REVIEW: Ra Ra Riot – March 28th – The Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO

The Scene: There was a good crowd at The Larimer on Friday night. It was by no means sold out but probably about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the way there. The slightly Euro-looking crowd was slightly older than I had been expecting, but then again, I guess it is usually the older, industry linked, folks who get amped up for bands the kids haven’t even heard of yet.
There seemed to a good split between people who came to hear Ra Ra Riot vs people who were clearly there to see the headliner, The Cribs. As I was there for Ra Ra Riot and didn’t really care for The Cribs this review is going to focus on Ra Ra Riot.
Ra Ra Riot: I had been excited for this show since this band left the stage at Monolith way back in September and it was good to see that they got a slot at the Monolith pre-party at The Larimer this past Friday. However, I have to say that the show was slightly disappointing. I don’t know if they were not quite as “on” as they were at Monolith, or if the muddy sound was the problem, but something was missing.
Frontman Wes Miles danced and jerked all over the stage as his untrained tenor voice carried the poppy songs that saturate the bands debut EP. At moments it looked like the guitarist and bassist might render each other unconscious with the headstocks of their instruments as they swung them about the crowded stage. The band broke out fan favorite, “Each Year,” early on and ran through much of the EP during their brief 40 minute set. I believe Miles introduced a couple of new songs but as the mix seemed a bit off, it was difficult to get a feel for them Friday night.
Ra Ra Riot closed their set with “Dying Is Fine,” a radio friendly track that is a standout on the EP. It seemed that maybe the sound man had finally worked out the kinks as the sound was the best for this final song of set. People in the crowd were singing along and it was good to see the band go out on a high note before yeilding the stage to the UK band The Cribs.
A young band, who are out on one of their first national tours, this band still has some kinks to work out, but they certainly have the energy and the sound to pick up on some of the fan base that hung on every note as The Arcade Fire rose from their days of playing The Larimer Lounge to headlining Red Rocks.
They mentioned that they would be back in town on June 14th (Venue TBA) and also that they were playing the Black Sheep in The Springs on May 9th. I will definitely give these guys another chance as they were one of my favorite bands from Monolith and everyone has an off night.
Energy: A
Sound: C-
Musicianship: B
Stage Presence: B
Set/Light Show: N/A
Overall: B-
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Who Is Timothy Dwenger

Music has always been a part of my life. It probably all started listening to old Grateful Dead, Peter Paul & Mary, and Simon & Garfunkel records that my parents had, but it wasn't long before they were taking me to concerts like Starship, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Huey Lewis & The News. I got the bug to write about music after reviewing an Eric Clapton concert for a creative writing project in high school but didn't really take it up seriously until 2002. Since then I have published countless articles in The Marquee Magazine and done some work for Jambase.com, SPIN Magazine, and various other outlets. I started Listen Up Denver! as a way to share the music information that is constantly spilling out of my head with people who care. Please enjoy!