Indie band Ra Ra Riot took the stage Jan. 24 at Union Transfer as part of a promotional tour for their latest album, “Beta Love,” which was released Jan. 22.
The opening band was Guards, a band that I, and seemingly most of the audience, had never heard of before the show. They were very jammy, and most of their songs featured long riffs and solos that were cool for a feature act but fairly drawn out for an opener. They also brought a smoke machine, which was strategically placed to blow copious amounts of smoke straight into the audience’s eyes every five minutes and make seeing the stage completely impossible. They played for nearly an hour, during which the venue filled up with stragglers and bar patrons vying to get a better view of the stage.
Ra Ra Riot didn’t keep us waiting long, and the crowd’s enthusiasm when they arrived was no less by the end of their set. They put on what I can only describe as a damn good show.
A light show, courtesy of Union Transfer, flashed behind them, and thankfully they did not opt for the smoke machine effect. They began with some old songs to get the crowd warmed up, which were received with much enthusiasm. Lead singer Wes Miles was very engaged with the audience, crouching down to high-five and shake hands with a lucky few (myself included. Note to self: Never wash that hand).
They mixed in songs from their new album (the words to which a surprisingly large number of people knew by heart just two days after its release) and their older ones. This was a good way of keeping the audience engrossed and excited.
Ra Ra Riot’s music gives them a distinct advantage: it’s music you can dance to. Even if they had stood up on stage and simply done their thing and left, the audience would’ve had a great time. But as a bonus, they act like their music sounds. They bounce around stage, jump off amps and dance with each other. From all appearances, they were having as much fun as we were. This really got the audience excited; the energy in the crowd was incredible.
It was an overall wonderful show. The band was very energetic and luckily is just as good live as in the recording studio. The crowd got very into the music and the performance, and it was clear that everyone had a good time.