Live Review: THE RIOT

12 September 2022 | 8:31 am | Aidan Williams

Gold Coast trio THE RIOT blur lines between genres at BIGSOUND 2022.

(Pic by loganjfoto)


Flash showers bathed Fortitude Valley early Wednesday afternoon. Water rushed through BIGSOUND, racing along footpaths and flowing down the hills and out of gutters. Punters from all walks were taking refuge from the rain throughout the day amongst one another, and down the Valley’s hill, all genres culminated at The Prince Consort’s courtyard on Wednesday night.

Touring off the back of their latest released single PISSED, THE RIOT members Tyler Vivian (guitar and vocals) Scotty McGregor (drums) and frontman Emanuel Opadiya (vocals) took centre stage in a heaving courtyard at The Consort’s outside stage, accompanied by new face in the band, ‘Jake’ (bass).

After meeting in an incidental encounter, scaling a fence after being rejected entry to a Gold Coast venue for not fitting the dress code, THE RIOT has arrived to mutate and splice genre labels and disrupt Australia’s music ecology.

Signing to Island Records in early 2020, the group is fast becoming one of the most exciting up-and-coming Australian bands on the touring circuit. Filling band rooms up and down the east coast, you can only anticipate when this three piece from the Gold Coast will graduate to larger stages and bigger band rooms.

Blending elements of punk, hip hop, hardcore, reggae, and everything in between, the group are a consortium of sounds and influences. “Don’t believe the hype, just come to a RIOT show,” frontman Opadiya (or better known as JD) lectured the feverish crowd tonight – and I couldn’t agree more. 

The Consort’s standing room quickly filled between songs and lifted as the set built with intensity and the crowd is a veritable hodge-podge of punter tribes. Ranging from a couple of hip hop heads wearing Prada shades and supreme t-shirts, to crusty denim cloaked punks, to gym bros fresh out of their cologne baths and everything in between – the crowd much like the band’s sound is a blend of influences that just works. 

The gig opens with guitarist Tyler Vivian walking to the mic to ask the crowd, “What the bloody fuck is going on here?”, while wildly eyeballing the crowd with a collection of beer bottles building at his feet and looking on the verge of a game of ‘knifey spoony’ before thrashing some punk riffs out. 

JD oozes frenzying energy and utilises the stage (and the pit) like a prop to guide you through the band's setlist.

Leading out from a smooth funky jam, the pace changes once again when over the mic JD says, “I'm feeling a little pissed off today,” before leading into the band's recently released single PISSED. With chugging and fast-paced riffs from Vivian and pacy frantic beats made for a mosh from McGregor, PISSED brings punchy aggression to perfectly nest JD’s seething lyrics calling out “pretenders” or “hangers on”. 

Not out of place with the tone of the group, ‘Jake’ walks the measure of the stage, rooster strutting back and forth all while looking like he wouldn’t be out of place in any early 2000s metal line-up. Sporting a black vest, a well-kept beard, and black sunglasses while he clamps a green pick between a cheeky grin.

The RIOT’s setlist is like driving a car, dropping the clutch and shifting from first to fifth, then shifting from fifth to second. The pace is frenetic and energetic and jack-knifes between pacy punk riffs, frenzied hardcore drumming, to soulful R&B harmonies, to reggae funk jams, all while keeping together cohesively.  

There’s a fever pitch in the crowd, with the collection of unique punters sharing a uniform head nod and feeling as if they’re building to a mosh - but sadly, the 30-minute set queues its final song and leaves the audience catching their breath and hungry for more.

As the frantic performance comes to a close, JD says, “I told you we’re degenerates I wasn’t lying,” and like a universal trigger, a mulleted punter materialises front and centre to exhale a billow of smoke as the band closes the set out with Same Blunt

The band said Same Blunt was written in a “spontaneous fury”, coming together in a single day over ‘cheap beers and weed’. Opening with Vivian’s throttling punk riff before JD’s lyrics carry through the perils of groupthink and the way “immoral institutions can disempower individual thinking,” the band warps from sharp reggae-laced raps to hysterical punk bars all with a constant pace. 

As a collective groan reaches over the hungry crowd for the end of a punchy 30-minute show, JD drops the mic, and jumps the stage joining the frantic masses for a dance in the pit for the final riffs.

The RIOT are a Jackson Pollock of acts, where a chaos of energy and distinctive influences overlap and blend into one another, and though hard to define by genre, it’s easy to consider the group as one to watch. 

This feature has been published as part of The Music Writer’s Lab initiative, developed between MusicNT and Australia Council of The Arts. For more information, visit