I am surprisingly not overly tired or sore and less enraged than I was a few hours ago. I can thank the awesome Born Ruffians and food at Sneaky Dee's with friends for the latter.
The last day of the festival didn't have too much on offer, but with Born Ruffians playing the Phoenix, there was no question that's where I'd be. I arrived early, happy to get to see the first opener Parlovr, and knew there'd be lots of friends in the crowd. So, good mood. But then "mandatory coat check" signs everywhere. I tried (twice) to ignore them, but the guys at the club weren't having any of it. What the fuck, Phoenix? You want to make more money on a show, you charge more to rent out your space, and I pay more for my ticket. You don't REQUIRE me to give you $2.50 once I show up with NO advance warning. Seriously, fuck you. (Sorry, kids. I'm mad.)
Parlovr looked great and sounded pretty good up there, with appropriate banter and tons of energy. I wish I'd seen them perform in a much smaller venue this weekend, but I've seen them do that a couple times already. Next up, Young Rival, whose Beatles'-inspired rock just didn't do it for me. No hate, but no real love from me, either. But it could very well just be my foul mood.
And then Born Ruffians. Once they started---actually, before they started and once the screams from the all-ages audience began---my spirits were instantly lifted. Performing as a four-piece with the addition of Andy Lloyd on keys, tambourine, and guitar, the guys sounded great. I was so bummed about the stupid venue that I was starting to regret coming at all, but for an hour or so, all was forgotten. Luke Lalonde, Mitch DeRosier, Steve Hamelin, and Andy performed a few new songs, plus some old favourites off their 2008 album and 2006 EP. I was reminded again how good lead singer Luke is, and how important bassist Mitch is to the band, both as a musician and an on-stage presence. The girls may scream for Luke, but Mitch knows how to get the crowd revved up. The additional instrumentation blended in well with what we're used to hearing (on the recordings), and I loved-loved the 4-part vocal harmonies the band pulled out a few times. Very impressive.
I'll have a fuller review up on Sticky Magazine (with photos! Of Luke [probably]!) at some point next week. And I'll let you know some of my thoughts on this year's Canadian Music Fest in another future post, too.