I’ve already had the pleasure of seeing Born Ruffians play live twice, but when I heard they were hitting our shores once more this year I couldn’t resist the temptation. A Born Ruffians show simply never gets boring. This is partially thanks to vocalist Luke LaLonde’s trademark high-pitched voice, which is a hard act to follow, and the bands’ amiable stage presence. Not only that, but they’ve truly carved themselves out a little niche of individuality in the competitive music scene. Whilst there are obvious influences in the music, the Born Ruffians sound is a distinct and immediately palpable one. And they just keep churning out a cavalcade of highly addictive, hyperactive tunes that keep me coming back for more.
Drops of enthusiastic sweat were flying from bassist Mitch Derosier’s torso after he peeled off his shirt within the first half of the set and began romping around the stage. The other members playfully taunted their side-splitting bassist for his semi-nude display but he simply replied “Hey! Would you rather that I take my shirt off or play a boring song?” Needless to say no one complained about the shirtless act again and instead opted for a never-ending chain of exciting, pop-rocking songs.
And that’s precisely what they got!
Showcasing material from their self-titled E.P through to their latest album Say It, the Canadian quartet delivered a solid performance of hooting, howling and hollering tunes. Whilst the jubilant likes of “Hummingbird” and “I Need A Life” were indisputable front-runners, new releases ‘Retard Canard’ and ‘The Ballad of Moose Bruce’ were also welcomed by the crowd.
Born Ruffians were paying extra attention to their audience, acknowledging some die-hard fans who’d been following them on tour around the country and even recognising one supporter they’d accidentally fallen on top of during their set at the Peats Ridge Festival.
The feelings of worship and exhilaration were mutual throughout this gig. The adoring crowd recited every lyric and whipped up a frenzy on the dance floor, and in return drummer Steven Hamelin crowned the OxfordArt Factory show his favourite gig to date.
Born Ruffians have been on the live circuit for a few years now, mostly playing in small intimate pub-like venues where they’re within arms reach of their audience and their buoyant sound bounces off the limiting walls. But I believe these talented boys are ready to take on large-scale stages and hope to see them filling arenas in the years to come.