Ra Ra Riot, the excellent indie rock/baroque pop band with Syracuse roots returns to SU on Wednesday, November 14th for just $10. The concert’s being held at Setnor Auditorium on the Syracuse University campus at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are still available at Schine’s box office, but can be purchased at the door for $12. I recommend getting your tickets as soon as possible because they are quite limited and Ra Ra Riot is incredibly popular among current and former SU students. This is one of two excellent concerts on Wednesday, here’s the other option.
I was a few years too late to catch Ra Ra Riot at any SU house parties, but back in 2006 the band was formed. They played house parties on Euclid and many other side streets on campus, eventually hitting small venues around town. In February 2006 Ra Ra Riot recorded a demo and gained attention specifically for their raw, energetic performances on and around campus. A mix of factors led to Ra Ra Riot quickly being featured in various music media such as Spin.com, but it certainly happened very quickly. They toured with Tokyo Police Club that same year, grabbing their first solo US tour in 2007 and second one in 2008. In between they appeared at music, art, and film festival South by Southwest (SXSW), among others. While this all sounds like the perfect journey to fame, tragedy was waiting around the corner. In 2007 the band’s drummer, John Ryan Pike, went missing after a show in Providence, Rhode Island. Sadly, his body was found the next day with drowning as the official cause of death. This was obviously a major blow to Ra Ra Riot, but as it turned out they would continue as a band. A few months later Ra Ra Riot was signed to V2 Records, releasing two tracks on vinyl before finishing their self-titled EP.
Skipping ahead, in 2008 the debut album, The Rhumb Line was dropped. The album was met with positive reviews from small and major media outlets alike. The lead single from The Rhumb Line is called “Dying is Fine” and borrows from poet E. E. Cummings’ dying is fine)but death. It’s an intense, rhythmic example of Ra Ra Riot’s brand of indie rock. Just two years later the second album, The Orchard was released to generally positive reviews. Forget the critics for a minute, The Orchard is an excellent album in my opinion. Fans will recall the song “Boy” for it’s fun, upbeat drum patterns and guitar work and Wesley Miles’ borderline falsetto. You may also recall the song “Too Dramatic” as well. I’ll link you below.
Let’s talk about the music. Ra Ra Riot is essentially indie rock at its core but with a multitude of other influences; 80s new wave, chamber pop, British rock, indie bands like Vampire Weekend, and the general zeitgeist of the 2000s, to name a few. Wesley Miles’ vocals show a huge range of ability, from a lighthearted falsetto to rich lower notes. He generally sings with a higher pitch (think Animal Collective, Passion Pit, Yeasayer) so stereotypical of indie rock, but Miles seems much more versatile. There’s also a classic rock ‘n roll sound almost akin to The Beatles and similar British bands embedded in the Ra Ra Riot sound. Top it off with the beautifully rich violin and cello work of Rebecca Zeller and Alexandra Lawn (formerly) and the magic formula is revealed. Indie rock that drifts from high-paced, danceable hits to the breathtaking melodies of “The Orchard” isn’t easy to find. Don’t miss this extremely affordable show!
Ra Ra Riot’s forthcoming album, Beta Love is slatted for January 22nd, 2013.
Ra Ra Riot at Setnor Auditorium at Syracuse University!
Wednesday, November 14th at 8:00 p.m.
Setnor Auditorium in Crouse College (if unfamiliar ask at box office)
GET TICKETS – Schine box office for $10/$12 on University Ave.
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