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Born Ruffians Sweat Out The Horseshoe

June 2nd, 2010

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When the crowd leaves a concert looking like they all just completed a triathlon or went trekking through the Amazon rainforest it is generally a good sign that whatever went down inside the walls of the venue was, at the least, monumental. Evidence: Born Ruffians, 10/05/28, Horseshoe Tavern. Born Ruffians launched their newest album, Say It, at a party turned sauna where clothing and modesty were shoved into shoulder bags. Your move, summer concerts.

The sold out show celebrated the release of their third album which officially came out on Tuesday. The guys had plans to throw a big album release party free of charge but instead the generous boys of BR gave away their album for free at the door. The venue was packed to the brim and it was clear that being anywhere further back than five deep from the stage made it difficult to spot the band.

The first opening act, Allie Hughes, wowed the crowd in a wedding dress in front of a band clad in Halloween costumes. Hughes was also a finalist in the CBC reality show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? to be the lead in Toronto’s staging of The Sound of Music. Her voice was undeniably powerful but her wacky contradictions; retro sugary sweetness with vulgar audience banter, Broadway style vocals with hard rock instrumentals, well… it was a bit much. The second opener The Magic was definitely an audience favourite. They were the kind of opening act you know some of the audience is there just to see and the kind that makes fans out of the unconverted.

When the Born Ruffians took the stage, the audience sung along to song after song making the band more like a group of conductors leading a Horseshoe Tavern sized chorus. The band played a good range of old songs and new tunes off Say It. But, they ignored the dudes at the front of the stage yelling, “I Need A Life,” a Ruffians song and also the most hilarious song to hear someone request. Lead singer Luke Lalonde’s sister Jessica joined the band (now a quartet with the recent addition of Andrew Lloyd) to add a soft and saccharin sound to Luke’s signature fluctuating vocals.

In one of the clear hits from the new album, “Retard Canard,” Lalonde sings, “I don’t want to start a flame in your heart. I just want to set the world on fire.” And, by the looks on the audience’s faces, their hearts were aflame and by the sweat on their brows Born Ruffians at least set the Horseshoe Tavern on fire.

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