Born Ruffians


Canadian band Born Ruffians have been releasing music since the early noughties and have toured the world, supporting the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Hot Chip and Caribou along the way. Now, having just released their fifth studio album Uncle, Duke and The Chief, they are nearing the end of their own headline world tour, and tonight sees them venturing to Manchester’s Norther Quarter.

It’s only the second time I’ve headed to Soup Kitchen for a gig, a small room, with an impressively large sound, one that I feel I should come to more often. It’s a strange treat to be at a gig, ready to watch a band that I’ve not listened to much, I have no pre-conceptions or biased subjectivity, I just know I want a good time.

The room is bustling, full of revellers, perhaps just starting a weekend of partying, the beauty of a gig on a Friday night, the buzz tells of the eagerness that only a weekend can bring.

Opening with ‘Tricky’ from the latest record, a stomping, punch of pop right in the belly, this moment sets the scene for the night, and the up-beat lively vibe continues, with songs like ‘Oceans Deep’ and ‘Skins’ and the classic ‘Hummingbird’. It feels more party than gig, there’s no standard moshing, no usual gentle head nodding and no normal clapping along. Instead it’s rhythmic cheers, twisting and dancing, the crowd full of a vibrating fun that’s been injected within these four walls.

The slightly more downbeat songs provide a welcome emotion, ‘Kurt Vonnegut’ (2008’s Red, Yellow, Blue), ‘Don’t Live Up’ (2015’s Ruff) and from the current album ‘Love Too Soon’, they offer a sensitivity that allows the lyrics to truly be heard, whilst accentuating Luke Lalonde’s distinct vocal, which really wows on ‘Forget Me’.

Despite a few of the songs sounding so alike that it becomes kind of difficult to differentiate between them, it’s an uninvited surprise as they approach the end of the set, like a party being cut short. The encore sees their support band join them on stage for a sing-a-long on ‘Miss You’, a warmth to the end of the gig. As drummer Steve Hamelin leaps into the crowd, he flows around the arms of the adoring fans at the front of the stage, it’s a real feelgood, honest enjoyment that is being shared between band, musicians and audience.

Their jerky indie funk is really like the love child of Vampire Weekend and Weezer with a sprinkling of the Zutons, and it’s made for the ideal start to the weekend.

I came for a good time, and I had one.

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Sarah Starkey

I am a Freelance Writer who is a bit music obsessive. Previously written for the likes of Music Vita and Planet Ivy. Life highlights include winning £2.50 on the Euro-millions.