Ra Ra Riot @ Granada
Today’s post is brought to you by footnotes – they will reveal more than you ever wanted to know.
Ra Ra Riot is a band from Syracuse, New York1 made up of 6 members – Wes Miles (vocals)2, Mathieu Santos (bass), Milo Bonacci (guitar), Alexandra Lawn (cello)3, Rebecca Zeller (violin), and Gabriel Duquette (drums). Their first full-length album, The Rhumb Line, was released in 2008 shortly after Vampire Weekend’s debut album, which initially led to a lot of comparisons between the two bands. Both are indie bands from New York, and feature strings and poppy melodies, but Ra Ra Riot has since evolved beyond that connection and been able to carve out a name for themselves and gain quite a following. They performed this evening to a packed audience – filled with people of varying ages and hipster/yuppy allegiances.
Words by Melissa “Sausage” Cox. Photos by Anna “HashBrowns” Vernon.
Whenever I hear people talk about Ra Ra Riot, I usually hear one of two things – one is of their tragic past4, and the other is how hot their cellist is5. I had only seen them from a distance on a hill at a festival, so I was excited to see them in the more intimate setting of the Granada. They began their set with an upbeat song from their new album, The Orchard, and the crowd danced along in response. They followed it with a few songs off The Rhumb Line. The excitement level was so intense I had to put my sunglasses on6.
They played fast and furious, without much crowd interaction in between. No one seemed to care, especially when Alexandra took the mic to sing the song “You And I Know.” I have never seen so many people record a song on their cameras or phones – there were at least 8 in my general vicinity. When it was done, multiple people screamed, “I LOVE YOU7.” Personally, I was really excited when they played my favorite song “Too Too Too Fast”8
They ended their normal set with “Ghost Under Rocks.” It was absolutely fantastic live, and really took it to a new level that you can’t get from their album. Ra Ra Riot then played three songs for their encore, and ended the show with the song “Dying Is Fine.”9To bid adeau to his audience, Miles gave his front row fans high fives as he exited the stage.10
1: Also home to Jon Fishman of Phish, David Foster Wallace, and everyone’s favorite Scientologist, Tom Cruise.
2: He is also in a side project called Discovery with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij.
3: She had a particularly awesome electric cello. HashBrowns, my partner in crime, is in love with it.
4: Before they released any albums, their original drummer, John Ryan Pike, went missing, and they found his body washed ashore the following day. He was believed to have drowned.
5: Confirmed from a poll done at the show – girls, boys, and puppies agree that she is hotter than hot.
6: Ok, the truth is they kept shining a ridiculous light in the crowd, and I was seriously seeing spots. Sunglasses seemed like an obvious solution.
7: Although I am usually guilty of yelling things during quiet moments at shows, I was not one of these people. I did, however, yell my last name to the bartender to let her know to put my next beer on my tab right at an unexpected quiet moment. This usually wouldn’t be a big deal except, well, my last name is Cox…
8: I have nothing more to say here because I was busy dancing!
9: This song is rumored to be inspired by an E.E. Cummings poem.
10: Too bad he doesn’t know that low fives are totally the new high fives.