Hurray For The Riff Raff at Summerfest 7/6/18

This was my fourth time seeing Hurray For The Riff Raff in the third different city. If it were up to me I would see them in every city, but logistically I don’t think that’s possible. I was happy to make the drive up from Chicago to Milwaukee to catch their headlining set at Summerfest because I hadn’t seen them yet this year and I missed an opportunity to see a show they played with Waxahatchee and Bedouine earlier this year. This makeup show was fantastic and well worth the travel time.

I’ve said most of the things I can think to say about the group and, specifically, about Alynda Segarra so I won’t run too long here. Simply put, her voice and mind are important in these times that we are living. She’s a revolutionary in a lot of ways, and she never shies away from speaking up for what she thinks is right.

The group mostly stuck to last year’s The Navigator album with a Springsteen cover thrown in at the end (“Dancing In The Dark”), but they did play one new song and it’s extraordinary. Based on a Langston Hughes poem titled “Kids Who Die,” the tune hits particularly hard given the Trump administrations evil policy of ripping families apart.

Having only heard it once, I don’t have complete recollection of it, but the one part that hits home goes “There will be no monuments for the kids who die, but in our songs there’ll be.” I found a video from a show at Blue Note in Missouri so you can hear it. I’m pretty sure the girl to the left of the camera is wiping away a tear around the five minute mark, and if you listen to the song you might need to as well.

They did another new one called “Just The Way You Are,” which sounds cheesy but it isn’t. It’s a really good song as well, with more of an early Riff Raff sound (if you haven’t heard the first couple albums and just started listening in the last year or so, go find them). With a couple new ones ready to go, I’m hoping that we aren’t too far from a new record.