The Born Ruffians Return to NYC

Nicole Morales

Born Ruffians during a performance in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photo: Nicole Morales
Born Ruffians during a performance in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Photo: Nicole Morales

Canadian folk-pop group Born Ruffians made their triumphant return to New York on June 16 at Brooklyn Bowl as part of Williamsburg’s Northside Festival.

The group, who has not been to New York since their CMJ 2012 performances, is promoting their third studio album Birthmarks.

Opening with fan favorite “Badonkadonkey” from their first album, lead singer Luke Lalonde excited the audience with his pitch perfect yodel-esque vocalsm, while bassist Mitch Derosier did his best to dance around with a “pulled butt” after a bowling accident at the Brooklyn venue. The crowd that could be described as an enthused dozen or so for opening acts grew tenfold once Born Ruffians got started. By the third song there was barely any standing room left in the venue. Opening bands snapped photos and looked on with awe as the high energy band played songs like “Kurt Vonnegut,” “Foxes Mate for Life” and “What to Say.” Lalonde barely tired throughout the set despite being known for his combination of fast paced and high-pitched vocals. The band closed with “Needles” from their latest album.

Fans were not satisfied with the hour and a half set. A group of front row fans repeatedly chanted “In a Mirror” referring to a deep cut single from their first album. Unfortunately the band didn’t play the requested single, but instead came out to close the show with high energy favorite “I Need a Life.” A few things have changed since the band was here promoting their second album three years ago: Lalonde released his own solo album last year, which largely contrasted Born Ruffians’ folk instrumental roots. In addition, the band has experimented with their live variations of songs, shortening the intro of “Foxes Mate for Life” and extended the guitar work on “Kurt Vonnegut.”

The band’s fanbase seems to only have grown over the years and if this performance was any indicator, it doesn’t seem fans will tire of Born Ruffians anytime soon.