I’ve been known to follow bands a little backwards – most people get into a band and then any side projects that get launched. I find myself doing the opposite sometimes. I found Ra Ra Riot when I got into their side project Discovery (comprised of Ra Ra’s lead singer Wes Miles and Vampire Weekend keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij). “So Insane” was on repeat all summer long, and if you haven’t heard it yet, download it. (You’re welcome.)
So naturally when I heard “the guy from Discovery” was in a band called Ra Ra Riot, I dove right in to their music. All I had to hear was Wes’ familiar voice and a string section seamlessly mixed in with this brilliant “new wave pop vibe” on The Rhumb Line…I officially had a new favorite band. And while their latest album The Orchard hasn’t gotten as much acclaim as the one just released by their preppy, Horchata swilling friends, I had a feeling that they weren’t going to disappoint live. (Especially playing Granada – their fans couldn’t have asked for a more perfect setting…it happens to be my fave as well.)
And I was right. You get a lot of sound when there are 6 people on stage (lead singer Miles, cellist Alexandra Lawn, violinist Rebecca Zeller, bassist Mathieu Santos, guitarist Milo Bonacci and drummer Gabriel Duquette), so needless to say, Ra Ra Riot did anything but disappoint. Taking the stage in front of 700+ (eclectic) fans at Granada last Thursday, they gave us over an hour of fave songs from “Boy” to “Oh, La”. I think I heard “I love this one!” after every song played by the enthusiastic super fans next to me…and don’t even get me started on how many mouths dropped when Alexandra stepped up to the mic for “You And I Know”.
Despite the fact that their latest album is pretty low key (and considering I cut my teeth on the high energy Discovery album), the show was surprisingly upbeat. Guys, as much as I hate saying your name out loud, you’ve come a long way from playing college house parties in upstate New York and are holding your own in a flurry of Vampire Weekend comparisons. Keep it up.