Ra Ra Riot | 03.18.11

Although each band member had a signature style of playing and interacting on stage, cellist Alexandra Lawn and lead singer Wes Miles stole the show.

 
 
Photos: Kelly Glueck
 
The Firebird, St. Louis
 
Known for inspiring active participation at their live shows, Ra Ra Riot was a surge of energy as they bounced around the Firebird’s stage to their chamber-pop hits on March 15. The evening was filled with a radiant chemistry that captured everyone in its path. The New York-based band secured a connection to their instruments, one another, and the sold-out crowd.
Although each band member had a signature style of playing and interacting on stage, cellist Alexandra Lawn and lead singer Wes Miles stole the show. Lawn seemingly made love to her cello, resting her head endearingly upon the staff as she pivoted her hips around its base. Meanwhile, Miles bolted back and forth across the stage, nearly taking out his band mates on three separate occasions.
The potentially disastrous near-collisions were treated lightheartedly, as if the band had choreographed their delicate dodging around one another. Throughout the night, the members of Ra Ra Riot could be caught flashing smiles of approval at one another as the orchestrated noise captivated the audience. It became apparent that everyone in the venue, including the band, was having a great time.
Ra Ra Riot catered to old and new fans by performing an even mix of songs from their sophomore album, The Orchard, and their debut album, The Rhumb Line. Many tracks such as “Shadowcasting” and “Suspended in Graffa” stood out, but the show reached a peak of energy and sound with the cover of a Sparks song, “Saccharin and the War.” The cover consumed the band’s concentration as each member flawlessly raced to see who could shred through the most strings to the climactic ending.
The ladies seem to have won the race; both Lawn and violinist Rebecca Zeller had a copious amount of limp strings dangling from their instruments. While the boys retuned their guitars, Lawn and Zeller picked up their spare instruments and the show went on. Miles flaunted his St. Louis pride by pointing out his worn-out St. Louis cityscape t-shirt. He made jokes about wearing it in different cities and being asked if he was from St. Louis. His reply was, “I wish I was.”
Whether Miles was buttering up the crowd or not, Ra Ra Riot demonstrated their best and delivered a good show. Miles ended the night by taking time to high-five everyone within arms’ reach. The band made an appreciative exit and promised to return soon. | Kelly Glueck
 
 
 
 
 
 

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