Friday, October 10, 2008

Live Review: Ra Ra Riot at The Loft

As promised, I wanted to post my review of the Ra Ra Riot show featuring opening bands The Morning Benders and Walter Meego last Thursday.

The Loft is a club located upstairs and connected to The Palladium Ballroom. It is semi-large and very clean with a huge patio overlooking downtown Dallas. They don't allow smoking inside and don't have anything on the concert floor to distract from the main stage. A little humor in the night was the sign outside the Loft that read "Ra Ra Riots." I guess one riot was not enough.

I was extremely disappointed by the turn out for The Morning Benders. My conclusion is that Dallas goes to sleep early during the week. The Benders put on a great show for a small audience. They all appear to be extremely young, but dedicated to their music in mature fashion. Chris Chu, lead singer and guitarist, had an excellent voice. The feedback and poor sound quality made the guitar parts hard to distinguish and painfully treble at times. But these lads from Berkley, California worked through it and gained at least one fan (probably many more), The Captain.

Walter Meego was next. The audience was still small but people were beginning to trickle in. They were a fresh and pleasant surprise. The band consisted of Colin Yarck (playing so many different beat machines, keyboards and synths I couldn't begin to name them), Justin Sconza (vocals, guitar and keyboard) and Andrew Bernhardt (listed as live performer on guitar and keyboard). I am at a loss for words in describing the band. At times I felt like I was at a rave and at other times I felt like I was watching a 70's rock group.

Their myspace page has some music so you can listen for yourself, but honestly none of these songs do the band justice. I would not be exaggerating in saying that the band performed 10 times better than they sound on their recorded music. It was fun to watch Yarck get into the music and groove around as he worked on the different beat machines and keyboards. Just when you thought the band was centered around the beats of Yarck, Sconza and Bernhardt went into a shredding competition with quick guitar licks almost Vai-esque. Members of Ra Ra Riot joined the audience and moving to the beat was contagious for all.

Shortly after Meego's set Ra Ra Riot took the stage. By this time they had a decent audience, but I still questioned why there weren't more people at The Loft. I stood directly in front of the beautifil violinist Rebecca Zeller. I watched with great admiration as she laid down her violin licks and appeared completely taken away by the music.

The chemistry on stage was remarkable. You felt that you were watching a group of friends enjoying each other's company not just another band performing. Wes Miles' vocals were very tight, although a little quiet for me since I was right in front of Zeller's monitor. He was a true front man keeping the pace of the set on track and interacting with the audience.

Milo Bonnaci and Mathieu Santos, easily mistaken as brothers (Santos even mentioned this before the interview) were very tight on stage. This kept the music fun and exciting.

Drummer Gabriel Duquette was solid on the drums and able to endure a little criticism for his Janet Jackson t-shirt. I found the comments launched by the audience a little rude, considering he was probably just trying to raise awareness about this recently hospitalized singer.

On Cello, Alexandra Lawn was incredible. While being near perfect on her parts, she also sang back-up vocals and played the keyboard. Her performance on stage is very energetic and for someone playing a stationary instrument she gets around the stage.

There was a lot of energy felt by the audience. It was hard to find one person standing still. No mosh pits, but a lot of bouncing. My favorite song of the night was "Dying is Fine." Wes stood up on the drum set and got everyone in the crowd clapping the rhythm. If I had any complaint it would be that he didn't do things like that more giving me an opportunity to show my obsession with Ra Ra Riot.

Overall, a great show and the best $10 (plus all the Ticketmaster BS) I've ever spent.

Photo from
You can check out a video showing parts of the show at the end at:


Red said...

They do put on a great show.

Anonymous said...

sup man, cannedapplause here. ye sounds cool, lets link blogs. if you want to add my oasis review to ur roll thing too, id be very grateful.


The DP said...

Hey, I got video from their Letterman performance last night up over at The Shimmy Shake.