Riot !n Paris epitomize New York City’s underground punk, rock, and rap scene. Oft-traveled, riotous, and enigmatic, they’ve spent the better part of two years working the circuit, tearing down nightlife mainstays like Crash Mansion, Arlene’s Grocery, and the legendary Don Hill’s in the process. A live show perfected, tons of radio-ready records, and a warm and formidable following, the group was wallowing in their success, facing an inevitable destiny.
Elsewhere in music land, a young statesman was beginning a journey of his own. Patrick Stump, lead singer of mega-successful heartthrobs Fall Out Boy, decided to let destiny fulfill itself: already noted as a soulful vocalist, he struck out on his own. With a decidedly different sound, and an intense atmosphere, what awaited him was an unknown reaction. It’s only fitting, that on an unexpectedly serene spring evening, Patrick’s venture into a notoriously fickle nightclub scene paralleled Riot’s upstart into mainstream consciousness. The place, Joe’s Pub; the crowd, eclectic; and the night? Epic.
A raucous crowd packed the cracked New York City pavement well before show time, enjoying the breathtakingly good weather, a welcome break from a harsh winter. An organic, excited backstage atmosphere permeated its way to center stage, and by the time the lights were up, the show was on, and Riot began their set, the feeling in the small club reverb-ed louder than a packed arena. Both groups of performers were in for the times of their lives, with the fans along for the ride.
As Mercy & Pete tore through their set, a new generation of Riot fans were born. Hometown favorites “Brooklyn Bridge” and “Animal House” brought the stage to its knees, while their individual personalities allowed for humor, an innate connection with the audience, and a call-and-response reminiscent of Mick Foley’s cheap heat. An instantaneous Twitter shout led to crowd interaction akin to old-school intimate lounges, and the Riot’s strong New York roots aided in the branching out of a lifetime.
His first gig at Joe’s Pub (despite a year-long insistence from his manager), headliner Patrick Stump came with a vigor of a newcomer, and the presence of an established enigma. Flanked by hometown hero Casey Benjamin on the keyboards, and Mathew Rubano of Taking Back Sunday on bass, Stump ran through the majority of his recently-released EP, Truant Wave. A high-energy performance was a coming out party for Patrick Stump: the star. An unrepentant version of “Spotlight” destroyed any qualms still held by the crowd – this was a show to remember. Unexpected performances of Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” and Cobra Starship’s “Kiss My Ass” captivated the audience for one last time, and a mini-encore left the New York City crowd amped for the rest of the night’s debauchery.
Riot !n Paris – an eternity spent in folklore, finally led to the light; and Patrick Stump, a chip-on-the-shoulder solo shot successfully overlaid by a veneer of authenticity. An intimate venue turned upside down, and a clandestine crowd turned cheerleaders galore.
Only in New York.