Ra Ra Riot plays Starlight Lounge


To see a band you highly enjoy perform at Waterloo’s Starlight is truly a privilege.

The small, dimly-lit Starlight Lounge offers an intimate environment in which audiences feel connected to the performers (and can actually see the band members on stage.)

That is exactly what occurred during the performance of Ra Ra Riot last Wednesday, Oct. 5.

The audience was first entertained by Dinosaur Bones, a Toronto-based band that has been accompanying Ra Ra Riot on their Canadian tour.

Their energetic stage presence broke the ice, getting audience members interested and engaged. Songs like “Royalty” kept the energy live and exciting for the crowd, but when they slowed it down near the end of their set to sing their ballad, “Ice Hotels,” the energy in the room became subdued as the crowd swayed to the beautiful tune.

The members of headlining Ra Ra Riot also joined the crowd to enjoy the performance of Dinosaur Bones.

Ra Ra Riot, an indie-rock band hailing from Syracuse. New York, is made up of vocalist Wes Miles, bassist Mathieu Santos, guitarist Milo Bonacci, cellist Alexandra Lawn, violinist Rebecca Zeller and drummer Kenny Bernard.

Ra Ra Riot’s performance did not disappoint; immediately after the band took the stage the room erupted into an energetic arena of dancing and shoe tapping.

Each member took advantage of the stage despite its small size, making a spectacle out of the different instruments and constantly multitasking.

“We have never played in Waterloo, but
I am looking forward to playing at
Starlight and trying out other

-Wes Miles, Ra Ra Riot frontman

Cellist Alexandra Lawn and lead singer Wes Miles demonstrated their multitasking excellence as they kept switching instruments during “Too Dramatic” in order to play specific solos and bridges.

The audience could hear every single instrument being played and they all worked together, showcasing the bands mastery of the true art of baroque pop.

Prior to the show, Riot’s frontman Wes Miles sat down with The Cord to discuss the upcoming gig.

Although used to performing in small university towns and intimate venues, Wes expressed interest and curiosity at the prospect of playing at Starlight.

“We have never played in Waterloo, but I am looking forward to playing at Starlight and trying out other venues,” said Miles.

Starlight seemed to live up to the anticipations of Miles and the crowds welcoming reception noticeably boosted their energy onstage.

“I wish I was out there with you guys,” a band member proclaimed before their rendition of the song “St. Peter’s Day Festival.”

Enjoying the liveliness so much, the band briefly stopped to chat amongst themselves and select an additional song to play.

Moments like these captured the true essence of feeling intimate and connected to performers.

Even when the speakers experienced a technical problem, producing feedback, the band and the crowd shared a laugh and continued to enjoy the performance. When the end of the night arrived, after a full-set and three encores, Miles thanked the crowd by reaching out and high-fiving as many people as he could before the song’s end.

As the crowd filtered out, stopping to chat with members from Dinosaur Bones or brag that they got to high-five Wes, we all thought the same thing: they better not give following night’s crowd the same loving treatment.

Ra Ra Riot fans have much to look forward to in the new year, prior to their Starlight performance, Miles told the Cord “I think after the tour, starting next early year we’ll start to get serious again and start recording some new songs.”

The band also appeared for a live performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Oct. 11.

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