Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Philly, New York, & The Boston Finale

And here we are in the final entry for Ra Ra Riot's 2008 US tour. Thanks to everyone and anyone who read along!

Our journey picks up in Philadelphia, where we loaded in to play NPR's World Cafe; and incredible studio with a huge, long history. We played at Johnny Brenda's that night, which was a great show in an intimate stage. The show was a bit quirky too, because the Phillies won in the middle of the set. Someone in the audience shouted "PHILLIES WONNN WOOO!!!" the audience of course was crazy for that. Wes actually had to calm them down a bit, and thank them for staying to watch the show. People were honking in the streets all night.

The most anticipated show all along was definitely Bowery Ballroom. We arrived back in NYC on a thursday morning after playing Philadelphia and staying at Wes' place in Frenchtown NJ. After a quick acoustic radio session, we headed to the lower east side to kill some time... eating at the famous Katz's Deli and playing with fancy shit at Ludlow Guitars. By fancy, I mean the $700 Moog Analog Delay pedal that Milo is itching to get, and what looked to be a vintage Rickenbacker bass that Mat was plucking on. By 3:00, we headed to Bowery to load in and meet my buddy Lane Crouse who we hired to direct lighting for the New York shows. It was so nice to be able to start working so early in the day and have more than enough time to work out any problems, and most importanly, just feel comfortable with everything. Especially cause this was the most intense sound rig I have laid my hands on.

Kenny, the in house sound dude at Bowery, was a great help. He gave me a quick and friendly run down of all his gear; Which compressors work well for vocals and snare, which reverb presets he prefers for the room, which gain pads I could expect to use on certain things (am I impressing you with all this tech talk?!?!). In the meantime, Lane was busy at work programming scenes in the house lighting system as well as the LED strips we rented from a place uptown that were placed on the bands gear, so as to illuminate it all with coordinated, vibrant color. The band played the hell out of their set. Here are some pictures on Brooklyn Vegan

The following day, we headed uptown to the Rockefeller center area to play a set at Sirius Radio in studio. The Sirius complex is quite extravagant, with a sleek lobby and hallway system. Each studio is made of acoustically treated double-glass walls; including the room (called "The Fishbowl") that the band played in. The performance was great, because it was graced by real acoustic instruments... including Allie's real cello, Becca's real violin, Milo's old acoustic guitar, and a provided Baldwin baby grand piano that Wes played. The performance will start to air on the Sirius channel "Left Of Center" in a few weeks I believe.

Just after this, we made a ridiculous journey through the Times Square area about three times, trying to find a gas station. Finally, we ditched that and headed down towards the FDR highway. Traffic sucked. But we pulled it off and made our way to Brooklyn for the Music Hall of Williamsburg show. The venue was really exciting to load in to, because it felt like a really legitimate concert venue. Large, wide stage and big system, and a digital console. It was my first hands-on experience with one where I had to use it to a large extent, actually. But I got the hang of it quickly, and it turned out to be quite convenient compared to most analog systems.

Come show-time when the house lights and music went down, the audience roared. I got one of the most intense adrenaline rushes I've ever had. It suddenly hit me that this was a seriously exciting show to be a part of. The band opened with "Each Year," a perfect song to get the audience riled up for the full entrance. Once the drums came in and Lane hit the big lights, I was in heaven. It simply looked and sounded incredible. My girlfriend Martha and long time friend, Elizabeth, joined me and Lane in the control booth for the duration of the show. I will also mention that watching Lane run the lighting console is a show in and of itself. Haha... damn, I hope to work with him again soon. His expertise and instincts as an LD took the New York shows to a whole new level. Even Mat in the band said he could feel the lighting changes coordinate with the moods of the music on stage. Kudos, Lane.

The band also pulled a new song out of their hat for this show... currently entitled "Foolish." They planned to play it the previous night at Bowery, but "chickened out" as Wes told the audience. The crowd clearly wanted it though, interrupting Wes with applause and screaming. They did play it, and it was amazing. I recorded the show in really nice quality too, so I just might post something from the show on here in a little... check back.

We finished up the tour the next day in Boston at The Middle East Downstairs. Several friends/fans were at this show to join us for the night, including my brother Patrick and his friends from UVM, Boston superfan John Erwin, and one of my best friends from college, Chris D'Errico with his family. The show was a great ending to the tour, and we were able to round up everyone for a big family picture with the Morning Benders, Walter Meego, and Ra Ra Riot (see below at the very bottom).

As some final notes, I cannot tell you how excited I am to have been a part of this tour. Being on the road with an up-and-coming band has been a dream of mine for much of my life, and to be able to do it with such a nice, fun group of people has been simply incredible. For any of you who have watched the video diaries posted on this blog, I'm sure you can tell its a blast hanging out with Ra Ra Riot. I'd like to thank Pepi Ginsberg, Tim, Chris, Joe, Julian, and Brian with The Morning Benders, Colin, Andrew, and Justin of Walter Meego, and of course, Mat, Becca, Allie, Wes, Milo, Gabe, Elise, and Josh with Ra Ra Riot for the amazing experience. I HEAVILY look forward to doing this again in the upcoming December tour!

I'll probably pick this blog up again... stay tuned!



  1. I knew the last post was coming, I just hoped it wouldn't be this soon : (

    Thanks for keeping up this blog, Andrew. It was really awesome to follow you and the band across the country. I loved the pictures and videos. Hopefully this won't be the official last post and you will continue this blog in December and hopefully you'll make it out to Kansas soon.


    P.S. When and where can I get that kickass poster?

  2. Thanks for blogging the tour! I can't wait to see them again in Newport (and/or somewhere in Ohio) and hear their new song!

  3. Wow! Andrew, you made this tour so much fun. Normally it is a mystery until the band shows up in town. Your excellent commentary, pictures and video shared views of the process that we never see. I would like to give you a great, big round of applause for maintaining this record.

    I didn't get too much chance to chat with you in Cambridge. That club gets so aggressive about fans hanging around -- its really a pain. We should have made plans to meet upstairs after the show. I loved your comment to your brother though "this is John -- I met him on the Internet". It sounded so tawdry!

    I am happy to hear that you are doing the December tour cause I plan on making the Northampton show!

  4. Hi Andrew!

    I am so sad that this is the last post, but super happy for the Nashville show in December! Hopefully I can negotiate my way in and find a way to meet you and the band! =)

    Thanks so much for all that you have done, including the signed vinyl. You rock.


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