For the first time since November 2019, the celebrated rock/metal Riot Night returns to Rockbar, Inc. on Oct. 3.
Inspired by the iconic Chicago-based music festival Riot Fest and the emergence of Emo Nite – where DJ’s play early 2000’s emo and pop punk music at a club-like setting – event founder Katia Kianpour wanted to create a fun event that celebrated her favorite styles of music.
“I’m a huge fan of Warped Tour, Riot Fest in Chicago and then Emo Nite was coming up when I was first thinking of doing something like this in Phoenix, I wanted the music to be a little heavier than Emo Nite,” she said.
“I figured since Riot Fest has a lot of different bands, I wanted to combine Emo Nite and Riot Fest and that was where Riot Night came from.”
Kianpour had just celebrated the third anniversary of Riot Night in late 2019 and had already planned another show for February 2020.
Unfortunately, that show had to be postponed to March 2020 and then ultimately canceled when mass gatherings were deemed unsafe because of the pandemic.
“It was sad when we couldn’t throw Riot Night, but I was more concerned about the music industry as a whole when the pandemic happened,” Kianpour said.
Now that she has received the OK to host an event at the Rockbar, Inc., she is excited to celebrate the music she grew up listening to and introduce others to some big names in that style of music.
Riot Night is slated to feature local rockers First and Forever along with popular acts; Cody Quigstad, a guitarist in the Florida-based metal band Wage War; Matty Mullins, the vocalist for the metal band Memphis May Fire; and Craig Owens, the vocalist of the alternative metal bands Chiodos and Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows.
For some of the artists on the bill, like Quigstad, this will be their first Riot Night experience.
“It’s exciting to be in a space where live music is back again and It’ll just be fun to feel the energy of being in a room of people celebrating the music that we grew up on,” said Quigstad, who will be playing a DJ set along with Mullins.
Even though this will be his first time, Quigstad will be guided by someone who is not only a veteran of the event but is also his best friend.
“Cody is my best friend and we live minutes apart from each other,” Said Mullins. “I thought the only thing that could possibly make Riot Night better is to have him there with me doing a DJ set together.”
The two plan to curate a setlist featuring some of the most celebrated songs from artists like Blink-182, Underoath, Hawthorne Heights, My Chemical Romance and Yellowcard.
Quigstad also has plans to treat fans to some new song off his bands new album, which will release the day before the show.
“It’s all about picking the right songs,” Quigstad said. “It’s definitely not something you can do at the last minute. If you want your set to be a good one, it has to be very concentrated and have the dynamics of a regular concert setlist.”
These songs will not only be the cause of celebration among DJ’s and fans alike but will offer a release for both parties.
“When I was young, I had a lot of aggression and emotion and these songs were an outlet to release that,” Mullins said. “Hearing lyrics from someone else who’s going through something that’s similar to what you’re going through makes you realize that you’re not alone.”
“I hope that people can have that release or that moment where they forget about all the pain and darkness that’s going on in the world.” added Quigstad.
It is the emotional release within these songs that adds to the jubilance of the crowd.
“Bringing up these songs that were so impactful for people in such a lighthearted and fun way is a magical experience,” Mullins said. “These were the songs that we grew up on and no matter how old we get and no matter how much our taste changes, these songs will always be a part of who we are as music lovers.”
When Oct. 2 rolls around, Mullins and Quigstad will be fresh off of tours with their respective bands and are excited to play a different type of concert.
“With my band we try to figure out what we think our fans are going to want to hear and try to incorporate songs that we haven’t played in a while,” said Mullins. “With events like this, there’s the same thousand songs that everybody loves that we get to pick between and they always win.”
“A DJ set is just a microphone and a space bar, there is not a whole lot of preparation that goes into it at all,” Mullins added with a laugh.
DJ sets won’t be the only source of noise at Riot Night as Owens will play an acoustic set, in addition to his DJ set.
First and Forever will play a live setlist of covers and original music as well.
“I try to make it dynamic with the DJ sets and the live shows,” Kianpour said.
Kianpour will add to the dynamics of the evening by having the bottom floor of Rockbar, Inc. reserved exclusively for attendees of Riot Night and have an extension into the alley of the space to accommodate guests. The roof of the venue will only be open for other guests who do not wish to attend the event.
Kianpour expects the bottom floor to be rocking from the minute doors open to the moment the show ends.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of drinking, partying, listening to music and having fun,” she said. “It’s also a very intimate space where the artists will be hanging out at any one of these tables.”