Shelby Lum / Lantern photographer
A lot of hype surrounds Ra Ra Riot’s live performances. The name alone screams energy, and I feel like I am chanting every time I utter the name.
Especially after talking with lead singer, Wes Miles, before the performance at A&R Music Bar, energy seemed to be the only thing anyone could mention of the indie rockers. Even opening band Pacific Air mentioned Ra Ra Riot’s energy. So I was expecting energy, and a lot of it.
The show, thankfully, lived up to the hype.
Ra Ra Riot’s performance opened with some eerie orange lights that I wasn’t a fan of. The band was saturated in varying colors throughout the night, that gave an odd feel to the stage.
The music itself was what made the performance though, not the lights or any special effects. The first song the crowd began to sing along to was “Too Dramatic.” Violet lights glowed behind the band, and it ended with a well-done vocals only section, that seemed longer than in the studio version of the song.
Miles was not one for a lot of unnecessary stage talk, and thanked the crowd profusely, but had little stage banter to go with the show. For Ra Ra Riot, it was keeping it to the music only.
For one part of the show, Miles did call for participation, and asked the crowd to snap along with “When I Dream.” The filled room happily obliged, and the heavy kick drum sounded great with the snapping. The lights went out suddenly, the music was silent until the light panels began flashing turquoise and the music blared again to a cheering crowd.
“So we are heading into the home stretch here, and I just wanted to say you guys are awesome,” Miles said with two songs left in the set.
Ra Ra Riot ended with flashing red lights, and violinist Rebecca Zeller banging her head to the beat as she played her gold, glittery violin.
Moments after the band left the stage, the crowd didn’t really seem to move. Everyone was expecting an encore, and once the clapping began, Ra Ra Riot took the stage once more.
They played two more songs. During the first, Miles began high-fiving the front row, and then jumped down and into the crowd to continue giving high-fives to the lucky ones close enough to the small stage.
The final song was “I Shut Off,” and with a final thank you, Ra Ra Riot left the stage.
Overall, the performance did merit the high energy praise everyone had been giving it, but I had a hard time clearly hearing Miles’ vocals throughout the night.
My one complaint: it was packed. Not just the normal, we did well at ticket sales kind of packed, either. The kind of crowded where people start to get angry if you move more than an inch, because they’ve been holding that spot for an hour.
I can’t fault Ra Ra Riot for selling tons of tickets though, and the energy was worth the sardine-like experience.