So last night I was supposed to go see Ra Ra Riot with Mrs Chops and Cleo. Mrs Chops bailed as she "had already seen them once". And as much as I enjoy Cleos company I did not think a date with her and I would be entirely appropriate. So we brought a mutual friend who I will refer to as "Sam" and off we went to The Warehouse in downtown Houston.
To be perfectly frank I was not as excited about the show as I had hoped I would be. The new Ra Ra Riot album, The Orchard, while quite pleasant, is something of a let down after Rhumb Line. But Cleo and Sam were turning out to be very enjoyable company and I was determined to have a good time.
The opening band took the stage and introduced themselves as The Givers from Lafayette LA and then proceeded to absolutely and throughly kick. @#!*% . I am truly at a loss for words to describe how completely these guys rocked. I did not know their names and I had never heard them before but no more than 45 sec into the first song I was jumping up and down and smiling uncontrollably. The young lady front and center, (whom I would later learn was Tif Lamson) was singing, playing Ukele, drums, tambourine and most dramatically the xylophone. It may have been a glockenspiel. I am not as au courant with the subtleties of percussive instruments as I would like. Either way, Tif walked up to it, berated it and then took it back and gave it the thrashing of its like. She played that thing like her only child's life depended on her maintaining an output of 120 decibels or more. She wailed on it like it had just stabbed her dog. And she did it with a smile.
I cant even accurately recall how many songs they played or how long their set lasted. Their songs blended toghether and had a very cohesive feel. I do know that I loved every minute of it and was sad when they left the stage. They played with such unabashed joy and enthusiasm that it was impossible to not be infected. I have an equally hard time describing their music. At the time it felt very basic, strong drum rhythms being thumped out by no less than three band members. But as they progressed they layered in some electro-funk and then what sounded like jazz. I couldn't even tell where all the sounds were coming from at some points.
Here is their "Studio" version of Up Up Up. Please, PLEASE dont judge them based on this one. It does NOT convey the majesty of their live show..
This is the only video I could find that gives an accurate depiction of what it felt like to be there.
Eventually The Givers had to go and they did. Next up were The Villagers. The seemed very sincere but... meh. I actually felt kind of bad for the lads. Their music was perfectly fine, it just.. I don't know. After The Givers anything would have been a let down I think. This is from his MySpace page.
"Villagers’ began life as a nameless collection of musical poems, all under the pen of one Conor J. O’Brien. “Ultimately, I’ve learned that a song is not an isolated thing. You have to wash the dishes before you write a song. It should never be taken too seriously. It must be treated with joy and humour, regardless of the subject matter,” muses Conor, as he strokes his hairless chin."
Decide for yourself.
Finally Ra Ra Riot took the stage. They were stellar. unfortunately for me, my advanced age had betrayed itself and my eardrums had almost completely failed at this point. I was unable to discern most of the nuances of the songs that Ra Ra Riot played as most sounds had been reduced to a loud buzzing. However, I was a mere 4 feet from the luminous Rebecca Zeller. All was well.
Ra Ra Riot - Boy
RA RA RIOT | Myspace Music Videos
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