Ra Ra Riot to prove its all about the strings

By Tappan Parker

Courtesy of Myspace

If you ever find yourself thinking that there should be more string instruments in rock bands, then you should look no further than Ra Ra Riot, an indie band known for their use of violin and cello. The string-driven group is currently touring in support of their latest album, The Orchard.

Ra Ra Riot will bring their rock quartet to the Pearl Street Ballroom in Northampton on Monday, September 27 at 8:30 p.m. Supporting them are the indie bands Chikita Violenta and We Barbarians.

Ra Ra Riot is best known for their largely string-driven, orchestral pop sound  which they produce thanks to cellist Alexandra Lawn and violinist Rebecca Zeller. This instrumentation gives every song an urgent melancholy that is rare in music today, deceptively simple in sound, but intriguing enough to keep you coming back for more.

Lawn and Zeller play alongside vocalist Wes Miles, bassist Mathieu Santos, guitarist Milo Bonacci, and drummer Gabriel Duquette. Each member brings a distinct flavor to the band, yet they support one another like an orchestra. However, their small size allows each member’s part to stand out, creating a rich atmosphere that each song draws heavily from.

The story of Ra Ra Riot is that of the little band that could. Ra Ra Riot began at Syracuse University in January 2006. There, the band became well known for their energetic live shows.

 Within six months of their formation, they were invited to perform at the CMJ Music Marathon, an annual music festival in New York City. Soon, they received a favorable review from Spin.com, which commented that Ra Ra Riot was, “One of the best young bands we’ve heard in a really long time.”

After the CMJ Music Marathon, the band went on to open for a number of bands in New York City, toured in the UK twice on their own, and toured North America with Tokyo Police Club. Ra Ra Riot began touring the U.S. on their own after supporting Tokyo Police Club, and completed a full circuit in 2007 and another in 2008.

Ra Ra Riot has released two full albums, 2008’s The Rhumb Line and The Orchard, which was released in August. In addition, they have released three EPs and a number of singles.

If you have yet to hear Ra Ra Riot, check them out. Their high energy is bound to make for an incredibly exciting and fun show in Northampton this Monday, and it’s something you won’t want to miss.

Ra Ra Riot will be performing at the Pearl Street Ballroom in Northampton with Chikita Violenta and We Barbarians on Monday September 27 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available online for $15 and at the door for $18.Tappan Parker can be reached at [email protected]