Born Ruffians & Plants and Animals @ The Bell House
This is how I would describe the sound of Toronto-based Born Ruffians: Oh-oh-eh-eh-eh-ay-ay-ay-la-la-la-la-eh-ay-ay-hey. If you just listen to the beginning of their song, ‘Hummingbird’ you’ll get the gist. The voice of lead singer Luke LaLonde at times reminded me of the lead singer of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and at other times it was quite similar to Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig. While I like both Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Vampire Weekend, I can’t really say the same for Born Ruffians. There was just too much yelling, loud drumming/banging, and incomprehensible lyrics. Actually, when they slowed down to play ‘Little Garçon’ I found myself liking them more. I realized that when I don’t know the songs or the lyrics, and all the sounds and words are coming at me so fast, I can’t make sense of it or feel any connection to it. So I was left wishing I was watching Vampire Weekend instead.
There were two things that were noticeable about opening band Plants and Animals. First, they had no bassist, just two guitars and a drummer. And, second, the drummer, Matthew Woodley, was featured prominently in the middle of the stage, which meant he could actually be seen instead of hidden in the back. There even seemed to be more light on him than on the lead singer. Good thing, because this guy had some upper body moves—his head, shoulders, arms, everything was moving to his own beat. His movement was outdone only by the energetic guy in the crowd who seemed to be suffering from wedding season withdrawal. His frenetic dancing pretty much cleared a 3-ft radius of space around him, right in front of the stage. No one wanted to get hurt, I presume. I didn’t know any of the band’s music, but I liked it and I’ll start listening to it more. They’ve opened for The National, Gnarls Barkley, and Wolf Parade, so I’m sure I’ll be hearing their name in the future.
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Tags: born ruffians, plants and animals, the bell house