Born Ruffians at Gullivers in Manchester review

Ben Smith headed to Gullivers in Manchester to see Born Ruffians string a frantic live set in the city for the first time in five years.

Ben Smith

Date published: 7th Oct 2015

Image: Born Ruffians

A mere four days after releasing their frenetic fifth album RUFF, Born Ruffians bundled their instruments straight onto a plane out of Toronto and over the not so small pond to the UK. 

Now that's what you call a sense of urgency; it was an urgency that stuck with the livened four-piece throughout, even if they tweeted about sacking sleep off on their seven hour flight across to play Mario Kart instead. 

So what's music without independent venues? Without Born Ruffians decking out your Tuesday night in an intimate upstairs space while gripping a pint of Manchester Pale Ale? Assuredly, nothing. 

Due to a broken down vehicle, support act Fossa couldn't make the slot, so a slightly outlandish Irma Vep fulfilled the slot. His off-kilter wailing over a bed of abstract-folk didn't suggest he was the type of man to even own a car, but maybe a gun and a coyote.

Even so, his compelling assemblage brought a warmth to the room and a keen sense of intrigue as to where you might find him performing in the future. 

Such a polarisation of music was never going to appeal to the entirety of the revellers hooked in by the prospect of Born Ruffians, but the beauty in Gullivers lies in the fact that you can head downstairs for a drink in the traditional communal bar. 

Those heads soon enough arrived from downstairs, prompted by the salty wave of 'Hummingbird' that spilled over to 'Oceans Deep' jigging away at the crowd set virtually on the band's toes.

As expected the four-piece crammed their set with the buoyant melodies that float each album and the care-free appeal we've come to expect. LaLonde clad in a red baseball jersey kept the audience piqued throughout with his exuberant presence while shifting between electric and acoustic guitars.

At one point he throws his plek and asks "what are you guys doing now today, today now.. now today?" His mind clearly swivelling between the mind leaching choruses that frequent their songbook, "Eat Shit, We Did It" being extremely compatible to say the least with anyone unfamiliar to the new material. To similar effect, old favourite 'Retard Canard' insistence on wanting to set the world on fire resonates as a real crowd pleaser amongst the new stuff. 

Sometimes music doesn't need to ground down by abstract interpretation, sometimes singing about having something stuck between your ears, belting the kick drum to build a song up and stringing chiming and jittery guitar chords is all an audience needs to thrive off the instrument wielding force that is set in front of them. 

Ending the set with 'We Made It', in good timing before bassist Mitch combusts, the band meander through the songs tame moments that swiftly splurge out into nautical rhythms of unwavered joy as Lalonde croons his signature howl. 

Ruff is well inclined to impish moments like these and when translated it highlights that they are a band fabricated for the live stage.

Like this? Read our album review of Wavves 'V'