Born Ruffians Mitch DeRosier (left), Luke LaLonde and Steve Hamelin are set for a pleasant day in the sun.
Toronto’s quirkiest jangle-pop trio have been roughing it on the road pretty much non-stop since their debut EP got them signed to Warp Records back in 2006. While they’ve been trying to enjoy some R & R this summer, the boys have been tapped to play The Picnic At Fort York Sunday alongside a host of other big-name acts (see sidebar, this page). Singer Luke Lalonde fills us in on what it’s like to play these large open-air gigs.
Sunday (July 20), 2:15 pm. $49.50. 416-870-8000.
How does performing on a massive festival stage compare to the cramped quarters of the indie circuit?
You’re up so high you can see the whole crowd, and sometimes that’s kind of overwhelming. I remember the first few times we played on festival stages, we spread out and used all the space, but it felt weird. Eventually we started playing closer together, but it is cool to be able to walk around and not have to worry about a guitar neck hitting a ride cymbal.
Has Mother Nature ever intervened at a Born Ruffians set?
We actually just played at a festival called SummerStage in Manhattan’s Central Park, and it started to pour about five songs into the set. Then lightning started to hit, and it was really close. We just kept playing, and it was actually chaotic and fun, but the stage director was frantic to get us out of there. Steve [drummer Hamelin] ended up jumping into the crowd and dancing with his shirt off.
There’ll be hundreds of fans at your set this Sunday. What’s the smallest audience you’ve ever played to?
Our first show in Chicago. There was the sound guy, the bar staff and my dad, and the club was even called the Empty Bottle! The next time we came back we packed the place, which was nice, but that first time it felt like we were rehearsing.
Sometimes festival crowds can get rowdy. Have any Born Ruffians shows been interrupted by, well, ruffians?
No, usually the vibe is really good, really mellow when we play. I remember we played this one outdoor show at Vassar College, in New York State, and this girl’s boob fell out of her shirt, right in the front row. That’s about as crazy as our shows get.