Ra Ra Riot

Riot of a concert for Michigan

Ra Ra Riot

BORN TO ENTERTAIN — Guitarist Milo Bonacci and frontman Wes Miles jam out to a crowd-pleaser. Miles walked around all night, switching instruments and engaging with the other band members. (Annah Duffey)

Saturday night, starting at 8 p.m., one could have walked by Dimnent Chapel and heard the voices of Michigander and Ra Ra Riot floating out from the open windows. Both bands performed high-energy songs that kept the audience dancing throughout the evening. While their crowd was on the small side, that did not prevent the bands from receiving tumultuous applause and appreciation. Needless to say, it was a relaxing and entertaining night for everyone in attendance.

“I just love the way a song can make you feel and the places it can take you. Music goes beyond borders and can really impact people and the world in massive ways,” Jason Singer, lead vocalist of Michigander, said. Michigander, a band from Kalamazoo, opened with five original songs, including “Nineties” and “Mexico.” The band’s sound is characterized by classic rock sounds and a trumpet addition. There is an even balance between quiet melodies and guitar-driven tunes which are complemented by Singer’s soft vocals.

“Michigander has been the toil and passion of Jason Singer since 2013,” the band’s Facebook page detailed. Singer led his fellow band-mates through the set list, jamming on his electric guitar and belting out meaningful lyrics.

“I try to look to large successful bands to find the path I want to take. I think a lot of local bands just try and copy other local bands,” Singer said of the source of his inspiration. The band left the stage to whoops of encouragement and a room full of new, avid followers.

After a few minutes of equipment and instrument updates, the six members of Ra Ra Riot took the stage. Their set was full of catchy songs and skilled instrument solos. There were many eye-catching elements to their set, including a yellow tambourine, silent cello and bedazzled violin. Wes Miles, with a voice similar to Nicholas Petricca of Walk the Moon, kept listeners enthused throughout the concert with his liveliness. Popular hits “Water” and “Absolutely” were a few of the many songs featured. The band members and fans alike were bobbing heads and clapping along—there was never a dull moment.

Afterwards there was a general murmur of contentment and satisfaction from those in attendance. The crowd flocked out the doors, stopping by the merchandise tables on the way out to look at shirts and greet Michigander. Singer greeted everyone joyfully and thanked them for coming to the show.

“Tonight was amazing. [It] was such a dream to finally play a show at Hope and it was even better that it was with a great band like Ra Ra Riot,” Singer said in a final comment. “We were treated so well by the staff as well. Really hope we can make it back someday.”

The next concert, which is also the final one of the semester, will be Judah and the Lion on Nov. 12. As with Saturday’s concert, it will be in Dimnent Chapel, beginning at 8 p.m.

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