Ra Ra Riot at Fitzgerald's, 9/19/2013
When Free Press Houston and Pegstar combined forces to reopen Fitzgerald's in September 2010, they brought more to the venue than hope, good business sense, and fresh paint. Instead, the two-story dancehall-turned-rock-club remains a landmark in its Heights-area neighborhood, boasting among Houston's best in both local and touring acts.
So it's no surprise that the venue booked Syracuse-based six-piece synth-pop act Ra Ra Riot to help celebrate the third anniversary of its rebirth. But while the crowd was prepared to dance and sing along to Ra Ra Riot, it seemed as though opening act Caveman nearly stole the show.
The Brooklyn quintet kicked off the show upstairs around 9 pm after returning from their in-store at Cactus Music. What was most enjoyable about Caveman was their cohesive, yet diverse range in sound. Though the group is labeled simply as indie-rock, their influences shine through in the structure of their songs, notably in their passionate take on experimental rock, indie-pop, gospel and tribal drums (reminiscent of The Dodos).
Making their second trip to Houston, Caveman were able to pull off an 11-song set that consisted of tracks from both their debut, CoCo Beware, and Caveman, their recently released sophomore album. By the time they concluded "My Time" midway through their set, it was clear as to why Caveman's style is so often described as "wistful."
While some acts have one or two members who "steal the show," the men of Caveman were able to find a way to complement and highlight one another in significant ways. What's left was a group of men who each played a crucial role in creating music that was not only enjoyable and passion-filled, but also struck a chord in every person willing to listen.
As Ra Ra Riot entered the stage, making their second Fitz appearance this year, the band's personal light show turned bright red. Perhaps that's why the group seemed so comfortable by the time they jumped into their second song, "Binary Mind," off of their latest album, Beta Love.
By the time the group began playing "Oh, La," it was apparent why they had such a natural pull.
In many ways, their live performance is reminiscent to that of Broken Social Scene, who went on indefinite hiatus last year. It couldn't hurt that Ra Ra Riot were tapped to open The Postal Service's 10-year anniversary tour this summer, before they were asked to perform alongside Broken Social Scene, Stars and Bloc Party at this year's Arts & Crafts Festival in Toronto.
Of course, there are reasons beyond the size and genre of the band as to why they feel as though they could someday go on to fill some of indie's biggest shoes.
Review continues on the next page.