Ra Ra Riot has been on my radar since their eponymous 2007 EP but I honestly never expected them to come to Tampa. When the show was announced, I was surprised that not only were they coming to my town, but the show would be in the cozy confines of the Crowbar. Would Tampa show up for this must see show on a weeknight? In the rain? Yes and yes, even the double whammy of a wet weeknight didn’t stop the show from selling out and the place from being filled wall to wall.

The full six member band was quite an impressive sight on the intimate stage, especially because two of them were playing stringed instruments, a cello and a violin. Some bands have a violinist step in for one or two songs, but not RRR. These are full time band members playing their instruments on nearly every song, and cellist Alexandra Lawn even had her debut as a lead vocalist on the last release, The Orchard. In fact, “You And I Know” may have been my favorite song in an overall brilliant performance from the band, and I’d be surprised and disappointed if I didn’t get to hear more from her on future releases. They played every single song I wanted to hear from their back catalog, mixed in with a lot of the newer stuff. I have to admit that I hadn’t given the last album a lot of playing time, but I’m definitely planning to give The Orchard more attention now.

Opening the show was local band The Sleepy Vikings, self-described “loud country shoegaze”, followed by The Luyas, a Canadian band that brought out such artillery as the French horn and hand bells. It was a bit too quirky for me, but I may download a song or two to check them out.

Check out some more shots from the show here