Born Ruffians at Concrete
Venture beneath Pizza East in Shoreditch and you’ll find Concrete, the venue for last night’s gig. Born Ruffians are in London as part of a huge autumn/winter tour, and the venue is full of fans who have travelled from around the country to see the band. The latest in a line of many Canadian musical exports, Born Ruffians formed in 2004 and have gained attention through supporting slots on tours with bands including Hot Chip, Caribou and Franz Ferdinand. They have also appeared on angsty Channel 4 cult favourite Skins to perform single Hummingbird, which also appeared in a UK commercial for mobile phone provider Orange. They released their third album Birthmarks earlier this year.
The band jump between scuzzy grungy indie and spiky indie-pop with haste. The tempo onstage matches the dancing of the audience, many of whom are young attractive Shoreditch types with big eyes for lead singer and guitarist Luke Lalond. The set is rough, and at times the band lose time with one another, throwing already offbeat songs into disarray.
The punchy bombastic vocal on Hummingbird is reminiscent of early Razorlight, while the style of delivery could be mistaken for Wolf Parade. The similarities between some of the hooks and bass lines in the set and those of indie-popsters Vampire Weekend are hard to ignore. The band drew criticism for this very reason after the release of Birthmarks, and the live version of these songs tends to lean more heavily towards borrowing than influencing.
Set highlights include Kurt Vonnegut, which has the crowd clapping along, and Ocean’s Deep where the fast-paced, hypnotic bass line leads from the outset, with shimmering guitars and a less staccato vocal complementing. The band are at their best when they lose some of the rigid, stylised delivery and settle into songs where they can show off their impressive musicianship.
Photo: Neutron Girl
For further information about Born Ruffians and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Needle here: