After staying relatively under the radar for the past two years, Ra Ra Riot made their grand comeback official with a sold-out show at Boot & Saddle last night. Without having released new music since 2013's Beta Love, their third full-length and first without cellist Alexandra Lawn, the baroque pop outfit kicked off a brief headlining tour in Philadelphia, touting new music and a promise of big things to come for 2016.
Though unassuming, Ra Ra Riot have earned clout through the lush arrangements bookending their repertoire thus far, including romantic string compositions as well as punchy synth lines, both of which brought fans out in droves on a Sunday night.
Effortlessly sailing through their three-record catalog with beefed-up bass lines and dance-y drumming, the five-piece highlighted early-career favorites like "St. Peter's Day Festival," the Honda commercial-featured "Boy", and the new-wave, snyth-pop-leaning "Dance With Me," all the while augmented by front man Wes Miles' expansive vocals, sounding as agile and fresh as ever.
Set list centerpieces included whimsical takes on tracks from their 2008 debut The Rhumb Line including "Oh, La" and a grand and booming "Ghosts Under Rocks," both heavily highlighting the ace string section of violinist Rebecca Zeller and touring cellist Emily Brausa.
Not without previewing the next phase of music, the new offerings that were littered throughout the night, played much like a continuation of the glossy pop-heavy era of Beta Love. Similarly, an ornate version of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Run Away With Me" proved the band's diligence showcasing range.