Ra Ra Riot
November 12, 2019 at The Sinclair
Ra Ra Riot has been a consistently strong voice in the world of indie-rock, part of the reason being a case of “right place, right time.” The group has continued to release uplifting and vibrant albums without ever hitting a slump, all in the Golden Age of radio-friendly indie. The New York-based band got their start playing house shows at Syracuse University in 2006, refining their stage presence well before releasing The Rhumb Line in 2008. Over the years, Ra Ra Riot repeatedly collaborated with Rostam Batmanglij, previously of Vampire Weekend, and their signature sound and high energy shows began to garner media attention, eventually catapulting the group into the mainstream following their debut.
The band proved their mastery of live performances throughout the night at The Sinclair in Cambridge. Vocalist Wes Miles — crucial to constructing Ra Ra Riot’s unique style — was just as potent live his live tone and range sounds almost identical to their recordings. His control over his vocals were evident in the effortless belting over running synths and sharp percussion.
Many of the songs the group played were filled with even more spirit and life than their studio recordings. Rebecca Zeller played a violin adorned in multicolor gemstones that complimented the rich colors of the performance. Zeller’s lush and bright tone completed their signature sound. The live strings added to the nostalgic tones that many of their songs have come to possess.
In honor of the 10 year anniversary of their debut, Wes performed a few songs from the album using only his voice and a ukulele. Songs like “Can You Tell” and “Winter 05’” were stripped down, highlighting Wes’s beaming voice and poetic lyrical content. It seemed as though these songs had the greatest impact on the audience, consisting of slightly older, dedicated fans. The timeless songs from The Rhumb Linestill had the same emotional impact on concert goers more than 10 years later.
Even as the night came to a close, Ra Ra Riot maintained the undivided attention of the audience. Performing a set of songs carefully picked from their extensive repertoire led to a concert that had something for everyone. After 10 years of playing together, the band has developed a cohesiveness that many bands spend their entire career trying to perfect, which makes the group must-see entertainment whenever they come to town.