Monday, 1 April 2013

Ra Ra Riot at Il Motore

Ra Ra Riot at Il Motore


Back in 2010 Ra Ra Riot released their upbeat and heartfelt album ‘The Orchard”. It’s too long ago for me to remember how I was introduced to the band, but I’m happy I was.  As patiently as possible, I counted down the days to their early 2013 release of  “Beta Love”.  As soon as I listened I noticed a change, everything seemed to be more synthetic. I missed the strings and relaxed feel I had been anticipating. In early 2012, cellist Alexandra Lawn departed from the group, this fashioned the transformation one can easily pick up on while listening to “Beta Love”. 

I wasn’t ready to walk away, I started from the beginning again, and again. With each listen I let go of my ties to their old sound and embraced their change. Each listen I found myself picking out new songs that I enjoyed. I found myself dancing along more and more. 

I was thrilled when I heard Ra Ra Riot would be coming to Montreal on their winter tour. Thursday night at Il Motore was a perfect display of their ability to get a crowd excited and dancing around.  During their dance-inducing tracks like ‘Beta Love’, ‘Binary Mind’ and the perfectly titled ‘Dance With Me’, lead vocalist, Wes Miles, was all over the stage making it almost impossible not to groove along with him. 

I was happy when they pulled several songs from ‘The Orchard’ and their 2008 album ‘Rhumb Line’, getting great returns from the audience.  Wes kept everyone on their toes, leading sing alongs and handing out highfives to the more than willing crowd (me included).  Rebecca Zeller was captivating playing a glittery violin, while bassist Mathieu Santos, guitarist Milo Bonacci and drummer Kenney Bernard all contributed to the group’s energetic strength. 

Although their album has received mixed reviews due to their straying steps from their more orchestral-pop past, the performance was satisfying and fun for a fan of their old and new music.  Even though I felt the evening lacked some emotional depth, they are clearly a band in transition and are pulling off the synthpop sound skillfully.

I’m eager to see what will come from these guys in the future; maybe they’ll take a step back or head in a completely new direction. At the end of the day as long as I’m dancing, I’m happy – fortunately you can count on Ra Ra Riot to get you up on your feet and moving around! 

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