Minneapolis band Bella Ruse to play Cabin this weekend

Minneapolis band Bella Ruse to play Cabin this weekend

Story by Chris Reinoos

Bella Ruse

A van powered by vegetable oil will bring Minneapolis band Bella Ruse to campus on Friday for a concert at The Cabin.

The band, featuring singer Kay Gillette and songwriter Joseph Barker, has used the van for two years since buying it in Georgia. They get their vegetable oil primarily from locally-owned restaurants, and experience has taught them which kind of oil works best.

“Chinese restaurants have the best oil and are most likely to give it to us,” Gillette said. “We kind of have it down to a science.”

Their environmentally-friendly van is not the only thing that stands out about the band. Their blend of indie pop and folk gives them a unique sound the duo has dubbed “cute rock.” Gillette says the name was brought to them at one of their shows.

“Someone came up to us and said, ‘Hey, you should call yourselves cute rock,’” Gillette said. “And we were like, ‘Yeah, yeah we should.’”

Gillette names Feist among her primary influences but said she is also inspired by French singers. Barker said he tries to keep his mind open to all types of music, as it helps him with his songwriting.

Jenny Johns, co-chair of the University Activities Commission Cabin Committee, said Bella Ruse was booked in part because the committee wanted a female-fronted band to perform this semester. She said based on the band’s following on social media sites such as Facebook, there could be a good-sized crowd.

“I’m expecting upwards of maybe 50 people,” Johns said. “That would be one of our little bit bigger shows.”

Gillette said the band has been recording some new material, including two French songs, as well as planning an album of covers. Gillette said she expects to play the new French songs during the band’s set Friday.

Barker said playing new songs live is an important part of the creative process.

“It’s hard to really know if a song is gonna work unless you’ve performed it live for a while,” Barker said. “If it comes across and people are liking it, then we take it to the studio and try to capture what we’re doing live.”

Friday night will be the band’s first concert performance in Wisconsin, for which Gillette said she is very excited. So if you notice the smell of french fries on lower campus on Friday, it could just be the group’s van burning the vegetable oil.

The show is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Friday in The Cabin.