Who: Ra Ra Riot (opening for Wintersleep)
When: Sunday, Nov. 14, 9 p.m.
Cost: Advance tickets $20 at GLC, Billabong, Katmandu or www.clubzone.com/ciaconcerts
Fans of the East Coast indie group, Wintersleep, are grinning from ear-to-ear in anticipation of the band's upcoming Whistler show, but they should also be sure to pay very close attention to the other name on the bill: Ra Ra Riot.
This modern day chamber-pop outfit boasts an eclectic sound that is simultaneously upbeat and ethereal, even bordering on haunting.
Hailing from Syracuse, New York, Ra Ra Riot is made up of vocalist Wes Miles, bassist Mathieu Santos, guitarist Milo Bonacci, cellist Alexandra Lawn, violinist Rebecca Zeller, and drummer Gabriel Duquette. The group has been together for almost five years now, since they were all students at Syracuse University.
"Milo had a class with Rebecca and he kind of knew that she played violin and asked her if she had any interest in being in a band, and she knew a cello player and I had played in a quartet with her, as well as orchestra, and she brought me along," Lawn explained.
From those organic roots, a band blossomed. Less than six months later they took the CMJ Music Marathon by storm, causing SPIN.com to sit up and take notice, proclaiming the group "one of the best young bands we've heard in a really long time." Lawn explains that CMJ really was a turning point for the band, which had been playing gigs for fun, really, up to that point.
"Having industry people approach you, wanting to build a career with you, it can really change your perspective and it made us go that next step to make it a career."
It wasn't really a difficult decision to make the leap into music, full-time.
"It didn't really require much effort at all," she paused, laughing. "And I think that's part of how we've gotten to the point that we're at, is that all throughout our career, everyone is very ambitious in their own way, and one of the qualities I think for all of us is that everybody in the band is an individual who can just dive right in and kind of be brave about it."
But since breaking onto the scene, their continued success can be attributed to hard work, plain and simple. Lawn points out that today, in the age of the overnight YouTube sensation, there's still something to be said for paying your dues and going through the motions of being a touring band and developing a dedicated and loyal group of fans.