Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 358/365 - Ra Ra Riot at the 9:30 Club

Tonight I caught Ra Ra Riot's sold out gig at the 9:30 Club. Not to damn them with faint praise, but their concert was by far the best $15 show I've ever seen. I wasn't in the mood for eating dinner at the 9:30 Club, so before the concert I popped into Creme on U Street to grab a quick bite. I'd never eaten there before, but when I saw they had shrimp and grits on the menu that clinched the deal for me. It was creamy and spicy and meaty and the perfect dish for a cool October evening.

There was a bit of a surprise when I got to the club -- they were requiring everyone with cameras to check them at the door. That's the first time they've done that in all the times I'd been there. Don't know why they suddenly decided to do that. There was someone official with a video camera filming Ra Ra Riot's set, so I don't know if that had something to do with the new restriction or not.

Anyhow, that's why we have a shot of my stamped hand holding my concert ticket today instead of a photo taken inside the 9:30 Club. Party poopers. Although I didn't want to eat dinner at the club, I did want to pick up dessert there, so my first stop once I checked my camera was to buy one of their cream-filled chocolate cupcakes. Those things are like cupcake nom-ageddon and they go surprisingly well with bourbon and coke.

Although the camera check policy was a downer, I was stoked to snag a barstool at the counter across from the upstairs bar. That's the first time that's ever happened to me. It kicked ass to have both a seat and a perfect, unobstructed view of the stage for the duration of the concert. Normally I have to stand throughout and I only catch bits of glimpses of the stage and the bands.

The first opener tonight was a band called Princeton. They were mildly unremarkable. The second opener, Maps and Atlases, was considerably better. Their sound was a bit of a mix of Kings of Leon and Vampire Weekend. They did have an unfortunate propensity for self-indulgent collective noodling, though. That's fine if you're just jamming together in your garage, but it can make it difficult for an audience to connect with you in a concert venue. It tends to make the crowd feel more like an intruder than a participant.

Ra Ra Riot had no such problems, thankfully. They have to be one of the only rock/pop bands out there that features both a violinist and a cellist. Not surprisingly, this adds a lush, plaintive tone to a lot of their songs. In their gig tonight they were fast, frenetic, and full of life as they whipped through most of the songs on their debut CD. They bounced and swayed around the stage, high-fived the crowd, lit up like candles of joy and exhiliration, and seemed to be enjoying their show at least as much as the audience did. Their performance tonight was a bouncy, bubbly blast and a heckuva bargain at 15 bucks.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

p.s. -- Only one more week to go until I no longer have to worry about coming up with something to photograph each and every day!

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