As a five foot two concert frequenter, this show was my dream come true. Last night, Club Dada was packed full of short girls in cute dresses and their equally short boyfriends. Flower prints and large glasses and black X’s on the back of hands abounded, matching the aesthetic of the vacant stage before show time that held three mic stands adorned with fake flowers and two giant light boxes announcing the opening band, Young Rival, in groovy letters and colors.
A few minutes after nine, a figure draped in a sequin sheet brushed past me to process on stage where he stood between the mic stands and raised his arms in an eerie yet beautiful shower of green and gold sparkles. Young Rivals took the stage at this time, calmly picking up their instruments and launching into their set as the cloaked figure left the stage. They didn’t waste much time talking or pausing between songs. The singer, clad in black except for his gold glitter blazer, alternated between normal and voice-distorting mics while rocking on his heels and strumming an electric guitar. The bassist, meanwhile, wearing a flowing sequin poncho down to his feet, swayed with his hair in his eyes as he picked out a heavy bassline. The drummer kept up the beat in back in his black glitter cardigan, giving the crowd a rhythm to which they nodded their heads and rocked side to side. Their forty-five minute set went by in a flash of high-energy songs calling to mind both pop-rock music of the fifties and psychedelic sounds of the seventies. For their first show in Dallas, Young Rival put on a good, understated show, letting the music entertain the crowd more than their actions.
After a thirty minute break, it became very clear why the crowd of girls was gathered together on a Monday night: Born Ruffians came on stage dressed in black and navy blue, fronted by a skinny, cute twenty-something boy. He lead the band with restrained energy, rarely moving from his position by the mic as he visibly resisted the temptation to swing his guitar around, expressing his emotion through his voice instead. What the front man bottled up, the bassist let fly, though. He didn’t stop moving through the entire set, bouncing around the stage with a wide stance and crazy hair. Within two minutes of the start, he had jumped on top of the monitors at the front edge of the stage and almost decapitated the tallest audience member by swinging his bass around. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He brought a lopsided energy to the performance, carrying my attention through a series of anthem-like songs and fast-paced lyrics for which the audience cheered with unending enthusiasm.
The band played to the audience, never slowing down save for the intro to one sweet song which picked up the pace in due time. Born Ruffians spent the evening reminding the crowd of the life and energy of love. In the last three songs, especially, I was overcome with the urge to run through the woods in a pastel dress, clinging on to my boyfriend’s hand as a videographer captures the moment in a lens-flare, Instagram-filtered series of clips. Because I was not as familiar with their musical repertoire as the rest of the crowd, but with that being said, I had almost as much fun watching the audience singing along, totally captivated, as I had watching the bassist hop around and head bang.