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Ra Ra Riot

09-Sep-2008 12:00 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Ra Ra Riot

The Horseshoe in Toronto, Ontario
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema
Ra Ra Riot September 6, 2008
Full Photo Set (12 photos)

I downloaded the latest Ra Ra Riot album, The Rhumb Line, from eMusic.com a few weeks ago, but only got around to listening to it two days before their show in Toronto – after a Facebook friend reminded me they were going to be playing The Horseshoe. Although the album didn't completely blow me away on the first listen, it definitely made enough of an impression on me to get me out to their show. And on a night when there were many other options: Crystal Castles headlined the Vice Festival Ball, Edwin (formerly of I Mother Earth) rocked the Tattoo, Revival Dear were playing with new drummer Robbie Butcher at the El Mocambo, the No Shame showcase at Rancho Relaxo, and even The Kids In The Hall were doing a 25th anniversary show at The Rivoli.

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In the end, I was happy with my choice of entertainment for the night. Although few technical issues disrupted the mental flow of Wesley Miles (vocals), the pauses they inserted were extremely minor, and the one time it took a little too long to sort it out, the band played on while the issue was resolved. So, even though the problems may end up being memorable to the band, to the spectators they were barely noticeable, especially when compared to all the cool music being dished out. The band is comprised of the standard vocals (Wesley Miles), guitar (Milo Bonacci), bass (Mathieu Santos), and drums, but also includes both a violin (Rebecca Zeller) and cello (Alexandra Lawn), adding a slight folk sound to their indie-pop-rock base. Sadly, their previous drummer John Pike died in 2007, so I'm not sure who was on the drum kit at The Horseshoe.

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The set was a comfortable 50 minutes or so consisting of 10 songs plus one encore that we were told had never been performed on stage before. About 4 songs away from the end of the set they were playing through a really excellent song, but the chorus was driving me mad because it reminded me heavily of another song. I was searching my brain endlessly trying to figure it out, but just couldn't. So I took a photo of the set list and mentally marked which song it was. When I got home, I examined the set list and saw it was labelled Gaffa. Gaffa?!? Exactly. As in Suspended In Gaffa, originally written and recorded by Kate Bush in 1982. It was actually a cover of that song. It has probably been 20 years since I'd heard it, but yet my brain recognized the melody immediately. Strange how that works. Their version of the song was excellent, as was their performance. Also notable was Ghost, which was probably the best song of the evening for me.

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