This Riff Raff Is Everything But!

Everything but riffraff, that is… Hurray for the Riff Raff has been one of my favorite bands since the first time I saw them at the Newport Folk Festival two years ago. The band returned to Boston to perform at the Paradise Rock Club in what might have been their first headlining show at a major venue in the area.

Hurray for the Riff Raff

Hurray for the Riff Raff (4/5)

Hurray for the Riff Raff (2/5)

Hurray for the Riff Raff (3/5)

This show might possibly be the best show of theirs I have seen to date; the energy in the room was tremendous and the band fed off that (although it was truly symbiotic – they fed off us and we fed off their energy and joy).

This show followed a similar format to the previous shows; band founder Alynda Segarra took the stage alone and asked the audience if we minded if she performed without the band for the first song. Needless to say, the crowd roared! She then launched into “The New SF Bay Blues”, which truly showcases her songwriting and voice.

Alynda Lee Segarra

Alynda Segarra

After that, the rest of the band joined Alynda and they played songs from most of their studio albums, with the majority taken from the most recent release, Small Town Heroes.

Hurray for the Riff Raff

Hurray for the Riff Raff

Yosi Perlstein on fiddle, Casey McAllister on keyboard, David Jamison on drums, and newcomer Caitlin Gray on bass comprise the band. All provide backing vocals to Alynda’s lead. Other than Caitlin, they have been performing with Alynda for a number of years and are very tight.

Yosi Perlstein

Yosi Perlstein

Casey McAllister

Casey McAllister

David Jamison

David Jamison

Caitlin Gray

Caitlin Gray

Yosi is featured in many of the songs, and the chemistry between Alynda and Yosi is palpable. Yosi is a fine fiddle player; his playing is not flashy which for me highlights the quality of the musicianship.

Alynda Segarra and Yosi Perlstein

Alynda Segarra and Yosi Perlstein

Alynda Segarra and Yosi Perlstein

Alynda Segarra and Yosi Perlstein

The setlist included crowd favorites ‘Blue Ridge Mountain’, ‘Look Out Mama’, and ‘Crash on the Highway’, but also included a new song, ‘Living in the City’. I hope this means they will be recording a new album very soon!

Alynda Segarra

Alynda Segarra

They played ‘The Body Electric’ which has become an anthem of sorts for the band. “Oh, and tell me what’s a man with a rifle in his hand/Gonna do for a world that’s so sick and sad?/Tell me what’s a man with a rifle in his hand/Gonna do for a world that’s so gone mad?” Alynda decries gun violence better than I ever could.

Alynda Segarra

Alynda Segarra

I miss the former bassist’s acoustic double bass, but I love Caitlin’s yellow electric bass. It probably makes for easier traveling (I wondered when I saw their small UHaul trailer how a double bass would fit in it, but Casey told me as we spoke in front of the club that they had a new bassist who played electric)!

Caitlin Gray

Caitlin Gray

I don’t know what in particular it was that made this show so terrific. The sound was especially good, as was the lighting. The audience was very appreciative and respectful during the performance – but extremely enthusiastic! The band appeared to be more joyful than usual – and they always are happy to be on stage.

The enthusiastic audience

The enthusiastic audience

Opening the show was Son Little fronted by Aaron Earl Livingston, who describes his music as future soul. I enjoyed his set, which was longer than a typical opening set.

Son Little

Son Little

Toward the end of his set, he declared ‘I like these girls!’; he proceeded to sit at the edge of the stage in front of the three women in the photo before the previous one and sing unamplified directly to them for a verse or two.

Son Little

Son Little

Even though this show started a bit later than I prefer on a ‘school night,’ I had no problem staying engaged with Hurray for the Riff Raff. I wish they were returning to the Newport Folk Festival this summer. Last year, I had not planned to see their set because I saw them two weeks earlier, but I could not stay away from them! I highly recommend not only seeing this band but buying their music.

Ticket courtesy of Hurray for the Riff Raff; all opinions are my own.

About suze72

I've loved the arts all my life... I go to a lot of concerts, take lots of photos and want to share them. Every once in a while I do something other than a concert, too. The Boston area is full of opportunities to indulge my passion - I'd like to help make it yours too!

Posted on April 27, 2015, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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