“Freaking Out” was The Solid Ocean’s breakout hit of the evening, and also their most recent release. It opens with summery, undeniably happy instrumentals that contrast with its more uncertain sounding lyrics. This comes as a reflection of their creative process, which coincides with “trying to make their way through life as young adults in a crazy world.”
Silent Rival took the stage next, and cranked up the volume several notches with their set. “Die A Little” opened the rest of their recently released debut record, The Kindness of Strangers. The track carries a powerful mantra, indicative of a consistent theme throughout the rest of the record. The music from one song to another, however, was enjoyably less predictable. “Freedom” carries hints of country with prominent harmonies sans twangy guitars. Conversely, “The Only God Is In The Wild” is structured around a much more poppy, bubbling riff. Bassist Yutaka Sao and frontwoman Sara Coda commanded attention effortlessly. Even on a small stage, they performed with enough energy to entertain a much larger crowd.
Before going onstage, Night Riots filled Hodi’s with a magnetic energy. An overhead buzz preceded their arrival, mirroring the anticipation that built up during the previous openers. They emerged from a curtain of fog with a confidence that could fill much larger venues, fresh off of a tour opening for Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness with Atlas Genius.
The close atmosphere amplified and endeared their performance idiosyncrasies. After their opening song “All For You,” the audience was polled to see how many people had seen them at The Black Sheep in Colorado Springs the day before. Dozens of audiences members shouted their happy reply. Outside their own discography, Night Riots covered “Billie Jean” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”
The latter provided a perfect transition into their darker underlying sound. While Night Riots rooted in punk, pop is also a consistent descriptor. Various adjectives such as “gloomy” and “gothic” have also been attached to their sound, and Love Gloom is actually the title of their newest album. Those two words encapsulate what was the essence of their show; a juxtaposition. Lyrics outlining grief and adversity were punctuated with lighter notes of glowing pumpkin props and light up drumsticks.
After the show, all members stayed to talk to fans, sign merchandise, and take pictures, with a long trip back to California ahead of them. After a brief break, they will be with All Time Low for two Houston dates on June 30th and July 1st. Their next string of shows will be all the way across the Atlantic starting September 10th, in support of The Maine, along with The Technicolors. Keep up with band here.
All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.