all photos: from previous times
The local opener at the Rock n’ Roll Hotel was a veritable indie orchestra all crammed up on stage. Twins of a Gazelle consisted of a total nine members, playing nearly every instrument you could think of while also including both a female and a male singer. I liked them but honestly did not need that many people to get the idea. They had drums, two guitars, bass, accordion, two violins, cello, and trumpet. I am sort of overwhelmed just listing all of those. But their sound definitely showcased all their members, who we were introduced to partway through the set. Even if it was a little overcrowded this is definitely a group of talented people who played some good songs.
Winter Gloves was a four man pop machine, full of surprises. Their set-up was a row of synthesizers and one lonely little stool that lead singer, Charles F only used to sit on for about 30 seconds. He instead bounced around and balanced on it with one foot while completely rocking a combination of synth and guitar. Winter Gloves had far more instruments than people and they were not afraid to use them. These guys have a great clean, poppy electronic feel and came exciting close to sounding like 80’s synth pop during a couple of songs such as “Trap The Mouse” and “The Way To Celebrate”. This is not something that you would often think would come out of Montreal, especially when their Canadian-ness is hard to forget with a name that brings to mind snow and common temperatures below freezing.
Winter Gloves showered us with catchy lyrics and I am sure the whole crowd would have been fans even if they hadn’t won us over by throwing FREE CDs to the masses. There are few things that drive us as much as the prospect of getting something for free. The reason for this was their drummer’s birthday so obviously we all needed presents in our hot little hands. The birthday boy rocked out all night and even worked the merch table later, all while sporting a very elegant mustache. Congrats on being very cool Winter Gloves… I was blown away!
Born Ruffians kicked off their set with the fan favorites “Foxes Mate For Life” and “Barnacle Goose” that brought the audience from zero to jubilant in no time flat. These guys came to the stage even looking Canadian (that is possible) and got right to work. They took very little time between songs and played for over an hour. We got tastes of old songs and new songs, all with a sound much bigger than expected.
The percussion was so heavy I could feel it as all eyes were trained towards singer Luke LaLonde as he belted out each song with the voice that makes Born Ruffians something special. The band got us all to clap along to a couple of songs but mostly it just seemed like people were interested in singing along. Their newer stuff reminds me of indie pop successes Vampire Weekend, but Born Ruffians have a leg up on them in my opinion with easy lyrics and a jazz inspiration. This band is just the right amount of rowdy mixed with indie cutsey-ness all to a strong steady beat that is reminiscent of Talking Heads.
They played all the tried and true songs I hoped for and have learned to love through my best friend who is a big fan (Hi Leigh). I was surprised that they didn’t get a larger crowd but DC had a lot of good music going on Tuesday night. Even with a smaller than normal showing the cheers were big and Born Ruffians were well worth the trip. I honestly wish I could see that show every night this week! Now, go listen to “I Need A Life” and wish you were there.