Born Ruffians, Gallops!

Simon Jay Catling 15/09/2008

It can be a tough old place sometimes, the Night & Day, to get any of the crowd even remotely interested. It can take an unquantifiable amount of effort and tonight
Born Ruffians seem to have admitted defeat before they've even begun, as frontman Luke Lalonde is quiet and withdrawn from the start and all night. To be fair it's understandable - the levels of audience chatter tonight are ridiculously audible, with far too many people facing the stage with their backs. Which begs the question 'why are there so many here tonight, why come at all, if you're not interested in seeing the band?'

Credit where credit's due, though, as the Warp-signed three-piece possess a knack for a handy pop tune and tonight's set is sprinkled generously with them, not least the early appearance of the infectious Barnacle Goose that fizzes and crackles with bright energy. What certainly rings true for Born Ruffians is that their live performance reinforces the nagging feeling you get from their album, that despite possessing a handful of real standout tracks, too much of the album is bogged down in a forgettable pastiche of their finest efforts. Latest single Little Garcon hops and skips delightfully into the set as the band's vocal harmonies combine fantastically to see the song to its end. On the other hand, Hedonistic Me is a stop-start lo-fi effort that never really gets going and leaves a distinctly flat atmosphere in its wake.

Finally, after a slow burning hour or so, the Ruffians hit their mark as they throw themselves full throttle into the finest two tracks from their 'Red, Yellow and Blue' LP. Humming Bird is a sharp, frenetic assault on the senses and feet alike; as toe-tapping a pop song as you're likely to hear all year, with Mitch Derosier's bass cutting through the staccato guitars and call and response vocal yodelling.

With barely time to catch breath they're off again, finishing their set with the delightfully melancholy-tinged stomp of I Need A Life, whose clarion call of 'the sun is out but we stay inside, oh but we go out at night!' is a call and response deserving of a much grander stage. It's a closing finale that hints at what they could be, but ultimately fails to completely eradicate the uneasy feeling of there being something missing tonight.