At just a shade under 20, Wilson High School alumni Riot In Rhythm are doing some pretty big things.
The four-piece band with members ranging in age from 18 to 19, graduated high school last year and are on the verge of making their local success known to the nation.
Starting with a performance next month at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival in New York, where the band’s music video for their song “What I’ve Become” is also being screened, Riot and Rhythm also have a six-week summer tour lined up with a yet-to-be-revealed national band, as well as plans for a reality television gig.
“At this point, we’re just trying as hard as we can to make it (to New York),” said front man Ben Smith, two days after a fundraising show at Seattle’s Club Motor for the band’s travel expenses.
In addition to the upcoming screening and Performance at the Buffalo Niagara Festival,
“What I’ve Become” was also selected to air at On Location: Memphis International Film and Music Festival and Downtown Boca Film Festival, exposing the boys to audiences world wide.
“We’ve got their stuff being spattered all over the place right now,” said David DeLay, co-manager for the band. DeLay got involved with Riot In Rhythm at one of their earlier shows at Studio 7 in Seattle when he was representing for another band. DeLay expected the group of 17-year-olds to be a cringe-worthy performance.
What he saw was quite the opposite.
“I thought, ‘17-year-olds? This is going to be a disaster.’ But I saw them play, and I was literally blown away. They put on a better show than the band I was representing at the time.”
Over the last few years, the band’s infectious live performances, coupled with increasing technical abilities, have gained them attention from big names in music, according to DeLay.
“I’ve played their stuff for a lot of people in the industry and it’s very hard to get people to believe they’re 18.
“Their potential is limitless because they are so technically good.”
Musical influences for the band, which includes Smith, lead guitarist Alex Critchlow, bassist Christon Casper and drummer Jerad Lewis, are all over the map. But they come together in a common love for the grungy roots of the Pacific Northwest and create a cohesive hard-rock feel that incorporates a variety of stylistic undertones.
“It’s not just rock, it’s not just metal. We have a lot of blues – we have a lot of funk. You can dance to our music and headbang at the same time,” Smith said.
“It’s kind of a confused rock and roll,” Lewis added.
The dance-ability provides uniqueness to Riot In Rhythm that means they can appeal to a wider audience than just their moshpit-loving peers, which is exactly what they want.
“We write because it’s what we feel, and it’s what we like,” Critchlow said. “And we want to appeal to all audiences.”
After the Buffalo performance, the band will prepare for its first national tour that will be filmed for a television pilot. If that goes well, DeLay said the options are there for a European tour and television contract for a full-fledged reality show spot on a major music channel.
“We have tons of stuff on the burners,” Smith said of the seemingly endless plans on the horizon. “But the more stuff we stack up, the more that’s still going to be standing when it all blows over.”
Whatever the case may be, they boys are just happy to be making music.
“We don’t care if we get rich or not,” Critchlow said.
“Music is just what we love to do,” added Lewis.
Riot In Rhythm’s next local show is April 22 at Studio 7 in Seattle with Taproot. Find more information about upcoming performances, music video and full-length album “Vicious Circle” on Facebook.com/riotinrhythm, Myspace.com/riotinrhythm, Twitter and iTunes.