Riot at the Rialto

Indie rock group Ra Ra Riot to play Tucson this Sunday

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Photo courtesy of Sacks & Co.

Eight months after dropping its third effort, Beta Love, Syracuse-based synth-pop quintet Ra Ra Riot is still going strong on a tour of the U.S. The Daily Wildcat caught up with violinist Rebecca Zeller to ask about the upcoming show and find out how the road’s been treating the band.

DW: What did you guys do differently with Beta Love, your newest record, compared to your last two?

Zeller: I guess we had more of an intention of just wanting to go into and not over-think things and not let what we had done previously limit or dictate what we could do in the future. Obviously, both The Rhumb Line and The Orchard are more string-heavy than Beta Love, but just because that’s how those records were — not to force all the new music to be similar.

Beta Love dropped at the beginning of the year — how has the response toward that record been based on what you guys have seen at shows?

It definitely seems to be pretty good. I think a lot of the songs on Beta Love, like the older ones, people are having a lot of physical response to, moving and dancing. It seems like people’s responses are more similar to the way it was when we first started playing in house parties up in Syracuse. So gauging by that, the response has been really good.

Can you discuss your writing process a little bit?

Each song’s pretty different, and each album has sort of been different within that. But for this record, the strings sort of came more toward the end. And, in writing them, unlike more The Rhumb Line and The Orchard, there was a lot more consideration of what the vocals were doing and how the strings interacted with those, but it was sort of … a back-and-forth.

You guys play Southern Arizona a lot, having even played at more intimate venues like Hotel Congress. How do you guys like the crowds down here?

I feel like we actually didn’t even play Tucson until just the past two or three years. The crowds have been surprisingly good — I think especially good because we hadn’t really been to the market much in the early years. But everyone was really excited, and we had a good experience and a good turnout, which meant that we would be coming back.

What can show-goers expect to hear on Sunday night in terms of a setlist? Will it be mostly new stuff, or will it span your catalog?

It’ll definitely be a mix. It’s really easy to get stuck in a rut or to find a really great setlist and just go with that every night. But it’s also been really fun because, obviously, with every new record there are more songs to choose from. But we definitely play stuff from all three records — I think for both our benefit and for the fans’ benefit.


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