The following was originally published on Exclaim.ca.
Ra Ra Riot
Mod Club, Toronto ON August 30
By Jessica Lewis
Ra Ra Riot fans were in for a treat on Monday night, courtesy of a free show from the Syracuse, NY-based indie rock outfit. The concert came two days after the band opened for City and Colour, Tegan and Sara, and Wintersleep at Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre, and was filled with concertgoers eager to get a taste of Ra Ra Riot’s new LP, The Orchard.
Taking the stage to a near-capacity venue, the six-piece were subtle and straight to the point. That theme stayed for most of the night, minus a few outbursts. It would have been great to see them let go a little, especially since the vocals were buried in the mix and each member stayed routed to their posts and live quirks (example: cellist Alexandra Lawn practically making out with her instrument).
When frontman Wes Miles’s vocals did break through, it was easy to notice how spot-on he is to how he sounds on record. But that also meant he didn’t really go too crazy during the set as Ra Ra Riot focused on their new material. They felt toned and practised, showing off Orchard highlights “Boy” and “Too Dramatic.” But it was songs off their debut album, The Rhumb Line, that got the best crowd reaction. “Each Year” came early in the set, while they ended (pre-encore) with “Dying Is Fine,” when Miles finally interacted a bit with the front row, high-fiving everyone and putting a little more bounce in his step.
The new material is still pretty fresh on people’s ears. Considering that, it’s all right that both the band and the audience seemed to still be in the getting-comfortable zone during this show. And while The Orchard‘s songs sounded a bit too similar at times, with more time they will hopefully add some live oomph.