CUT OFF YOUR HANDS & RA RA RIOT @ WEBSTER

by brittany bartley

Saturday night’s show at Webster was very…youthful.  Doors opened at a bright and early 6pm, most likely to start things off with a bang and get all the kids back home before curfew.  I found myself surrounded on all sides by bright blue squares of light and fast little fingers texting messages of excitement to friends left at home.  My dinosaur phone isn’t too accommodating to frequent messaging or internet entertainment so I took that time to consume a couple of $8 Corona bottles from the bar.

Artist: Ra Ra Riot
Song: Can You Tell

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Jon Moses took the stage first, equipped with an acoustic guitar, harmonica, and a nice brown hat. He ended up being a pleasant little surprise, throwing in a Billy Bragg & Wilco cover (“California Stars”) as well as a little ditty entitled “If I Was Your Underwear” in which the lyrics go on to state “I’d touch you tenderly with care.”  He also whistled on a tune or two, which is always fine by me.  I guess he vaguely reminded me of Adam Green if Adam Green decided to show up to a gig dressed as a Bob Dylan impersonator.  Jon Moses was also a little more bashful and a little less cool……but overall he seemed like quite an alright guy.

Cut Off Your Hands served as the transition point in the night where people were beginning to decide whether it was time to dance.   Apparently the vast majority thought this was not the best idea but the band decided to do lots of jumping and thrashing movements regardless.  They had a lot of energy.  They are also very, very young.

Ra Ra Riot’s set tasted a little bit like candy.  Everything was colorfully lit, the band members were nice to look at, and the overall performance was short and sweet and full of the motivation to dance that the audience had been patiently awaiting.  I’m no Ra Ra Riot connoisseur but I think it’s safe to assume that in the 60-odd minutes they were onstage (including the encore) most of their catalogue was touched upon.  “Ghost Under Rocks” stands out in my mind as a track during which various teenage girls to my side were having aneurisms or epileptic fits or something, but in a positive way.  The sound was good too, even as it was muffled through a filter of neon orange foam plugged up in my ears – the only way to listen to a show if you want to be a smart concert attendee…or so I say after subjecting my naked ears to endless hours of destructive decibels while concert-going in high school.  (Sometimes the ringing doesn’t go away.)

The floor of Webster Hall definitely responded to the strong rhythmic beat backing each of the bands songs, springing up and down with the pounding of hundreds of jumping feet.  I think all went well.  The floor didn’t cave in and everyone seemed slightly more hyper then when they arrived.  In at 6, out by 10:30, satisfied at having seen three packed sets of new music and still plenty of time remaining for the rest of my Saturday night.

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