Bumbershoot Music Lounge: Ra Ra Riot

photos by James Bailey

Syracuse, New York’s Ra Ra Riot are a musical force to be reckoned with. While still relatively young, the band has been together since 2006 and share similar story to a lot of younger bands who’ve met and formed in college. Fortunately for us, the band has kept it together. For a large band with a violin and a cello, they have amazing chemistry and energy on stage.

Fairly fresh off the heels of their amazing 2008 album The Rhumb Line, Ra Ra Riot have gotten polished and proper for their latest release The Orchard. Clearly, local label Barsuk and the cast of characters surrounding the band have been a positive influence as their music continues to progress. When you let Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie) and Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend) put their hand in the mix, good things are bound to happen. The Orchard puts Ra Ra Riot into a whole new category of indie rock.

The 12:00 shows from the Music Lounge on Saturday and Sunday have been amazing, but unfortunately have not been as well attended as the shows later in the day. Despite the caliber of the artists performing, 12:00 is simply earlier than most people plan on getting out to the festival, especially if they’re recovering from a long night out. Ra Ra Riot’s 12:00 show on Monday, however, was nearly as packed the Lounge has been all weekend, regardless of the time. It just goes to show how much Seattlites and KEXP listeners love the New York’s groups upbeat power pop and bubbly, youthful stage presence (they also played to a large crowd at the Broad Street Stage Sunday evening). They started off the more intimate set at the Lounge with “Shadowcasting” off of The Orchard, and continued with the album’s first single “Boy” and “Oh La.” It’s hard not to get caught up in the Ra Ra Riot’s active and high-spirited vibe on stage; the entire audience was practically bouncing along in their seats. They closed out the set with “Foolish” and “Too Dramatic”, and thanked KEXP and the audience before receiving a boisterous round of applause. After the type of set that Ra Ra Riot just played, anyone in attendance couldn’t have cared less if it had been 6:00 in the morning.

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