Ra Ra Riot, The New Pornographers, and Death Cab For Cutie at The Pacific ColiseumPhotos by Alex Ramon
There are moments in my life when I feel blessed to have eyes and ears. I always imagine what it would be like to be blind or deaf, and I can’t fathom the idea of losing any of those senses. How can I live my life without listening to the beautiful sounds radiating from a speaker? Or watching a group of musicians perform on a glorious stage? Well it’s a good thing I’m alive and healthy (sort of…) because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to witness Ra Ra Riot, The New Pornographers, and Death Cab For Cutie play to a receptive audience at The Pacific Coliseum. Each band performed with so much energy and exuberance that it made me cherish my life, and when something like that happens, it’s no wonder I have to write it down.
All the way from Syracuse, NY Ra Ra Riot is comprised of Milo Bonacci (guitar), Alexandra Lawn (cello/vocals), Wesley Miles (keyboards/vocals), John Pike (co-writer/lyricist/vocalist, drummer, and lifelong inspiration), Mathieu Santos (bass guitar), Rebecca Zeller (violin), and Gabriel Duquette (drums).
They blew away the stage with their melodic, up-beat folk rock and incredible string section. They created a very nice ambient atmosphere that was reminiscent of an orchestral band, but at the same time they sounded an awfully lot like New York rockers Vampire Weekend, but better. They didn’t have that whiney voice but instead Wesley and John had a clear and crisp vocal performance. At times, they had a little modern synth rock that reminded me of Van Halen’s “Jump.”
This band is multi-talented and will be a band to look out for in the near future. They already have a big following, so jump on board and come along for the ride.
Comprised of… who knows anymore! With a rotating line-up that’s as confusing as any NHL farm team, The New Pornographers hit the stage at the Pacific Coliseum to play for their hometown crowd. All I know is that Mr. Newman was there, and Neko Case was not (If you do happen to know who else played, feel free to leave a comment and I will be forever grateful).
With a vast repertoire, they had many songs to choose from to entertain the crowd. It didn’t matter what they played, be it a radio single or something inconspicuous because their melodic sensibility combined with their beautiful harmonies created not only a memorable set, but also a memorable night.
The multi-talented band had every instrument imaginable to man, from wood sticks to a harmonica to a tambourine and back to an accordion. With so many talented musicians up on stage, it was hard to focus on just one individual. I must say that when I see such a big group of talented local musicians, I can only foresee this sort of union happening again in the near future. With local indie favourites Said The Whale, Hey Ocean!, Dan Mangan, and a whole bunch of other local musicians being such close friends, it’s only a matter of time before The New Pornographers II comes rolling out (possibly called The New New Pornographers?).
Headlining the night was none other than Grammy nominated Seattle based band Death Cab for Cutie. There’s nothing this foursome can’t do and with the crowd all warmed up and ready to go, they played an amazing set that’s worth remembering. The band consists of Ben Gibbard, Chris Walla, Nick Harmer, and Jason McGerr and with their epic sound, they produced a night of magical music.
Their set started off with a nice dim blue light which created the perfect mood for their melancholy tunes. Ben had pitch perfect vocals, and I couldn’t believe how he maintained that throughout his performance. They were a lot more energetic than I had anticipated, jumping and running around, so how Ben was able to preserve his voice without losing his breathe is unbelievable (I know I get light headed every time I sing in the shower… a bad combination if you ask me).
The entire band has really matured as performers since the last time I saw them at Pemberton. It felt like they were much more comfortable up on that stage and more of a cohesive unit, feeding off one another. This new-found stage presence got the audience on the side boards up on their feet, cheering and singing along to their loveable tunes, especially when Ben yelled out “Thank you 604!”
The night was a total success and everyone left the stadium with a smile on their faces, the bands included.