AS220 in downtown Providence was buzzing on Thursday for the release show of Roz and the Rice Cakes’ second album Devotion. The hip venue, which doubles as a gallery and artist space, hosted a crowd of supporters of the Providence trio. Openers Lookers, with sick punk rock inspired tracks (think musical barks), and Funk Underground, a hip-hop collaboration all about the funk, brought massive energy. Special shout out to Funk Underground for their livestream in support of Puerto Rico relief.
Hyped up for the performance, vocalist/keyboardist Roz Raskin, drummer Casey Belisle, and bassist Justin Foster took to the stage. The band was backlit by futuristic light art that went hand in hand with the new album’s self-proclaimed “sci-fi” sound, a follow up to 2014’s Need to Feed. Cool dim floor lighting enhanced the mysterious vibe, and Foster’s synth was elevated by a light bulb contained within brightly colored milk crates. Watching the performance was an event in itself. All the band members were clearly performing in celebration, their faces lit up and beaming. The titular word “devotion” is how the band describes the album itself; a labor of love and experimentation among the trio led to this exciting new work.
The band’s pop/rock magic had the crowd stamping and moving. Artful lyrics and Roz’s eerie vocals shone through a background of syncopated rhythms, cinematic synthesizers, and complex beats. Captivating and lingering, the performance highlights included guest backup vocals by the Lookers’ lead singer and bassist, Roz’s dad coming to the stage to play a soulful sax, and a rad singalong encore that left concertgoers’ ears happily ringing.
Congratulations to Roz and the Rice Cakes on their new album! Check out Devotion on Bandcamp and Spotify. And, for fans who missed the album release show and are dying to hear R&TRC live, check out the HomeBRU’d session the band recorded at WBRU’s studio this month, featuring new tracks “Do You,” “East Coast,” and “Houdan the Mystic”!