During the first weeks of Live Wired, we talked all about Guster and Jack’s Mannequin when they toured together over the summer. The opening band on that tour, Ra Ra Riot, are now on their own headlining journey and we got to catch their fantastic performance! The six-piece indie rock band from Syracuse, NY took the stage last week at Paradise Rock Club, ready to create a fun, enjoyable atmosphere with their music and stage presence. Seeing this band perform in a smaller and more intimate venue, as opposed to an amphitheater, was a real treat since the space allowed the crowd to really see what the band’s about and witness the range of their talents.
To get things started, the band played “Massachusetts” from their album The Orchard, which the crowd loved since, well…we were in Massachusetts. One of the best things about Ra Ra Riot has to do with the instruments they use. Not only do they utilize instruments that are not found in your everyday rock band, but most of the members can play more than one. Throughout the night, the six members were constantly picking up new instruments and switching around according to each song. Three different members took the job of lead vocals during the performance, which was pretty incredible. They were all over the place, but in a cohesive and beautiful way. Somehow the show was full of positive energy but relaxed at the same time. So it’s no surprise that the audience’s enthusiasm never wavered and only increased throughout the night.
Here at Live Wired, we’re always talking about how much the audience at a show affects the atmosphere and the performances themselves. Whether it’s a nationally known act or an up and coming artist, it seems like a crowd can always make a difference and help create a memorable concert experience. Last week, we checked out one of the last dates of Polar Bear Club‘s tour with Fireworks, Balance and Composure and Such Gold where this concept definitely proved to be true”especially since one of the best things about pop-punk music is how much the passion and energy of the bands are mimicked by their fans. In a room full of people, you could rarely find anyone just standing in place; most were participating in the show in some way.
Together these bands make a pretty awesome tour package. All of them are constantly on the road and, at some point or another, have played shows together before. There was lots of love and support shown throughout the night, from both the fans and the band members. Such Gold, who hail from the same hometown as Polar Bear Club (Rochester, NY), joined in the middle of the tour and kicked things off with just as much energy as the rest of the night would bring, best highlighted in their last song, “Sycamore”. Balance and Composure were up next, bringing to the table a slightly different style of music compared to all of the other bands. The excitement in their live show came from the power and uniqueness of their lead singer’s voice, which was most evident in their performance of “Burden”. Even when the music was slower in pace, the liveliness never faded and the nature of their music kept fans intrigued the whole time.
Sometimes, the best kind of live shows are the ones that catch you by surprise; the ones that are full of unexpected moments and the ones that leave you smiling. Here at Live Wired, we got to experience both this past weekend, a full day of music courtesy of Matt Nathanson. The Massachusetts-born singer, who released his album Modern Love back in June (check out his interview with OurStage after the album was released) put on two wonderfully different performances on Saturday. Seeing Matt in concert is more than just a live show; it’s an entire experience full of his incredible stage presence and his constant conversation with the audience.
In the early afternoon, Matt and his right-hand man Aaron Tap, took the stage at a jam-packed record store, with people squeezed in between rows and rows of albums. The set was acoustic and mostly comprised of newer material, which allowed us to hear beautiful versions of songs like “Bottom Of The Sea” (Matt joked was the sequel to “Under The Sea” from the movie The Little Mermaid). The song translated perfectly into an acoustic performance, with Matt and Aaron providing wonderful harmonies. Acoustic shows are always more intimate, and Matt took full advantage of that atmosphere, spending a good chunk of time between songs talking with the crowd. While sometimes this approach doesn’t work well for artists, he had everyone laughing hysterically the whole time. Noticing a few younger kids to the side of the stage, he had some fun while explaining the meaning behind some of his songs, attempting to make them more “PG”. To the delight of the crowd, he played one of his older and more popular songs, “Come On Get Higher”. Everyone sang along; and there’s something about a giant crowd in a small room singing in unison with a couple of acoustic guitars that is so wonderful. It brings everyone together. It’s what live music is really about.
Back in August, Live Wired shared with you some of our favorite live recordings courtesy of the Pro Performance Videos Channel on OurStage! We’re back again with even more videos we think you absolutely need to watch. This time, we had the chance to talk to the talent behind some of the performances we loved about the multitude of factors that go into making a live performance great. Read on for some first-hand experience on how bands prepare for the big show and how different the whole experience is.
First up, we have Andy Rumsey from Spokane, Washington who amazed us with his emotion-filled voice and great stage presence in his performance of “The Slow Vibration” on March 31st at The Empyrean. We all love the simple, raw sound of a singer armed with an acoustic guitar, but there’s something about seeing the spectacle live that adds so much more. It’s clear from watching Rumsey on stage that he loves what he’s doing. Even though he doesn’t have a band behind him for support, he keeps his energy high the whole time, and his passion is so clear and contagious. After speaking to him, there seems to be two main factors that make these kinds of performances possible. First, is the audience. Andy told us that he loves interacting with the crowd and that they “in some way help to shape” his music. More importantly, is his pure love for singing. He told us that he is constantly singing, explaining, “I can’t say that I ever feel more natural and relaxed that when I am singing”.
iHeartRadio is all about well…radio, and taking it to the next level. Not only does the site allow you to live stream talk and music radio stations locally and nationally, it also enables you to create your own custom stations based on your musical tastes. This past weekend, iHeartRadio went all out to promote their new and improved Web site, along with the launch of the iHeartRadio mobile app that grants users listening access from their phones. For the launch, they put on a giant, star-studded festival in Las Vegas, which sold out about ten minutes after tickets were made available. The theme of the night was very much focused on the diversity and popularity of the festival’s artists.
For the majority of fans who weren’t able to get a ticket or make their way to Vegas, iHeartRadio streamed the entire two-night event on their Web site. Here at Live Wired, we were part of that majority, and since we’ve been talking so much about streaming festivals online, we’re here to tell you what it was like. The evening kicked off with a half-hour “pre-show” hosted by two personalities from NYC’s popular radio station z100, followed by the first performance of the night. The Black Eyed Peas, who apparently are not on their hiatus yet, took the stage first and were pretty underwhelming. Not that they’re exactly known for their live shows (See: this year’s Super Bowl performance), but the audience didn’t seem too entertained either.