Back in the early 2010s, RIBS were positioned as one of Boston’s finest rock bands. With two EPs that still sound like they’re from the future — 2010’s British Brains and 2012’s Russian Blood — the band was on every list as the next big breakout act out of Boston. Then, after a late-2013 show with Queens of the Stone Age in Virginia, RIBS went suddenly quiet.
Nearly two years later — after a few lineup changes, personal residency updates, and a renewed focus — RIBS are back this weekend with a surprise opening set for shoegaze legends Svervedriver at the Sinclair in Cambridge. The show was announced months ago, but RIBS’ addition was a recent one. They are now a duo, consisting of guitarist/vocalist Keith Freund and drummer Chris Oquist, but will play live with a full band. Currently in the studio splitting time between Boston and Brooklyn, it all builds towards what they call “a major new release for 2016.”
With Sunday’s show fast approaching, we asked them where the hell they’ve been for the past two years. Turns out, that Queens show was a turning point.
“When I joined RIBS, Keith told me his dream was to open for Queens of the Stone Age,” says Oquist. “When that finally happened, and I told that story to the security guard outside the venue, he said ‘sounds like it’s time for a new dream.’ Driving back, that sunk in a bit. It was time for a new dream. The next thing we release is going to set us on a course. We needed focus. We decided to spend all our time writing. Blake [Fusilier, bassist] set off to pursue a solo career; we decided not to resurface until we’d made some real progress. So this isn’t a reunion. We never left. This has been a period of redefinition and rediscovery. We’ve been grinding.”
Adds Freund: “Momentum can be a beautiful thing but it can also be dangerous. Sometimes your momentum can swallow you up. We made a conscious decision to let that go in order to take some time to reflect on what the future could sound like.”