It was way back in May of 2013 when I first had the pleasure of listening to Ra Ra Riot. They were the opening band for The Shins at Rebel – formerly known as Sound Academy. Before the show, I didn’t even know who the openers were going to be. To say the least, I was blown away with Ra Ra Riot’s performance.
I saw them walk out on stage and I was a little shocked. I’ve always loved bands that bring something new to the table and Ra Ra Riot certainly did. Consisting of lead singer Wes Miles, guitarist Milo Bonacci, bassist Mathieu Santos, drummer Kenny Bernard, violinist Rebecca Zeller and a guest musician on the cello, Ra Ra Riot separates themselves from other indie rockers by the addition of this string section in their music.
At that point, back in 2013, Ra Ra Riot had released three albums, the most recent of which was Beta Love. I remember, to this day, that the title track to that album was the song that truly got my attention. A sort of synth-pop sound that just makes you want to dance, not to mention the incredible vocal range of Wes Miles, this song is truly something special.
In September of 2016, I had the opportunity to see Ra Ra Riot once again live at Rebel. This time they were opening for Young The Giant. Ra Ra Riot put on an outstanding opening performance and, though I’d like to say they stole the show, Young The Giant really brought things to another level altogether. Nonetheless, I’m sure that there were more than a few who went home and checked out Ra Ra Riot the next day.
- The Rhumb Line (2008)
- The Orchard (2010)
- Beta Love (2013)
- Need Your Light (2016)
Personally, my favorite of their four albums is Need Your Light. I think the first two albums were rocking indie records, although they were nothing that brought anything new to the table. It wasn’t until the third album that I realized they weren’t afraid to mix things up. Beta Love introduces a strong dose of the synth and more upbeat pop tracks.
As of now, Ra Ra Riot has only one show in March taking place in Mexico and two shows scheduled in April, both in New York. It doesn’t look like they have much planned for the summer of 2017 in terms of live shows, but this could change and I certainly hope that it does. Hopefully, this means they are busy in the studio working on a new album.