Ra Ra Riot @ SOhO ~ Jan. 19, 2011

Have you ever tried something new - and were forever changed because you did? I had that experience tonight.

Walking into an all ages show is never fun after you are of a certain age, but tonight's show proved otherwise. The crowd was there for the music, regardless of age. The Givers opened the night with a genuine intensity that sparked a light in the people lucky enough to have arrived early to experience them. 

The band was lead by a hot vivacious young woman, aptly named Tif, playing a huge percussion drum and a squirrelly looking blond dude (didn't figure out his name) doing most of the lead vocals. The music was funky, full of rhythm, chantey without being preachy, and made you move. I was not at all familiar with them when I arrived, but I definitely left a huge fan, if not slightly infatuated with Tif.

But of course I was there for the headliners, Ra Ra Riot, and man was I completely blown away. Now, I am not familiar with their second album, The Orchard, and only slightly familiar with their first, The Rhumb Line, but this was definitely one of the best shows I have seen at SOhO. The band is made up of vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, a cello, and a violin. The music is very full and robust, and sounds like something I like to call "chamber indie rock" (I told that to a 60-something year old man tonight when asked - so it is now in circulation and you can use it). The guys in the band all oddly looked like each other tonight - all wearing glasses and looking a lot like Harry Potter. This was a bit off putting. But I got over it half way through the first song.

When they quickly played my song, "Can You Tell," I thought the rest of the show would be the frosting on the cake (or some other type of delicious filler). But when cellist Alexandra started singing "You and I Know" off Orchard, I had an actual musical awakening. I felt something was different, so I closed my eyes and let her voice and the deep intense chamber music fill me. With my eyes closed, I experienced the song and the band live for the first time - it was something. 

And, for toppers, I have never heard the sound sound so good at SOhO. The venue has a tendency to sound hollow and a bit echo-y. Tonight it was thick and warm and embracing. (I warned that I had had an experience). I danced the entire set to the lively jams and experienced it all with the enthusiastic crowd. We had a moment. The set closed with "Dying Is Fine" and the crowd bubbling with vibrancy, definitely spelt over from both the bands tonight.

Well done.