The return of Ra Ra Riot to the Firebird was an evening I’ve been waiting for ever since I foolishly stayed home during their stop in St. Louis back in 2009.
And as much as I was looking forward to it, I certainly wasn’t the only one, with the line to get into the venue stretching down the parking lot. By the time the baroque poppers took the stage, the sell-out (and surprisingly diverse) crowd filling the Firebird was eagerly ready for a great night. Apparently the band was equally ready for the crowd, with singer Wes Miles sporting a retro St. Louis t-shirt and the Syracuse sextet wasting little time to launch into “Massachusetts.”
The Ra Ra Riot show fluctuates between a sense of intensity and daydreamy fun, whether it being Alexandra Lawn’s furious cello playing or solo on “You and I Know” to Miles bouncing around with bassist Mathieu Santos on the infectious single “Boy.” I prefer the band at these extremes and even though the evening focused on some of the medium-paced songs from The Orchard that aren’t necessarily my favorites, the band strongly closed out their encore with fantasticly loud and inspired versions of “Ghost Under Rocks” and “Dying Is Fine” and Miles handing out hi-fives to the front row.
No contest, this was easily one of my favorite shows so far this year (both as a photographer and listener). Hopefully the band felt similarly enough about our town to make it back here quickly.
-How cool and random was that Firebird tweet about the guys playing hockey in the venue hours before the show?
-Be sure to check out some other coverage of the show. Look forward to other pictures from Bryan Sutter (Firebird house photographer), Kelly Glueck (Playback:STL) and Jen Everett (Eleven Magazine) and words from Katie Moulton (RFT A to Z) and Julie Dill at IWTAS. Whew. Good job STL.
-In the days leading up to the show, I kept questioning which side of the stage I wanted to be at, knowing I would be stuck with that decision once the sellout crowd packed it in. I chose a spot center-right (my right) and if you’re planning on shooting them in the upcoming weeks, that’d be recommendation if you’re still trying to decide. Miles, Lawn and Santos started the evening on the far left, but make their way to the center plenty enough to get some good shots. Bonacci and Zeller stay fairly fixed on the right side and with so many people on stage, it’s probably going to be hard to get them from the left side. My new 14-24 lens was really fun to use for this show, especially being so close to Miles when he was singing upfront.
-To the jerk (or jerks?) shouting crass requests to the ladies in the band – shut up and please stay at home next time.