In an attempt to salvage my Canadian Music Week experience, I decided to venture out on a Sunday night to see the Born Ruffians play at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. I crossed my fingers that this time the rain would hold off and there wouldn’t be a line. Eager to end the five-day festival off in a good mood, I was off.
Luckily, the Phoenix is a cavernous space, able to hold a much larger crowd then the previous venues I’d been to. The front half was crammed with the all-ages kids who were evidently much more familiar with the Born Ruffians than I. As soon as the second opening band, the Young Rival, had finished their set, they started chanting, “Ruffians, Ruffians, Ruffians!”
What’s so great about these guys, anyway? I’d only just tuned into their MySpace page earlier that day and they seemed like your typical indie band. Then the lead singer stepped out into the spotlight. Oh, okay, I get it. So Luke LaLonde is good looking (and one of the first clean-shaven musicians I’d seen all festival). He can make his voice do a lot of fun, tricky little things reminding me of a mix between Vampire Weekend and Bedouin Soundclash. A good thing, in my books, but as a friend pointed out, it’s not new.
Sure, the Born Ruffians might not be breaking new sound, but they definitely got the Sunday night crowd rocking; the kids at the front jumping and clapping in unison, the older folk in the back nodding appreciatively while sipping beer.
Their music does start to get repetitive, however. After awhile it all seemed to blend into one long continuous song rather than many separate ones. But once I closed my eyes, all I could think was, the Born Ruffians are made to be on a summer playlist.
I look forward to meeting them again somewhere, hopefully next time, it’ll be near the ocean.