Music Park: Young Rival @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 11/3/15


Young Rival could have stepped straight out of a time machine on to the stage of the Rock and Roll Hotel last Tuesday, November 3rd.

They identify as an indie-rock band from Ontario, Canada and opened for the Born Ruffians, who are also Canadian. (See our review.)

Young Rival gave the full DC crowd a distinct vibe from the 1960’s. There were times when I was looking at those around me, wondering if they were playing a Beatles’ cover. Turns out, it was their own songs, like “Two Reasons” from their second album, Stay Young.


A ‘glitter blanket’ thing greeted us, mysteriously (ominously?) occupying the stage. The shimmering costume sparkled and rippled before ‘it’ exited stage left as the band burst on the scene. Each band member paraded around with a similar glittery jacket. White flowers adorned and complemented the instruments.

Somehow Glitter Blanket failed to make a return, but for those that stayed, Aron D’Alesio (lead vocals, guitar), John Smith (bass) and Noah Fralick (drums), there was a hint of the psychedelic in their performance.

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Don’t Miss: Born Ruffians @ Rock and Roll Hotel, 11/3/15

Born Ruffians (Photo by Maya Fuhr)

Canadian post-punk quartet Born Ruffians released a new album, simply titled RUFF, on Oct. 2 via Yep Roc. The band just wrapped up a tour of Europe, and they are set to start a US tour in support of the new record next week, visiting DC to perform at the Rock and Roll Hotel soon after on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Born Ruffians’ new single, “Don’t Live Up,” has drawn praise from reviewers for its nervous energy and cautionary message. The clever video for the song depicts the band caught in a whirlwind of daily activities as the play gigs/grab drinks/go to bed/eat food/do it again. But is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Watch the official video for “Don’t Live Up” by Born Ruffians on YouTube:


Lead singer and guitarist Luke Lalonde explained the video’s concept, saying, “The video was meant to represent one version of something that isn’t quite what you might expect. The difference in perception versus reality.”

Although the video is fun, the song comes with a warning, Luke adds, cautioning that sometimes it’s good to take it slow: “The song is about the idea that one’s ideas of what they need to achieve in order to be fulfilled/happy doesn’t always meet the expectations once you get there.”

Indeed, the entire RUFF album has a sense of knowing when to say enough is enough and when to take stock of things, particularly with songs like “Don’t Worry Now,” “When Things Get Pointless I Roll Away,” and “Fuck Feelings.”

Some of the songs have the sense of malaise belied by inquisitiveness found as a theme in the music of the Talking Heads, but Luke and company maintain an immaturity that dodges some of the deeper intellectual assessments of life that underpin the songs of David Byrne and company. That’s okay – maybe sometimes you just want to say “fuck feelings!”

Still, Born Ruffians demonstrate some quality musical chops on their fourth album, and they promise to entertain on the accompanying tour!

Tickets are available online.

Born Ruffians
w/ Young Rival and Boon
Rock and Roll Hotel
Tuesday, Nov. 3
Doors @7pm
All ages