SUNSET RIOT GATHER THE FAITHFUL DOWN UNDER
Show Date: November 2, 2012
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Venue: Cavern Club
Band Websites: www.sunsetriot.com – www.facebook.com/sunsetriot
I took my brother along for his first look at Sunset Riot, at a venue that had treated us well many times for live rock n roll.
The less said about the first band the better, although I did hear during the night that the singer was sick but battled on valiantly. I was thinking perhaps he should have cut his losses and stayed in bed!
The atmosphere was very casual and when Cherry Grind took the stage it seemed like it was going to be a quiet slow night at the Cavern Club.Cherry Grind had other ideas however and they had brought a contingent of followers who were determined to have a good time. The band’s version of rock ‘n’ roll was a very ’80s good time vibe, and soon the crowd thickened and moved to the front. The band was on song from the start and the atmosphere was there. Good musicianship and a setlist of faced paced tracks with big choruses had us rapt throughout the hour. A party vibe had spread through the audience and it fed back to the stage where the band finished with a rocking version of AC/DC‘s “Whole Lotta Rosie”. They had us all swaying and singing/croaking along and of the first three bands Cherry Grind were definitely the most fun.
Leading off from this came Laced In Lust. Not having heard them before, and judging by the name, I was expecting sleazy ’80s glam metal, but what I got instead was punch you in the face straight up heavy metal! The riffs were catchy and I was enjoying this immensely. The band was tight, the singer was a double of Hanoi Rock‘s Michael Monroe and they were very fast paced and heavy — just the way I like it. The party was in full swing by now and I was head-banging to my hearts content. Laced In Lust were in a groove and never missed a beat. My favorite of the first three opening bands — although Cherry Grind were the most fun, party style — Laced In Lust‘s style of metal just did it for me.
The headliners finally appeared and man was I pumped. After seeing Sunset Riot just two months before in their first ever performance in my State I was already hooked! I met the singer after that show and the guys are just so down to earth and genuine. These long haired rockers looked the part and launched into the best local Australian gig I have seen since Airbourne — yes they were that good!
Opening with “Save Me From LA”, suddenly there was no one at the bar as all eyes were on the ‘Riot. Their professionalism impressed me greatly and the whole set was a killer, track after track. Their onstage antics were a lot of fun to watch as classic rock ‘n’ roll came to life. The vocalist, Del Rio, can swoon a ballad and smash out fast paced rock tunes without a miss, and the whole set flowed effortlessly from tune to tune. Ziggy Scott, on rhythm guitar, was the back-up vocalist and the chemistry of the rhythm section had all feet moving. Ziggy‘s combination with Del Rio helped deliver hooky choruses that had everyone chanting and singing along with a lot of fist-pumping crowd participation.
Musically they were exactly what I had hoped for and my younger brother, who loved Cherry Grind but struggled with the metal ferocity of Laced In Lust, admitted he was simply amazed by Sunset Riot‘s performance.
A couple of new tracks followed “Save Me From LA” and the fun factor was growing. They were fast rockers and lead guitarist JP was relishing the moment. The solos blended brilliantly with the songs and it seemed that the tunes were written purely to entertain a live audience. As active as Del Rio was on vocals, bassist Simo was in his own world, dancing with energy that enthused us all. His timing with drummer Resh (who I chatted to before the show and got his name wrong by calling him ‘Rezz’!) moved our feet involuntarily and was a major part of the fun factor.
“Mama Said”, from the band’s latest album ‘Uprising’, was next and that was the shirt I had chosen to wear that night! Every time the chorus came I spun around with my back to the band and pointed to the word’s ‘Sunset Riot — Mama Said’ on my shirt. Ziggy and Del Rio both picked up on his and pointed me out with a big grin — I was on cloud nine.
“Trash vs Class” from their first EP came next, followed by “Red Leather”, then Moonshine from the debut EP again. All are great tracks, and “Red Leather” in particular was a crowd favorite, with a lot of back-up singing by all in the club. “Rain” was belted out next followed by a new track and then the highlight of the set, and the night, “Red Ferrari”. By this time Del Rio was singing a verse from behind the audience as he ran up and down on top of the length of the bar!
I didn’t think Sunset Riot could add to the brilliance of the performance so far, but “Red Ferrari” took my breath away. I moved next to Ace, a long time friend and supporter of the band, and both clad in the exact same ‘Riot gear’, we belted out the song in joyous unison. A lot of fists were in the air, and people screaming out the chorus were a lot of fun to see — and as much as I enjoyed the previous two bands it was obvious who the crowd were here to see. Sunset Riot could obviously feel this too as they launched into a slightly slower paced new track “Lady”. None of us had heard this before but the chorus was so easy and catchy we were soon singing along. This tune has got to be a seller — with its fantastic riff and booming ’80s style chorus it was a pleasure to be a part of it.
Another ripper from ‘Uprising’ followed and then a cover. Billy Idol‘s “Rebel Yell” was performed with gusto and we were amazed. How can so many songs keep us enrapt for so long? Great crowd participation again led us into the final song of the night and one of my all time ‘Riot’ faves… “Rattlesnake”. As soon as the opening riff was blasted out by JP a cheer went up which turned into a dancing, shaking frenzy and the band was simply on fire. A masterpiece on drums by Resh, accompanied by a still partying Simo with a mid song drum and bass duet had us cheering again. Del Rio was somewhere in the crowd again and sprinted back onstage to finish “Rattlesnake” to rapturous applause.
This gig was incredible fun. I was on a high as I high-fived and shook hands with band members to thank them for their efforts. My brother called me a Sunset Riot groupie and the enjoyment they gave us certainly made me feel like one. The band couldn’t get enough of the fans and made themselves available for a meet and greet after the show, and my feedback to them was my heartfelt thanks.
After a long tour through the US just shortly before, to come back from Sydney to our State for a small venue gig was very much appreciated, and definitely enjoyed. The show was a perfect 10 from someone who is a fan, but my brother concurred… Sunset Riot are a blast! If you missed LA’s Sunset Strip at its heyday in the ’80s, these guys will bring it to you — and I guarantee you will love it!