Riot -The Official Bootleg Box Set 1976-1980 album review

A live Riot in your home, six times over

Cover art for Riot -The Official Bootleg Box Set 1976-1980 album

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New Yawk hard rawkers Riot were virtually unknown in their hometown but rode the coattails of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal to earn a smidgen of popularity in the UK. They toured here with Sammy Hagar and even managed to snaffle a slot at the very first Castle Donington Monsters Of Rock festival in 1980. That performance is exhumed on one of six live CDs here, the others showcasing gigs at Bristol Colston Hall (with Hagar) and diverse clubs across the USA. The sonics have been mastered from tapes in the collection of the estate of founder member and guitarist, the late Mark Reale. One may well ask the question: why such indulgence for a band that rarely finished above mid-table in the Isthmian League? Riot’s early albums such as Rock City and Narita had a tinny-sounding charm, thanks to their managers’/producers’ day jobs making jingles for commercial radio. And they had a slew of slick songs such as Kick Down The Wall, Tokyo Rose and Road Racin’. But Riot were hardly the mightiest of live acts: dual performances at the Red Foxx club in New Jersey in 1976 have a whiff of shambolicism and are full of cover versions; why, even MOR ‘80 is hardly the stuff of legend. This collection will only appeal to the most rabid Riot fan, a curious creature sometimes spotted in the Madagascan jungle and surely one of the world’s most endangered species.

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.