Night Riots _ Bottom of the Hill -4Last week, Night Riots brought their first headlining tour of the year to Bottom of The Hill in San Francisco, with support from The Epilogues, Ghost Parade, and Kiven. Night Riots have come a long way from humble beginnings as a high school garage band under the name “PK” from small-town Templeton, California. After a short break, a name change, and a new crowd-funded EP, they are back and better than ever.

With the recent success of their Indiegogo campaign funding last year’s debut EP, Young Lore, the band has made great strides as a DIY act managing, promoting, and booking all of their tour dates themselves. Night Riots have had videos featured on Fuse, MTV, and Rolling Stone, and all of this dedication and hard work definitely shows in their live set. Their musical style has progressed, but their stage presence and crowd interactions remain the same: exciting and engaging.

Night Riots _ Bottom of the Hill -8Night Riots took to the stage with a vibrant light setup and fog machine, setting a tone for the rest of their set as they began to play Young Lore’s title track, “Back To Your Love.” While many today would place Night Riots in a smooth, easy-listening alternative rock category, they dove back into their punk rock roots with an energy that got the crowd dancing. They worked through Young Lore, including their MTV debut track “Spiders,” which had the crowd singing along, arms in the air. Guitarists Matt DePauw and Nick Fotinakes, and bassist Mikel Van Kranenburg edged closer to the lip of the stage. Before transitioning into their older PK tunes, singer Travis Hawley introduced a new song, “Contagious,” which received the same lively crowd reaction.

Night Riots _ Bottom of the Hill -5Night Riots played songs from Lost Boy Sessions, an EP they released as PK back in 2012. The crowd sang along to “Some Nights” and “Chase The Sky,” their popular Fuse-featured track, as well as their older songs “London” and “1920” from the 2010 PK full-length release, Into The Roaring. Despite some technical issues with an acoustic guitar, their new adaptation of “1920” was a hit. Hawley began alone with a clean electric guitar, then the rest of the band joined in, in a powerful unison after the first chorus.

At the end of their set, Night Riots left the stage thanking the audience and joking with them, laughing at their own unconvincing “surprise” encore as they performed their popular song “Berelain.” By the night’s close, Night Riots proved that operating as a DIY band is in no way a setback; it will be interesting to see what they have in store for the rest of 2014.

Night Riots _ Bottom of the Hill -6Article by Atreyue Ryken
Images courtesy of Richard Fusillo Photography

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