On a chilly Tuesday, as some people entered Bottom Lounge for daily drink and dinner specials, a line of people that stretched down more than a block eagerly waited for a night of dancing featuring Charming Liars and Night Riots. But most of them were there for electronic/synth duo known as Blaqk Audio. There would be no moshing or head banging tonight; everyone just wanted to dance.
First up was LA based rock band Charming Liars, who tried to get the crowd pumped up for the rest of the show. They received a warm response from the crowd as they played “Naked,” “Outta My Head,” and “Closer.” Singer Kiliyan Maguire did his best to engage the crowd by signaling hand claps and encouraging a sing-along during “Wild.” It didn’t exactly work, but Maguire remained upbeat and kept up the energy. Their set ended with their most recent single “Burn,” which got the biggest response as Maguire did his best sexy rockstar impression filled with hair flips and duck lips.
When Travis Hawley, singer of Night Riots, slithered on stage the screams were so piercing you almost thought it was a 5 Seconds of Summer concert. But it makes sense; Hawley and crew commanded the stage with their playful, yet sensual behavior. During such songs “Oh My Heart,” “Back to Your Love,” “Break” and “Follow You” Hawley flaunted in front of the crowd, reaching out for hands, and out stretched his arms soaking up all the love in the room. The fusion of synthpop, electronic, and rock makes their songs fun and irresistible. The band had plenty of fans in the crowd, but by the end of the night they won over just about everybody. Hawley proved to be hypnotizing with a Lestat vibe that was completed with his puffy shirt. The way he teased both the crowd and the band made him the most charismatic guy in the room. As they ended with “Contagious” it became clear everybody was hooked on Night Riots.
But nobody received bigger screams than Jade Puget and Davey Havok otherwise known as Blaqk Audio. They skipped pleasantries and launched straight into fan favorite “Again, Again and Again.” The crowd danced and screamed under the flashing lights as Havok twirled and wiggled across stage. And the fans ate up every minute of it. They played the best tracks from their new album Material, like “Anointed,” “Waiting to Be Told,” and “First to Love,” but they pulled out plenty of what are now considered classics from their 2007 debut including “Stiff Kittens,” “Cities of Night,” and “Between Breaths (An XX Perspective).” They even played “Faith Healer” and “Say Red” from their second album. No matter what song they played, the crowd sang out every word eliminating the need for Havok to induce sing-alongs. While Puget played it cool behind Mac computers, Havok captivated the crowd. His trance inducing movements, hip shaking, and sassy voguing riled up the crowd and proved Havok to be an energetic frontman. Blaqk Audio ended their set with a cover of Erasure’s “A Little Respect,” which needs to be officially recorded and the super upbeat “Semiotic Love,” which found Havok waving during the line “Just say/goodbye.”
Even though all the bands did a great job on stage, the most memorable acts were Night Riots and Blaqk Audio. Both groups illuminated the venue with their intense vibe and playful singers. Davey Havok brought his upbeat nature and energy from AFI and applied to the group’s electronic/dance set. Travis Hawley was so hypnotizing it’s as if he put the crowd under his spell. Both bands were confident on stage, even with the occasional technical mishap, and basked in the audience adulation. These are two can’t miss bands, so make sure you see them in these intimate venues before they start taking over stadiums.