Monday, March 30, 2009

Show Review: Ra Ra Riot @ The Blind Pig, 3.26.09

all photos stolen from

It is an extremely rare occurrence that a band will come to Detroit at the same time that I'm falling in love with their music. I first heard of Ra Ra Riot on design blogs because The Silent Giants did their album art. (Those guys screenprint some pretty amazing concert posters, too. It's pretty cool to see them putting Detroit on the map in the design world.) Then I started to see their 2008 record The Rhumb Line mentioned every which way to Sunday within a ton of best of 08 music lists. No doubt, that album was one of the best to come out last year.

The band is a six-piece, consisting of your usual rock staples plus a cello and a violin. The string players were classically trained prior to the band forming during their college years. The result is a band that's technically flawless and non-pretentious in their stage presence, relying entirely on their sound to blow you away. Unlike the overhyped, overgroomed opening act, these guys clearly spent more time making music together than combing thrift stores for their clothes. They happily played us the whole record, and their live set was tighter than the studio recording. Although I'm sure they're used to the crowd reacting to "Ghost Under Rocks" they played it jubilantly, like it was their favorite song too.

The best part of the show was the violin and cello soaring back and forth between each other during the string solo in "Dying Is Fine". The violinist has MAYBE replaced Petra Haden on my list of rock stars I want to be. And the cello should really see her for yourself. She's quite attractive and somehow plays her instrument kind of erotically. I thought I was going to have to turn the hose on my guy friends after this show.

Afterwards, I escaped the "scene" as fast as I could, clutching my orange vinyl and rare debut EP with a big nerdy smile on my face. The EP has older versions of some of the songs on The Rhumb Line, my favorite being "Can You Tell". The lyrics are a little different on this recording, leaving out the "I'm standing by your sister fair" part.

Ra Ra Riot will be also opening for Death Cab + The Gibber at MSU on 4/18.

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