Smile Politely

Barnstormer Arrives

Ra Ra Riot

I can’t recall ever hearing a bad thing about Ra Ra Riot’s live show, which I’m assuming is for good reason — you don’t blow up on the indie pop scene by having a lackluster live show. A combination of enthusiam and great hooks are what you need, both of which Ra Ra Riot are overflowing with. And for those of you who caught their show last semester at Pygmalion, they’ve been playing material from their still untitled third full length (due out this summer). By the time they hit the stage for their headlining set, the mood (and likely the temperature) inside the barn will have reached a fever pitch, and by all indications, Ra Ra Riot are more than capable of burning the place completely down.

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Delta Spirit

When I spoke to Jon Jameson, bassist for Delta Spirit, he had nothing but good things to say about the tour. “It’s been really good so far…It’s more of like a party your friends are throwing in a backyard or something, it doesn’t feel like working. It’s kinda like just hanging out and playing with some friends.” Plus, Daytrotter has always been a favorite of the band’s, says Johnson: “We went there on our first real national tour and did our first Daytrotter session and ended up really connecting with them…they tried to get us to do the first couple [Barnstormer tours] and we were just too busy doing other tour, and finally there was an opening a little bit before our album comes out [June 8th], we weren’t really ready to do our headlining tour, so this worked out perfectly.” During their set, the band will preview material from their second full length, History From Below. “I’d think the majority of what we’re playing right now is off of [the new album]. We’re doing most of the album, there are a couple of songs we still haven’t dialed in.” But don’t get caught up in the in all these words — Delta Spirit’s terrific live show will be more than enough to draw you in.

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Free Energy

Even before the addition of Free Energy and Pearly Gate Music, this was a pretty hefty bill. With the two, the buzz level on the tour has reached dangerous heights. With the release of their Stuck on Nothing, they’ve turned into a certifiable blog sensation (including a coveted 8.1 ranking on Pitchfork), and for good reason. The band’s irresistable power pop, which borrows from Big Star and Cheap Trick to terrific effect, is one of the most unabashedly fun listens of the year, and you won’t be able to see them in such a small space for much longer — they’re playing Pitchfork Fest in July, and only going upwards from there.

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Nathaniel Rateliff

While he’s probably better known for his work with his backing band The Wheel, Denver-based singer/songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff is more than capable of captivating a room on his own. He probably wouldn’t even need a guitar, judging from his incredibly deep and textured voice (Nick Cave fans, step inside). With big things on the horizon, including a tour with The Tallest Man on Earth, this is another artist who won’t be playing rooms this small for much longer.

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Pearly Gate Music

Zach Tillman — better known as Pearly Gate Music — is the artist I knew the least about going into this article — and was a definite pleasant surprise. While I can’t say that his music steps all that far outside the singer/songwriter box, it’s propulsive and interesting enough going on to keep a complulsive multitasker like myself fixated. Instrumentally, he carries a definite Iron and Wine influence, while his voice is surprisingly deep considering that he looks enough to be in Vampire Weekend (he’s far more enjoyable, however). Even if singer/songwriters aren’t your thing, I’d recommend showing up early to catch this set.

Daytrotter’s Barnstormer III Tour stops at the Kalyx Center in Monticello (directions) tonight.The show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are $10, with half of the proceeds going to charity (we’re guessing there won’t be too many available at the gates, though). Sticking around to camp is highly recommend.

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