Ra Ra Riot play like a hurricane. Strings and guitars and limbs and voices got all caught up in one another last night at Union Hall to beautiful effect. I’ve seen Ra Ra Riot a couple times before, but it’s been awhile. Their stage presence has grown even more and the new songs sound just as good as the old ones, with more energy but perhaps not entirely as much forward direction as you’d like. The supposedly “secret” show was packed, and the group seemed like they were well-rested and ready for Coachella. They’re definitely one of those bands that operate largely on alchemy. Something about the way the violinist and guitar player exchange smiles during the songs, looking so happy to play live music, draws the audience right in. In fact, that’s probably the greatest strength Ra Ra Riot possesses. They play together, constantly watching each other and communicating, trading places and cues. If the songs get a little repetitive by the end, their earnestness and clear love of music overcome that fault. Something about the juxtaposition of personalities in this band is very special.
Plants & Animals were fine. They skillfully crank out vaguely prog-ish sonic guitar jams. It all seems like an exercise, though. None of the songs grabbed me, and the music isn’t original enough to simply stand on its own. Photos below.
Plants & Animals:
Ra Ra Riot: