, but still sounded great. Honestly, Batey and co. are seasoned musicians and it shows.

Opener Jess Lambert showcased the quieter side of folk, which was pleasant and sometimes goosebump-inducing. She played acoustic guitar and was accompanied by her husband Chad Lambert on electric guitar. Second act Bryan John Appleby played a set that was equally quiet and gripping, interspersed with humorous banter.

Ruler is set to play The Crocodile on Wednesday, December 10. It’s advisable to get this on your calendar, stat.

Christine Mitchell has been poring over album liner notes pretty much since she acquired the skill of reading, and figured out the basic structure of rock songs at an early age. Whether it’s the needle popping into the first groove of the record, the beeps that signal the beginning (or end) of a cassette tape, or digital numbers ticking off the seconds from zero, music brings Christine happiness, ponderous thought, opportunities for almost scientific study, and sometimes a few tears. When she started attending live shows two decades ago, a whole new piece of the puzzle clicked in and she has been hooked ever since.