With riotous intent

High 5 Riot brings “Urban Chaos” to Gilly’s

By Mike Ritchie

Photo: High 5 Riot will perform on April 25 at Gilly’s

A riot is thought of as a bad thing – images of violence and chaos, rampaging pillagers running through the streets and flamed Molotov bottles flying through the air are just a few of the images that come to mind.

Musically speaking, however, a riot can be a good thing. Though the members of High 5 Riot may have to loot and plunder their own minds and instruments, shattering speakers is much easier than shattering glass to get what they want.

The five members have strived to find their niche in the Dayton scene from former bands. The first glowing ember started at Gilly’s in 2014 when Ashley Stacy (formerly of Gathering Mercury) and The Broken Lights’ Andy Uzzel were sharing a bill. Both felt unsatisfied with their current projects, they wanted to expand their horizons. They later shared a conversation of playing together sometime – which led to an acoustic team show that would give the riot its first legs.

The flames had to be stoked the right way to find the other pieces needed for their crowd to assemble. Lead guitarist Austin Labig, drummer Sean McGrath and former McGuffy’s regulars In the Cut’s Aaron Noble all heard the siren call.

Though all members have presumably walked the streets non-violently, only demonstrating on stage, they share a united kinship for quality music and a constant evolving future.

Their influences read like a multi-genre award show, listing Lady Gaga, Cher, Pink, Paul Stanley, Taylor Swift, Madonna, Blink-182, U2, Dave Matthews and Dream Theater among their picks. Each has inspired their rock-pop-punk sound and added a touch of influence on their debut EP Crowd Control with three new tunes being finished up for the upcoming “Urban Chaos” show at Gilly’s.

The next goal is to have five new songs studio-ready in June for their second EP coming this fall. The world may never see a H5R concept record or double LP taking a unique, somewhat unheard of approach to keeping interest and new material flowing they are committed to producing EPs only.

“As an unsigned band I can’t foresee there being a full-length album because I believe so strongly in not taking too long to get stuff out for people to listen to,” Stacy explains. “I would rather keep making five-song EPs that people can look forward to more frequently than to take two to three years and have people lose interest.

“Doing EPs gives listeners a chance to get to know your music without getting overwhelmed, because probably more than half of the time, if you are a smaller-scale unsigned band, they aren’t going to listen to all of them and the songs they skip could very well be the best ones. I like to make sure, before putting ANYTHING out that it is listenable and catchy.”

And the process of crafting those songs is a group effort.

“The songwriting process varies for each song,” Stacy continues. “I don’t believe the song is complete until every member has heard it and added to it. We give suggestions about each other’s parts, so we work well together when writing.”

While the Riot’s history is still young, they have carved a local, extended following at The Old Yellow Cab Building, Cincinnati’s Mad Frog, Hara Arena’s roller derby and Therapy Café with more shows forthcoming.

For friends and fans of their former bands, those who have seen H5R and for all newcomers, you can expect to see not just a band, but a performance.

“We believe very strongly that there is a difference between being a musician and being a performer,” Stacy says. “When people go out to shows you want to create a moment with them, you want them to leave there with a great experience and a desire to come back tomorrow. Stage presence is one of the most important elements in any show.”

Stacy says she has had a vast exposure to music and a wide range of influences since childhood.

“Personally, who I look up to has changed over the years. When I was young my parents always played music in the car and in the house. They introduced me to the greats like Queen, Billy Joel, Janis Joplin and Kiss. When I was young I loved Avril Lavigne. She was the one who really inspired me to pick up a guitar and do what I do today, then along came Pink, but both of those influences have faded, but I still respect them for being a piece of the puzzle that made me who I am today.”

But ultimately, the focus is on where this young band can go, and the legacy it can leave behind.

“I want to be remembered for performance and songwriting,” she says. “Those things mean so much to me.”

High 5 Riot will perform on Saturday, April 25 at Gilly’s, 132 S. Jefferson St. Kelly Crank Band, Red Stone Souls and You VS. Yesterday are also on the bill. For more information, please visit high5riot.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at MikeRitchie@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mike Ritchie at MikeRitchie@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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