Thursday, Jan. 27
Ra Ra Riot brought a Louisiana treat with them to a sold-out Neumos last night in the>"/>
Ra Ra Riot brought a Louisiana treat with them to a sold-out Neumos last night in the form of Lafayette quintet Givers, a band we'll go ahead and call "Cajun Afropop." True, it makes zero sense geographically, but perfect sense sonically, with the band taking cues from Vampire Weekend while adding their own down-home, Southern twist.
Check out this slideshow of photos from the show!
The youthful band's energetic and thrilled-to-be-in-Seattle spirit was expected. What wasn't was their ability to win over the crowd just seconds into their first song, the boppy "Up Up Up," after some technical difficulties forced a restart. With their only well-known song out of the way early, there was a feeling things might settle down. But that feeling almost immediately proved shortsighted, as Givers' dance party was maintained with the likes of "Meantime" and "Saw You First" from their debut EP.
The dueling vocals of Tiffany "Teddy" Lamson and Taylor Guarisco are infectious, and the band's sound has drawn quick comparisons to Vampire Weekend, but Givers comes across as more authentic. Between Lamson's ukulele solo, Guarisco's playful audience interaction, Kirby Campbell's thunderous drumming, and a flute solo that easily measures up to Ron Burgundy's, Givers turned out to be a perfect touring companion to Ra Ra Riot. Just a few years ago, this was Ra Ra Riot--a young, energetic band learning the ropes and succeeding wildly thanks to a handful of songs that demand listeners.
Had Ra Ra Riot not brought their best, the night would easily have belonged to the up-and-comers. But they didn't disappoint the packed Neumos crowd. The Syracuse rockers' set was professional, tight, and dance-worthy. New drummer Kenny Bernard fit in so well he could have been mistaken as an original member.
Ra Ra Riot has nearly perfected their set, with band members moving seamlessly among violin, cello, and the mike, particularly cellist Alexandra Lawn, whose smoky vocals on "You and I Know" was a highlight of the evening. And while songs from last year's The Orchard have been criticized for their methodical, mid-tempo sensibilities, they were the perfect complement to the band's fast-paced favorites when sprinkled alongside the likes of synth-heavy "Too Too Fast" and the strings-driven ballad "Can You Tell" from the band's Barsuk debut, 2008's The Rhumb Line.
In "Oh, La," Miles sings "We've got a lot to learn from each other, we have got to stick together." Last night it was impossible not to be excited about the foundations both bands have built, and to consider the future of both acts if they take those words to heart.
Overheard in the crowd: "Givers is going to make Ra Ra Riot sound tame!"
Random Notebook Dump: The other opener, Pepper Rabbit, announced they had completed their second LP at Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville.
Ra Ra Riot Set List
Run My Mouth
Too Too Too Fast
Can You Tell
Do You Remember
You and I Know
St. Peter's Day Festival
Ghost Under Rocks
Dying Is Fine