October 21, 2011

Reviewed: Yellow Ostrich + Ra Ra Riot

The Paradise, Boston

This was our second time hearing Yellow Ostrich, the threesome headed by Wisconsin native Alex Schaaf. On this occasion, the boys proved yet again that their unique, often sparse sound holds up beautifully to the test of a large, energetic crowd. Schaaf, one of the most innocent, pure personalities I've ever seen hold an electric guitar, was fascinating and captivating. He added to his numerous vocal looping some heavy guitar we hadn't heard before, something that freshened many of the arrangements off their 2010 record, The Mistress. The group was unafraid to showcase some brand new work as well. Here's a sample of a few of the tracks we hope they lay down very soon. All told, I was impressed not only with the increasing creativity and chemistry of the group, but also with the crowd's reaction to the material after just a 40 minute set. If anyone deserves the adoration of the masses, it's these guys. 

Following Yellow Ostrich was Ra Ra Riot, the now well-established indie-string-pop darlings. The sextet, complete with cello and violin, immediately stormed the stage with power and energy. I was blown away by their professionalism and musicianship. The sound was crisp and the vocals spot on, and any who may have imagined that the layered string melodies on record would be difficult to replicate live were proven wholly wrong. The set featured material from both their latest record, The Orchard, and the more successful, acclaimed 2008 album The Rhumb Line. It was by no means the most creative of performances, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. They know how to get the crowd jumping, and isn't that really what we all want in life?


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