When I saw the Born Ruffians play at Laneway two years ago, it sounded like they were playing from inside the gut of Mr. Stay Puff. The sound was so muffled it was almost impossible to make out the songs, despite having listen to the album “Red, Yellow & Blue” with somewhat overzealous vigor that summer.
Unfortunately the whole festival was marred by horrendous acoustics, with the sound engineers having to shepherd sound waves through the narrow laneways of glass and steel.*
Needless to say I was peachy keen to see the Born Ruffians in the intimate surrounds of OAF.
Up first were Sydney based band Jinja Safari, who did exactly what any warm up band is paid to do – get the crowd in the mood. The room was pulsating with their playful concoction of rhythmic jungle beats, island guitar, calypso keys, and layered vocals. The crowd returned the favor by with vigorous dancing and a chorus of animal sounds.
While their musical influences are so numerous and eclectic, each song was a tightly crafted pop gem. It’s hard to believe that they only played their first live show in May 2010 – they are definitely a band to watch out for in 2011.
The crowd stepped their energy levels up a notch when the Born Ruffians took to the stage. The dancing was so vigorous during the opening number “Foxes Mate for Life” - Mitch Derosier (bass) queried whether the crowd would be able to maintain their enthusiasm by the time song ten rolled around.
The band were left in no doubt of the stamina of Sydneysiders, as they danced manically throughout the 90minute set, which covered a tasty blend of older songs such as “Little Garcon”, “Hummingbird” and “Hedonistic Me” to newer songs “What to Say” and “Sole Brother”.
[photo via: Charlotte Zoller]