Review: Ra Ra Riot

Syracuse natives, Ra Ra Riot, began the tour for their newest album “Need Your Light” in Albany, NY Wednesday at The Hollow.

The long, narrow space filled with a range of people drinking and dancing to the high energy openers, Sun Club and PWRBTTM. Bumping elbows and beer glasses in the dark, cramped bar space, struggling to hold their ground.

The venue, which is essentially divided into three long thin rooms, has an odd structural arrangement for supporting shows.

The stage, crowd and bar packed into one third of the total space provided a subpar atmosphere for both the crowd

and the sound.  But the focused shifted from the room to the atmosphere once Ra Ra Riot began.

The five of them shared the tiny stage and quickly drew the crowd in with intimacy as their performance progressed. Wes Miles kept everyone upbeat with his falsetto vocals and catchy hooks. The glittering violin and stand-up bass helped to create a unique sound and unexpected feel, as the band pumped out strong, colorful pop rock.

The group

even slowed it down to play some material acoustic, stating they were “trying new things,” and inviting the audience to join them, before jumping back in as a full band, including the audience on an even more intimate level. Their happy and energetic presence filled the space, rippling through the crowd as they played hits like “Dance With Me”, “Bad Times” and “Absolutely”. The audience bounced with movement and cheers, singing along rambunctiously to “Can You Tell”.

The band’s presence commanded the packed room, and their unique mix of indie rock and pop came together in a rewarding way, providing the audience with a bubbly dance track to kick off the weekend too. Thanks to Ra Ra Riot, the cramped, unpleasant bar became a little cozier and more enjoyable.


Allyson Smith