Last time Night Riots was in town, they played at the incredibly small Griffin bar. Since then, they’ve performed on the Hurley stage, released a new single and music video, and have found themselves touring farther from their home in San Luis Obispo. Thursday night, they found themselves back here in San Diego on the start of a short tour with the Gallery. This time, they were playing at the side stage of the House of Blues.
It was a cold night, both inside and outside of the venue, but that didn’t stop excited fans from arriving early to make sure they got the best spot to see Travis Hawley (vocals), Nick Fotinakes (guitar), Mikel Van Kranenberg (Bass), Matt DePauw (guitar) and Rico Rodrigues (drums). Having a strong rapport everyone who comes to their shows, the band could be seen wandering the venue, enjoying the opening bands and mingling with fans new and old.
The energy in the venue went from 0 to 60 in no time flat, as Night Riots opened the set with their newest single “Remedy.” Met with an impressive applause, soon the voices of the audience were deafened by Hawley’s more than impressive vocals, which sound just as solid as they do on their albums. The set included a full range of their songs, from their time as PK to their newest EP, Young Lore.
The small stage was once again a hindrance. Hawley, who works the stage with the charisma (and even similar dance moves) of Brandon Flowers, seemed limited by space, at one point finding himself stepping on the guitarist’s pedals. But they know how to work with what they’re given. Hawley and DePauw would trade places to switch up synth duties and everyone would close the already small gap between themselves and the audience to make it the most fun and intimate show they could muster.
With the final song of the night being Young Lore, Night Riots ended on the same energy they began with. At this point I found myself conflicted in doing my job taking photos and actually sitting back and enjoying the show. These guys are something special. They play a great show, great music, and are, themselves, great people. It excites me to think of the future for these guys. In all honesty, I believe they can, and will, make it big.