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Local four piece Millions opened the night to a half packed Alhambra Lounge with their retro sounding garage pop. Triple J favourite ‘Citrus’ got the ever-growing crowd enthusiastic early on in the set, though attention started to wane towards the end, with crowd chatter dominating between songs. ‘Those Girls’ finished the set off nicely with its catchy bass hook, but for the most part the set was rather same same. Individual songs were enjoyable but a full set from the band was rather bland.

Adelaide’s City Riots were up next, marking a very noticeable difference in energy from Millions. Upbeat and continually encouraging clap-a-longs, City Riots powered through their set confidently. Latest single ‘In My Head’ was a highlight and the set ended magnificently with a guest appearance from Dan James of Drawn from Bees to cover Bruce Sringsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’.

Ball Park Music opened strongly with their single ‘iFly’ which got most of the sold out crowd singing along. There’s really not much left to be said about Ball Park Music. You know straight up that you’ll be walking into a fantastic show, and you’re guaranteed to get exactly that. Sam Cromack is easily one of the best frontmen Brisbane has to offer with his quirky sense of humour (“This next song is by Coldplay, it’s called ‘Clocks’…of course it’s not you fucking idiots”) and crazy stage antics.

They played a perfect mix of old and new from ‘Culture Vultures in the Year 2008’ and ‘All I Want is You’ right through to latest single ‘It’s Nice to be Alive’. The group somehow managed to pull off an awesome no-frills cover of ‘Peaches’ by the Presidents of theUSA. I can’t possibly imagine another band that could have done such a straight forward cover of such a ridiculous (by which I mean ridiculously awesome) song.

As usual, the six-piece played spot on – musically tight and absolutely entertaining and energetic. Ball Park Music are easily one of the most exciting live bands to watch at the moment. They closed their set with crowd favourite ‘Sad Rude Future Dude’, consisting of a great chorus sing-a-long, a second verse reprise and some pretty impressive crowd surfing from Cromack.

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Adelaide quartet City Riots have had a busy couple of years. Now they’re about to do another national tour, this time with local Brisbane band Ball Park Music. Frontman Ricky Kradolfer sat down to chat about touring locally and internationally and fondly reminiscing on times spent with grunge gods the Smashing Pumpkins.

Can you tell us a little bit about how City Riots came together?

My dad used to be a drummer, so we always had musical instruments lying around the house when we were kids. I went from playing saxophone to drums to piano before finally settling on guitar. My brother Dan now plays drums. There was always music being played in the house, but it was when my dad bought me Springsteen’s Born in the USA record that really kicked things off for Dan and I and we soon started jamming every night, pissing off the neighbours and writing songs. We met Matt Stadler (keyboards/guitar) at a local hangout in the west end of Adelaide one night. Matt was impressed with Dan’s – and I quote – ‘hi-hat skills’ after watching a City Riots show. Dan was equally impressed with Matt’s hair and thought Matt should be in a band. Incidentally we needed a keyboard/guitar player. Matt could do neither, but within two days he was sitting in our lounge room learning the song. Three weeks later he was on tour with us. As for Matt Edge, we knew him from Sydney band Traps. When the Smashing Pumpkins tour was offered to us and we needed a bass player, he was the first guy I thought of. He is an incredible songwriter and player in his own right and luckily he said yes to joining the band.

How would you describe your sound?

Guitar driven, indie rock, creating pockets full of pop gems

Who have been your main musical influences in forming the sound of City Riots?

Anything that has great melodies and great hooks. We’re all fans of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Prince , Ryan Adams, My Bloody Valentine, Icehouse, The Smiths, The Cure, The Kinks.

You’re about to embark on a tour with Ball Park Music, what are you looking forward to most?

The best thing about doing a run of dates with another band is the comradery you build with the other band through the tour. We haven’t actually met any of the BPM dudes yet and from some of there videos they seem like a lot of fun, so we really looking forward to hanging with those guys. Perhaps there will be some kind of on-stage collaboration too!

I’ve heard that you played a few shows over in the States recently – what was that like?

We had spent a fair bit of time in the US in the past 3 years or so. We were recently over there at the end of last year to play Filter magazine’s ‘Culture Collide’ festival as well as the CMJ festival and support Boy and Bear. The US is always a lot of fun and the audience really love Australian music and there are always lots of venues to play. Plus, there is also nowhere else in the world where you can order eggs, bacon, tomatoes with a side of waffles, French toast and get a complementary stack of pancakes on the side and receive it all on the same plate.

What was it like to support the Smashing Pumpkins on their most recent Oz tour?

It was one of those tours that went way to quick. We didn’t want it to end. It was a great experience and we learnt a great deal from it. On one hand it was a lot of fun, on the other hand it was like bootcamp. We had toured a lot in the past, but had never seen anything like this. Just the logistics of all the backline and staging alone was mind boggling. As for the shows, it was actually really tough. Pumpkins fans don’t take any shit, and to be honest, when you go to see a seminal bands like the Pumpkins you don’t really give a shit who is the support act. It was a hard, gruelling and amazing experience on how to win over a crowd. We had to work for every clap we got, but 3 or 4 songs in, when people began responding more and more, we knew that what we were doing was working which was a good feeling. We also had the chance to hang out with Billy where I had some of the most interesting and insightful conversations I have ever had, and at other times, the weirdest, intimidating and uncomfortable conversations and situations I have ever experienced. It was one hell of a trip and something we will never forget.

What can the uninitiated expect from a live City Riots Show?

A show full of rocking pop gems that we aim to have you unknowingly singing the next morning while drinking your coffee.

What’s your favourite thing about playing in Brisbane?

The weather is always warmer in Brisbane, so Brissy people are always happy and in the mood to have a good time, which is such a great, infectious vibe and atmosphere to be around. We also get to see our lovely friends in Drawn from Bees, Hungry Kids and John Steel Singers who live up there.

What has been your most memorable moment as a band so far?

Supporting Smashing Pumpkins at the Tivoli in Brisbane. It was the last show of the Pumpkins tour, at such a beautiful venue, we were hitting our tour stride having played quite a few dates in a row. Billy Corgan asked if he could iron his pants in our tiny dressing room and James Hetfield from Metallica said ‘nice set’ then later accidently belted me in the arm when he was air drumming to Bullet With Butterfly Wings.

What does the rest of the year hold for City Riots?

Our new single “In My Head” was just released! It comes with ‘She Never Wants to Dance’ and a previously unreleased track called ‘Stupid Questions’. We’re looking forward to hitting the road and having a blast on and off the stage with Ball Park Music through July before we record a sneaky little track that we’ve recently come up with that we’re excited about which will be on the EP that comes out this October.

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I was on my way home from work this afternoon, stressing. I had no new music for today. I’ll admit, my default was Dum Dum Girls, but my brain just kept telling me they’re not new anymore you idiot, their album has been thrown around the internet for months now. So I was in a slight state of panic. Until a song came on Triple J – and it was one of those songs where you just want to rock out. Nod your head. Dance. Just be like “yes yes yes yes yes”! All at once.

This song was ‘She Never Wants to Dance’ by Adelaide four piece City Riots.  I haven’t actually listened to their other songs yet, it’s just been that one track so far (slack, I know), so I can’t guarantee the quality of the rest of their tunes. But this track was really fantastic. It’s even available for free download from the Triple J site, so get it while you can!

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