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Night Riots return to San Diego

Considered by MTV as one of the “most critically overlooked bands,” Night Riots are making their ways onto many people’s radar. I got to chat with vocalist Travis Hawley and guitarist Nick Fotinakes about touring, their latest music video and what the future holds for the Central California boys.

Night Riots live at the House of Blues-slide0
Photo: Lauren Wilson

Night Riots have had an incredibly busy year, and their hard work is paying off. With a set on SXSW, a show opening for Saosin at the Fox Theatre, and a new music video on MTV, it seems the guys are picking up fans with every move they make. However, anyone who has glanced at their Facebook page could tell that they seem to always be on the move, stopping only briefly at their home town of Templeton, before they hit the road again. While it could be emotionally and physically draining for many, the guys seem to feel differently.

“For me at least when we go home its always a bit more awkward, cuz we have to reintegrate into home life,” Hawley explains. Fontinakes adds, “Alot of us are like that. We tend to prefer to be on the road.”

As their tours go on, Night Riots is getting the opportunity to play bigger shows at bigger venues, and even taking residency at LA’s Hemingways for the month of August. I asked if the band catered their shows differently to these larger events as opposed to the smaller venues. Fotinakes explains, “Sometimes. Not really in the sense that we’ll play completely different stuff. In a case like that (Saosin show) where they may not know us as well, we have a bit more room to be creative. You know if you’re playing to people that you know, you kind of have to play some songs that they would recognize or fan favorites but with that we have the freedom to play newer stuff and experiment with songs that we haven’t really played that much. Its fun to throw that into shows.”

Night Riots’ newest music video for “Back to Your Love,” was released recently and has even gotten attention by MTV. Set in San Bernadino’s Carosel Mall, the video features Hawley roaming through the empty halls and dancing a Mia Wallace mannequin that eventualy springs to life. Fun, and beautifully shot, Hawley describes it as a “snapshot of a time and a place.” He adds, “For us when it comes to making videos, we would rather have it be no beginning and no end. No resolution.”

Night Riots’ summer tour brought them for the first time to the main stage of the House of Blues as the supporting band for Wild Cub. It was great to finally see the band on a stage more their size, as the guys weren’t too crowded and Travis had room to move around. While a good majority of the people in attendance there to see Wild Cub (who would later be bobbing their heads to the music), there were still a good number of people I saw sporting their shirts and making the way to the front as soon as the band opened. With only a quick 7 or 8 song set, the band opened the night with “Remedy,” off of their Young Lore EP. Throughout the set, the band went back to their days as PK (before they changed their name), much to the appeal of their long time fans. Near the end of the set, the band played a stripped down version of “Spiders” and ended with PK single and fan favorite, “Berelain.”

The boys continue to tour up and down the west coast, but that doesn’t mean no new music. In fact, Hawley mentioned that Night Riots are close to finishing another EP which they are hoping to release by October. Between playing shows, the boys make their way to LA for some recording and have to juggle their time accordingly to fit all the demands. If you havent had a listen to their EP, Young Lore, check it out now and catch Night Riots on their never ending tour.

And for those on the east coast, the boys haven’t forgot about you. When it comes to a tour, Fotinakes mentions that “Everything’s up in the air but hopefully we’ll get to the east coast too. Wed love to if we can make it happen.”

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