Review by Jackie Green. Follow her at @thefinestgreen.
RG is the icing on the rock n’ roll cake. He’s a talented musician, much like countless others before him and his fellow contemporaries. However, Ron’s different than the others taking the stage. Actually he usually makes his way off the stage, into the crowd of at least once during his set. The fluidity between performer and audience usually results in a mind-melting of sorts where the audience’s energy ends up on stage and Ron leaves a bit of himself down on the floor. With songs titled, “Why Do You Have Kids?” and “ALL THE PUNKS ARE DOMESTICATED” Ron’s audience can’t help but agree with what he’s saying. Ron’s seeing into himself, seeing into you, and most importantly seeing into this mad world – and he’s singing about it. Of course, I have my thoughts on Ron’s music – but I wanted to fact check. So I gave Ron a call to ask just what exactly his lyrics are about. “True life stories,” he told me – things that piss him off and he wants to confront. He’d prefer, he says, to stay away from the “fictional, untrue stories” he gets bored with (we can leave that to someone else). What Ron Gallo’s music is concerned with, is stuff that comes from a real place. He inserts himself into songs – parts of himself that have been scribbled on scrap papers, typed into (what I’m sure is a very long list of) iPhone note entries or dictated into (what I’m sure is also a very long list of) iPhone voice memos.
Ron’s uniqueness comes from his trajectory as a human being and as a musician. Ron Gallo, as you hear him now, came from playing in shitty bands in high school to the inspired adult writing “Why do You Have Kids?” For any person consciously experiencing the same reality as Ron, it seems there are many possible explanations for this tune. Whether it’s the mom ignoring her kids for her iPhone or the dad answering e-mails walking his kid across the street. Why do you have kids?!?!?!
According to Ron, there is a specific intersection in Philly by a train stop, where there’s a shady hangout underneath. Always chain smoking with innocent children on their laps, the song “Why Do you Have Kids?” confronts the people directly. It’s Ron (the human and musician) ’s way of asking them to look inward. Last year, after 10 years in Philly and a breakup – Ron followed his growing feeling of ‘now or never’ and moved to Nashville. Perhaps this was a foreshadowing of his recent Bonnaroo play (see below for gnarly photos). It seems that Nashville has made Ron even more well-rounded than before. He’s able to thrive in a like-minded music scene, play in someone else’s project in addition to his own and avoid becoming stuck and stagnant. Ron admitted to me that he hasn’t always loved playing in New York. Between driving to the city and finding parking just to arrive in a place where everyone is too cool for you – it can be a lot for someone who isn’t a native. However, his attitude has changed over the years. New York now means a chance to play with other bands he likes and a feeling of accomplishment just having played a show there. Plus, you never know who you’ll meet. So, come hang out on July 5th @ Alphaville – Ron Gallo / Inhaler / The Off White.
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Ron Gallo at Bonnaroo, photos via Paste Mag