Ra Ra Riot >> shared the love in Phoenix on Thursday, headlining a great show downtown at Crescent Ballroom. With a lineup that also featured Man Or Astro-Man?, Speak and Audacity this turned out to be a superb mini-festival on a gorgeous spring night in the desert.
Although it was a fairly short set, Man Or Astro-Man? nearly stole the show with their relentless energy and animated movement about the entire stage between several galactic screens and a crowd that seemingly came to see Ra Ra Riot but got a kickass bonus thanks to the space cadets.
There weren't many vocals in their performance but the power jams channeling the surf style strings of Dick Dale were plenty to capture the packed house. At one point they performed a song that featured a full-sized standing theremin that I've never seen played in such a rock out way before. Furthermore, the guy who operated it set it on fucking fire at the end of the song and said, 'If you can't play it, burn it.'
I loved the space-themed recordings that played between songs and astronautic garb donned by the band and perhaps better than Manufactured Superstars rock the similar getup.
Ra Ra Riot took the stage about 15 minutes after Astro-Man carried off their equipment and opened with 'Too Too Too Fast' followed by 'Shadowcasting', both amongst the raddest of tracks off their first full length albums, The Rhumb Line and The Orchard, respectively. Then came the shower of songs from Beta Love, their latest LP released just this January [really great BTW]. Such songs like 'Binary Mind', 'Dance With Me' and the title track seemed to get the crowd going more so than others which demonstrates how great the band has become since I last saw them in Tempe at the Clubhouse in 2010.
Personally I loved The Orchard and they did perform a great 'Too Dramatic' and closed with 'Boy' before an encore that wrapped up with 'I Shut Off'. I'm glad the band is enjoying so much success these days and their sound has become very mature but I must say I'm a little bummed not to have seen the hotso Alexandra up there on the cello. Upon further research I learned she is no longer in the band, unfortunately. Not sure what happened but they moved forward with a girl who could also crush it on cello and had some cute dance moves when the bow wasn't moving.
What a great show! Hopefully their Beta Love tour has a few gaps open for a festival appearance or two this year so I can check them out again with fresh legs - I spent half the show in the bleachers due to some mean Bikram sessions in the days leading up to the show. Namaste yo.