Night Rioting in Southampton

The live music tap that fuels me has run dry. I haven’t a gig until March. So here I sit, in front of my laptop screen, reminiscing…

It’s not often that I will watch the first warm up act of the night and be left with my jaw firmly sitting on my chest. I also doubt that I will dedicate a whole post to a warm up band again, but at the Southampton Guildhall back in January, I was left blown away.

Who did the blowing? No innuendos, please. It so happened that I was there for a band called The Hunna- who were amidst their UK tour- but I left loving the fantastic Night Riots. Despite them being on the tour posters and pretty much all of the pre-gig posts, I didn’t take it upon myself to give them a listen. That’s very unlike me; usually I like to turn up prepared. But that really didn’t matter. It meant I had no expectations for what was to come, and who doesn’t love a pleasant surprise?

With four other lads with me, it was too difficult for us all to wriggle to the front, so we settled for a humble spot in the third or fourth row, meaning we still had a pretty decent view. Shrouded by what seemed an excessively big crowd for a warm up band, we watched 5 tall men take their positions on the stage.

Little did I know at the time that The Hunna met these fellas in California, and that they are on their way to becoming a pretty big deal out there. So when they began their set with the sassy “Nothing Personal” from their newest album Lovegloom, I was left amazed, and slightly aroused. Only one of those things are true, you can believe whichever you like…

The quirky quintet continued with a set that was just incredible from start to finish. With stage presence like the great Freddie Mercury, a voice like Brandon Flowers and a shocking haircut Johnny Borrell, the lead singer Travis Hawley had the full package. Together, the whole band reignited a style once so epically reigned by The Killers, and fed it new life to pull off this insane performance that I can’t seem to shut up about.

I could go through and describe song by song, explaining how each made me enjoy the experience more and more, but I’ve heard that’s how you lose your audience. And friends, if you do the same in a conversation, that’s how you lose friends. I learnt that the hard way.

I will, however, describe to you the single most ambitious thing I have- and probably will- ever experience a warm up band try. Within one of their songs, each member ditched their own instruments (apart from the drummer, he stayed sat where he was) and walked to the central platform that drummer Rico Rodriguez was perched. Each of them dismantled a drum. Assuming that they weren’t robbing their own band member, I watched on, curious. Without hesitation, each of the 4 non-drummers then whipped out a set of drum sticks. I have no idea where they pulled them from, and considering they didn’t seem to have pockets I’m not entirely sure I want to know either. Nonetheless, with the flick of a wrist (or wrists, as there was five of them,) the pairs of sticks lit up. Blue, red, green, orange and purple. The room went dark. On a now separated drum kit, a five-man drum solo was commencing. In the dark. With giant glowsticks. How had my night turned to this?

As soon as these guys left the stage, I felt disappointed they were gone. So as an attempt of clinging on to what I had just watched, I went straight on Spotify and added their album to my playlist. Typical millennial I am right?

I have to link it here so you can see that I’m not exaggerating about how unbelievably good Night Riots are, and if you can check them out on Spotify too. Tomorrow’s track of the day is already planned: spoiler alert, its from Lovegloom. You can also catch them on their UK tour in April. I’m going to be there for sure.

night riots band phot

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