Dinner and a Show 2: Born Ruffians, Meligrove Band and Forest City Lovers

It was a devilishly nostalgic night for N2D on Oct. 30 at Detroit's Majestic Cafe as we looked back on a beginning and learned about an ending.

The cafe is where we first met last year (for Elliott BROOD), and so we celebrated by having dinner before the show. While enjoying the cafe's pulled pork sandwich, yam fries (both highly recommended) and a very artfully presented scallop special, we ended up chatting with the Majestic's general manager, Dave Zainea, and discovered we would be seeing the last live show at the cafe that night. "It's too hard trying to run a restaurant and a nightclub in the same room," he explained. He also shared some plans that we'll detail in an upcoming spotlight of the Majestic theater complex.

Forest City Lovers were a late addition to the evening's schedule, making an already sweet all-Toronto lineup as anticipated as a pillowcase full of Halloween candy. Touring in support of their third full-length album, Carriage (we think it's worth adding to your collection), FCL could be just another alt-folk/pop band. The strength of lead singer Kat Burns' creative songwriting and soaring vocals and her solid supporting cast (Kyle Donnelly on bass, Christian Ingelevics at the drum kit and Timothy Bruton on keyboards and guitar) elevate them well beyond the average.

The Meligrove Band arrived in Detroit riding on the high of a number one song on the CBC Radio 3 R3-30: "Bones Attack!!!" from their fourth album, Shimmering Lights. Core trio Jason Nunes (guitar, piano, vocals), Darcy Rego (drums and vocals) and Michael Small (bass) have been together as a band since 1997; their familiarity with each other and basic alt-rock/pop shows. Our highly-coveted Radio 3 scarves were a ticket to a great conversation with guitarist and keyboardist Brian O'Reilly after the show.

Born Ruffians' lead singer Luke Lalonde has one of those love-it-or-hate-it voices. Clearly there's some love for it over at Radio 3, as Born Ruffians are up for a Best Vocals Bucky Award. Already fans, we agreed Lalonde sounds even better live. Bassist Mitch DeRosier is the definition of tour-de-force and kept the already pumped-up and enthusiastic crowd shouting out requests and clapping along with drummer Steve Hamelin. Radio 3 is already three singles in to the Ruffians' latest, Say It, with more of their spare, catchy and angular brand of alt-rock/pop sure to come into rotation.

Photos: Russ Gordon