Feb 6, 2009

Born Ruffians @ Oxford Art Factory

It started pretty slowly, but ended quite strongly. It didn't change my life (see last post), but it was fun. Not every show can be mind altering, but this was still pretty good fun. I can think of ways it could have been better though. I think I will share these thoughts with you.

I like that Born Ruffians opened with "Red, Yellow & Blue". Its gentle loping melody was a good introduction to the band. But, I think from here they probably could have thrown in an upbeat number. One to fire up the crowd. But the next two songs, although quite good songs, were low key and not memorable. I don't know if it was the band feeding off the crowd or the other way around, but there was a palpable lack of buzz in the room. I have seen this band before and they were full of energy. Early on at the Oxford Art Factory though, they seemed to lack oomph. But it could have been the very passive crowd. For a band that can write such great melodies there was a distinct lack of movement. Plus, from where I was standing there was an awful lot of chatter. People, I say it yet again. I listen to bands to hear the bands, not the inane conversations of punters. Anyway, "Barnacle Goose" seemed to fire up every one a bit, then "Foxes Mate For Life" was a truly beautiful moment. This plaintive, melancholy song was extended and stretched with great results. Soon we had a disappointment turn into joy. Lead singer Luke Lalonde said that because their EP was not released here, playing one of the songs off it had bombed the night before. I so wanted to hear "This Sentence Will Ruin/Save Your Life" and was disappointed not to receive it. But we instead were given a Grizzly Bear cover in "Knife". It was a great rendition that I loved. Before "Little Garcon" Lalonde also queried the lack of movement in the crowd again, then stated ironically that they had a slow one to play anyway. Well, never mind, this gorgeous song was just great. The harmonies were just beautiful and it signalled a strong end to the night. "Kurt Vonnegut" followed and it just slayed me. If you doubt that this band can write a good lyric, then please check out a lyric sheet to this song soon. "Hummingbird" was then a perfect closer and any apathy in the audience had evaporated by now.

It was a quick hour, that eventually gathered some momentum as the clock ticked over. The short and sweet encore of "I Need A Life" was pitch perfect. This song is a real crowd pleaser, its metronomical rhythm perfectly suited to the live arena. It also illustrated the capabilities of this band. They write exquisite pop songs, full of verve and melody and a touch of melancholy. Given the right atmosphere, I am sure a special show exists somewhere.

Set List
Red, Yellow & Blue
Badonkadonkey
Hedonistic Me
Barnacle Goose
Plinky Plonky (new song)
Foxes Mate For Life
In A Mirror
Knife (Grizzly Bear cover)
Sole Brother (new song)
Little Garcon
Kurt Vonnegut
Hummingbird

I Need A Life

4 Comments:

  • At February 06, 2009 , Anonymous Tim said...

    completely agree that there was a lack of buzz in the room and that the crowd was pretty damn rude. they didn't stop talking through most songs and i could tell that the band was getting kind of disheartened by the seeming lack of interest in the crowd after starting with such optimism and being stoked at what they described a 'big crowd'. i too don't know why people go to shows if all they are going to do is talk through every song.

    i also noticed the lack of movement in the crowd, probably further highlighted by everyone moving around in the hold steady the night before! i tried to get into it but no one around me seemed to want to that much.

    i think the lack of interest from the crowd then made the band lose some interest, it's hard to blame them really, but that was a bit sad to see. i felt really sorry for them all.

     
  • At February 06, 2009 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Agree with all of your points Tim, I think the band could have started 'bigger', but it was definitely a very passive and dull crowd. Although Hold Steady shows do set a high standard.

     
  • At February 08, 2009 , Anonymous Cate said...

    I think Born Ruffians were a bit dull to be honest. I was probably one of those passive viewers in the crowd simply because I found them boring and not up to standard.

    Having said that there were a number of people around me who talked throughout the entire show, and I can understand how irritating that would have been for the band.

     
  • At February 09, 2009 , Anonymous Tim said...

    played a much better set at laneway today. they were a heap of fun and the crowd really got into them.

     

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