Born Ruffians w/ Luna Li & POESY
@ The Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
December 20, 2018
It was Thursday Night Fever at the Danforth Music Hall tonight as the artists of the Shondi Festoon (a night best celebrated with hot beer, dressing as your best friend, and placing cans around a festoon lamp) were dressed to impress in front of a sold-out show-full of generous, adoring fans. Arriving as the doors opened, the preshow was funky, just me and 30 diehards grooving to Vulfpeck and open space, as the music hall quickly turned from an airy ballroom to [insert any holiday function from now until New Year’s Eve].
The festivities began as the poppy, Kate-Bush-and-Florence-Welch-lovechild POESY graced the stage, and the lead singer dazzled our senses, both audibly and visually. Performing their hit single “Soldier of Love”, from CTV’s The Launch, POESY was an electric opener for the gathering masses.
As the venue started to fill, Luna Li entered the scene. The mostly female, completely mesmerizing, magically harmonizing foursome totally exceeded my expectations. I was listening to the seven or so songs on Spotify recently, and knowing that this band would absolutely kill the live circuit. I was not wrong. Luna, Char, Hallie — Let me be the first New-Jersian-turned-Torontonian to say, “You were fucking amazing”. The set was dreamy, it was deep, it was beautifully seldom and surprisingly explosive. It was familiar. I felt like I was outside, it’s summer, it’s sunlight. A looping violin was a steady reminder that this artist is classically trained and extremely talented, as their hit song “Opal Angel” became the climax to an already impressive set. Following closely behind, “Need A Lil Love” snatched me from my psychedelic haze and threw me into mental disarray (in a good way). “Star Stuff” made the hair on the back of my neck dance. The strongest of endings, scrambled from start to finish, forgive me for mouth breathing, my jaw is completely off. This set was everything I wanted, totally exceeded my expectations. I want that energy all the time. Take note future bands, this is the baseline.
Finally, in front of a packed house, the curators of the Shondi Festoon, the Born Ruffians started the last set of the night with the popular song, “Miss You” from their newest studio album. The crowd erupted with excitement. The setlist was varied, different from years past. Maybe it’s just me seeing this band from the outside in, but seeing the crowd, feeling the crowd, everyone is united, crashing, familiar. Not familiar, just family. And tonight, it was all together. Platform shoes, satin shirts and shiny fucking lights.
(Photography by Nicholas Musilli)