Saturday, February 28, 2009

Noise Pop 2009: Ra Ra Riot Played Diesel And The Independent - Pictures, Review, Setlist

Let us start by saying this. We have heard many, many, extremely positive things about Ra Ra Riot's live set, and expectations can be a dangerous thing. Last night the band played two sets: one acoustic at Diesel, and one at The Independent to finish off the night. From what we had been told, we were expecting a set on the order of an artistic revelation, with a level of energy that would defy expectations. In reality, what we got was a band that has an extremely decent record, delivering an extremely decent performance of that record. There was little to criticize, but there was also very little that left us reeling.

The band's acoustic set started up the night, and it felt more than a little contrived. We might go so far as to say that any time we see a fretted acoustic bass, things start to feel a little contrived. The set was completely solid instrumentally, but just lacked the power and enthusiasm that had been delivered minutes before by Loch Lomond. That being said, we were more than willing to write this off - a band that's not used to playing acoustic can easily go bland under those circumstances, and Loch Lomond's set was also a lot to measure up to.

Unfortunately, when we got to the set at The Independent, it seemed to be more of the same. For a band that already has it's creative paintbrush firmly in the well of the Arcade Fire, it's a dangerous thing indeed to flirt with a mellow live show. However, Ra Ra Riot did exactly that - they delivered a show that existed precisely on the cusp of busting out and delivering a truly rocking show. Rather, they seemed far more concerned with delivering a stable, intricate set that held a firm grip on the arrangements of their record without adventure or pushing any boundries.

At the end of the day, we try to shy away from unnecessarily harsh criticism here at HAD - slinging mud's never any good for anyone. What's more, we're guessing there are more than a few people that will disagree with this review: the show was one of the first to sell out, and the crowd was going nuts all night long. That being said, we'll stand by our lament. We do actually like Ra Ra Riot's record, and we were hoping that the live environment would be a venue for them to push the record over the edge and really wear its bloody heart on its sleeve. Instead, it seemed to be a complacent delivery that had less to do with soul, and more to do with preaching to the choir.

Pita-Setlist here

Many more pictures at the
HAD Archive


Hanan said...

that is sad to hear. maybe they were having an off night? I sure hope so, I've heard great things about their live shows too.

this is pretty rad:

Anonymous said...

I've seen them before, and will be seeing them again tonight, when i saw them before, it was nothing shy of amazing, but then again that was before their full length came out.