all words and photos: Sam Goldstein
Oh, what a long strange trip it’s been. I must apologize for the glaring cliché but, after seeing Ra Ra Rasputin and the Dance Party play at the 9:30 Club on Friday night, I’m feeling just a little bit sentimental. These two bands have journeyed throughout the dark and cold underbelly of DC concert venues and have emerged, virtually unscathed, on the stage of one of the premier concert-spots in all of Washington, the 9:30 Club. On Friday night both Ra Ra Rasputin and the Dance Party demonstrated precisely how they had earned such a large, and well attended, performance.
Ra Ra Rasputin took the stage with customary aplomb, ambling up to their respective instruments wearing enormous grins on their faces. If the size of the crowd made an impact on them, it was almost impossible to tell. Ra Ra danced and smashed on their instruments as if they were in the most private of basements during a weekday rehearsal, and I mean that in a good way-a great way. The acoustics at 9:30 were beautiful, although by this point, as a dedicated Rasputnik I have virtually lost my ability to keep any sliver of composure at their concerts as I gyrate wildly, and poorly. I am still shocked that I managed to get any steady-handed pictures at all, but let it not indicate that the music was not dance-worthy, for it was.
After Ra Ra’s beautiful set came out the most poetic of contrasts: The Dance Party. Ra Ra Rasputin’s technical ability and charm finds a perfect reciprocal in the gregarious, loud and extraordinarily talented members of the Dance Party. Never before have I personally witnessed a band so aptly and accurately named; the Dance Party cruised through old jams and new tunes, finding a happy equilibrium in forcing the concertgoers to spasmodically lose control of their minds. The Dance Party does, in fact, put on a dance party, and this show was no exception, even in the sophisticated and mature confines of the prestigious venue. The highlight of the night for me, as corny and sentimental as I was feeling, was The Dance Party’s encore, which consisted of a single cover of the Cars’ “Nightlife Baby”, a rendition that I thought was thoroughly fantastic. All in all, the concert was a great success, although I can only hope that the future of these two bands will be filled with such accomplishment that this great milestone will be a mere distant memory.