Date of show: April 16, 2011
Born Ruffians packed The Opera House nicely to close out their yearlong Say It tour. Luke Lalonde fronts the band with his signature acrobatic vocals, full of unique ups and downs, but this is not to say that Lalonde doesn’t provide skilful guitar work to match his vocal talent. Mitch DeRosier is quite energetic on bass, rocking out with his hair swinging around the entire time. Drummer Steve Hamelin was placed at the left of the stage and it was a treat to witness his skills right up front rather than be in background. Andy Lloyd rounds out the 4-piece on keys and guitar. Together, they put together a show full of energy and absolute fun.
The crowd, a mostly underage crowd, was entirely into it, as the crowd clapped and sang along for most of the set. Songs like “The Ballad of Moose Bruce” brought some crowd surfing and for “Little Garçon,” lighters were in the air. A hilarious moment was when Hamelin requested gum, as he normally plays with gum in his mouth, and someone in the crowd immediately threw a pack of gum at the drummer. Hamelin tossed the pack back, but this likely resulted in the person not getting the rest of the pack back, as he acknowledged his poor aim.
Midway through the set, DeRosier gave a shoutout to opener Rich Aucoin, saying, “I thought I knew what a show was until I saw him,” followed by, “I just want to be him.” But aside from this and Hamelin’s early jest at Raekwon playing the venue the night before (“I think we wrote our setlist on his champagne box”), the band had little stage banter, much more focused on putting on a solid show of new and old favourites. The band started off the night with “Foxes Mate For Life” from Red, Yellow & Blue and “Kurt Vonnegut,” from the same album, was their big encore closer, ending the night and the tour.
Post-tour, the band is looking to record again and, based on the crowd, I can safely say that everyone at the packed Opera House is looking forward to more from Born Ruffians.
Foxes Mate For Life
In A Mirror
Higher & Higher
The Ballad of Moose Bruce
What To Say
I Need A Life
Seeing Rich Aucoin is always an experience. Perhaps as Aucoin started off his set with a bit of confetti, the crowd didn’t quite get it. However, once Aucoin jumped into the crowd and had everyone put their hands on the shoulder in front of them and then jump simultaneously, the crowd’s reaction instantly changed and seemed to understand Aucoin’s interactive style. He had the crowd screaming when requested, belting out lyrics when appropriate, and jumping up and down when called for. On top of that, Aucoin is never still, making regular trips into the crowd, including jumping up onto the balcony level.
And then there’s the parachute. This part of Aucoin’s set is always the crowd favourite, as he gets under the parachute and has the crowd shaking the parachute above him. It seemed like everyone was fighting for a spot to either hold the chute or get under it with him. At the end of the set, after a big huddle with the crowd, Aucoin was giving/receiving high fives to members of the audience. Clearly, Aucoin gained new fans that night.
What was most impressive was the fact that Aucoin was going to go back at it again that very night, with another show at the Kapisanan Cultural Centre. Aucoin’s seemingly endless bounds of energy continue to impress me. Keep track of this fella, as his extremely fun set continues to garner rave reviews across the country and beyond.