Ra Ra Riot In the Streets

Man, this photo is taken from a show I bought tickets to see at the Middle East in Cambridge, Mass., and I had to bag out because a friend flaked. Goddamn you, friend! Or should I say, goddamn you, fiend!

Some interesting music today. My mission for tomorrow is long, internally contradictory, possibly impossible. Tonight: Yeasayer looks healthy and prosperous, and they were excellent. Times New Viking: vocals were actually too muddy, knowing fully well that this is the schtick. This was a step beyond, unfortunately. Not in a good way. Simian Mobile Disco: what an odd, rowdy crowd. An excellent set in the end, and I was won over, but boy, I really don’t like being groped by strangers. Yes, I understand, you’re enjoying the music. But please, keep your paws to yourself. Now, some say, “But Reihan, you’re irresistible, particularly in this particular context.” I regret to report that the groping was omnidirectional, so loathe though I am to admit it, the groping can’t be attributed to my animal magnetism, or rather to my unique animal magnetism. When I think of “animal magnetism,” I invariably imagine walking down a street with kittens attaching themselves to my arms, legs, and head. That would be awkward.

So strangely my musical highlight, leaving aside the excellent Shearwater, was my guilty pleasure band, Ra Ra Riot. The RAC remix of “A Manner to Act” is riotously good. Boy, do I ever spend a lot of time listening to Ra Ra Riot, a band intended for 14-year-olds. Like it or not, Ra Ra Riot rocked the s—t out of their set. I was the idiot begging for them to play another song, despite the fact that they had a strict, strict time limit. Also, I was the idiot who knew all of the lyrics to every song, and sang along despite trying hard not to, to spare the Salam name the shame. A couple of strange things happened: a toddler was rocking out, which you’d think would be more common given the high Grup contingent, but no. It was unsettling, and (obviously) cute. Also, there was a really pretty photographer who was quite taken with the kid. I hate to, like, gender this framework. I’ll leave that to you. This was at the decidedly unglamorous day stage at the Austin Convention Center. A lot of dorks and underage people. Then there were the overage dorks, like yours truly. Prior to Ra Ra Riot, Akron/Family did a kind of lackluster job of “firing up the crowd,” though they did, naturally, a pretty damn good job.

I was hanging just outside the venue, and noticed the most striking beautiful woman I had seen all week, which is saying something as Austin is, I’m sorry to say, full of gorgeous people. (It’s not the festival either, and it’s not the fact the fact that people wear underpants on the outside in the Sunbelt, as this is to generally troubling effect.) And I hope I’m not being creepily and overcompensatingly mannish. The gents are quite handsome too. Plenty of reason for all Americans to converge on this sacred spot. Anyway, this woman was truly (near heartstoppingly) beautiful, plus she was wearing rad pastel tennis shoes. Well, it turns out that she was Ra Ra Riot’s brilliant, brilliant cellist. What a terrible crime. I can understand being blessed with good looks (insane cheekbones, a dark Levantine aspect, etc.), but truly sublime talent and excellent dress sense as well — this calls for a riot. Not a ra ra riot either. I mean this calls for the less blessed to throw deck chairs out of windows and start barbecues in the streets.

In truth, the whole band had rad dress sense, particularly the superb lead vocalist, who wore an ugly-wonderful shirt. I thought to myself, “Where can I get that shirt?” and “Can a brown man pull of that hideous melange of pastels?” I said something sputteringly in the general presence of the band’s two female members later. May I never sound like such a bloody moron ever again. Gosh. I mean, that won’t be hard, actually. I’ll just have to not beat my head in with a frozen slab of grass-fed beef. I realize I’m no slouch in the sounding like a blithering boob department, but this took the cake. I’ll never live it down.

With some people, it’s like, having a crush on this person is like really liking jam or ice cream. (“That’s just the jam!” There’s a reason we say that.) What do you want, a cookie? I mean, of course you have a crush on Helena Bonham Carter or Bob Dylan, or someone else excellent. You’re an idiot. The best people to have crushes on are cool yet slightly misshapen from some obscure angle, not perfectly formed superhuman cellists. I mean freaky Tim Burton and not spiky yet fine-boned Helena Bonham Carter.

Good grief. Informative blog post and, gosh, a picture of the band looking cute and goofy. Must. Tear. Self. Away.

I’ll get over this when it’s not 3:30 AM. Long day ahead. New bands to develop crushes on.

Photo by Flickr user Hunta under a CC license. Thanks to Hunta! And to Larry Lessig!