Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Last Friday I had the honour to see hometown gig heroes, The Riot at Elsewhere on the Gold Coast's Cavill Avenue. This venue was really interesting; a dive bar with a disco dance floor. The vibe is gothic black with blood red lights. Mirrors everywhere, and a tiny End Stage tucked into the back. The photos came out pretty psychedelic due to a fatal cocktail of reflective clothing, smoke machines and mirrors. But I kind of like how grainy and fudged up they are, so we're just calling it aesthetic & doing them as a showreel at the end. . . Luckily, my good friend Liav Shalev was able to swoop in with some photos of The Riot from Yonder Festival, the weekend before. Lifesaver! Check him out on insta @soggybreadissad
It's the first gig I've ever been to without any opening acts. But you know it's good if your only criticism is they need supporting bands to pump the crowd up. Once they got into it, it was sick. It's just weird to be sitting around for hours waiting for the band. Shout outs to Zac, an off-duty member of Elsewhere bar staff. According to him, there's usually 3 bands, with a range of different vibes from punk, to DJs, and even art installations on occasion. Thanks for the tequila apples, doidsen.
Moving on full steam ahead, the gig commences. Finally, the hiss of a smoke machine heralds their immanent arrival. Bass, drums & guitar sit idly on the stage, just begging to be played. The tube amp is warmed up and the audience gets hyped with some hits from Blink 182 & Sum 41 from the DJ. And then...
A wild guitarist appears. Flanked in V-formation by a drummer and a professor of bassology. The freakiness on the guitarist is the first thing you notice. It smacks you in the face like Sonic Youth, and the gig starts with a jam. I'm a fan of opening jamborees. The guitarist has got so many moves that he starts on the f*cking ground and we only get more avant-garde from there. Seriously, this guy can move.
The schralp lords are born performers - pandering to the audience while the bass gets sludgier. Some serious presence.
A few more slug chugs on the strings, and the singer emerges. It gets doooooo0o0o0my. He's got some fkn flow, like some Zack D shit. IT's all I can think as my brows touch my hair. But Zack de la Rocha rocket flow ain't the only thing cooking in the pot, as the hands go flyin' and the shrieks get let loose. The crash cymbal gets a workout and we dive into some weird bluesy hard-rock shenanigans.
A break down comes a-knockin' and they prove they can move. All in the first song.
It's their last show of the year, we're told, and we get a fancy intro for all the band. I love when this happens, proper MC style. We got Tyler on the guitar. Scotty on the drums. Izzy on the bass. And JD on the mic.
The next song is more soulful, before dropping the bomb and breaking through to hardness. It ends with a crash. And that was only 2 songs in. Ditty number 3 starts with a guitar chug of fight milk before going into a Nocturnal Bloodlust breakdown with piercing high notes. We speed up before a big ol' drop and build into the ultimate face melt. We get a shout out to the 'power of numbers' and an invigorating:
"WE ARE THE RIOT!"
#4 starts off with some gospel big notes again, before the sludge grunge slaps our nipples. What a transition. The guitar cuts in and our ears are tickled with a heavy tonal shift: "Fuck the enemy!" Thumping, punching drums compliment a short solo perfectly. The audience interaction continues with a prelude for the next song: "We believe in real shit. This is what the next song's about."
And what a song! A fan favourite, the crowd in raucous ecstasy. It starts slow and melodious, and the melisma from JD is phenomenal. The pipes! We get some slow, long chords hanging in the air. And then the overdrive kicks in.
Some evil guitar licks rear their horns, dripping in goosebumps. Tyler is tuning and retuning mid-song with the head keys, and then we get swept away into some tasty rapflow. It's an intricate song comp, with Travis Barker drums. Macabre. We see some more stage craft wizardry from Tyler, the 6-stringed menace, before he picks up some sticks and does the fabled double-drum technique with Scotty. Then they punch us in the duodenum with a wall of sound break-up.
The next banger starts with something special. A mandolin solo. Now THIS is what every gig needs! We get a taste of some rappin' and tappin' hippety hoppity flow, and Izzy is going fully insane on the basso continuo. It's something like the mongrel offspring of Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine. The guitarist is playing the role of hype man this time, wrangling the mic. It's f*cking hard, like 'Just to Prove a Point,' from the godfather of hip hop, KRS ONE. Knowledge reigns supreme over nearly everybody, but all I know is this might be my favourite track yet. And then it falls apart! They build it up and perfectly tear it down.
By my count, we're at track 6 now.... But they can get pretty wacky and flow into each other. It starts with some more incredible crowd work. Before the song, their road manager drinks a shoey. Guzzles it down like a champ.
"That's a beautiful moment, right there."
This next song is wagging the finger at Jehovah's Witness visits. We get a smattering of that rap flow, melding into some f*cked up conglomerate where hip hop meets punk. It's grimy, with some B-Real dazzle. They hold it and crash, going hard into a Ruthless Randy break-up section. We get some sauciness as JD peels off his struggling shirt, and some crowd work again as he gets us all low. Down, down, dooooown.
Their last song is coming, They're down-tuning. So you know it's gonna be ridinkidonk. We all sort of haphazardly jump at the beginning, and it's going into heavy territory. JD launches himself into the pit for a bit and we get some System of a Down schizophrenia injected into our ear drums. We even get a smattering of double kick. It opens out into a break beat, and the guitar, drums & bass growl in perfect slimy harmony. Some weird Deftones guitarwork, and then my favourite style of breakdown comes to kick our lids in. The syncopated hardcore goodness kind. The kind that has your vagina-eyes shut like a Drake meme, slow nodding in approval. The kind that rejuvenates. The goodies continue until the lights fade.
"One more song," the audience begs. But the gig ends as abruptly as it started. I think it's safe to say that everyone was f*cking pumped! They just need an opening band to hype everyone up, so they can let it all out for the head line. Again, if this is the only negative Nelly thing to say.... Well, you know it's good. The Riot fucking shred.
I thought it would be good to do a low-fi vaporwave aesthetic showreel for y'all . I really want to show you the movement, because The Riot have got stage persona plopping out the wazoo and it brings the article to life.