Quieter riot

Chilled and groovy: Clap Clap Riot, from left Tristan Colenso, Stephen Heard and Dave Rowlands PICTURE: JEREMY TOTH

Despite the name, don’t expect an unruly performance from Clap Clap Riot as they hit Queenstown tonight.

Bass player Tristan Colenso says the set will be more of a chilled and groovy affair but they will still bring the energy.

He met fellow band members Dave Rowlands (guitarist) and Stephen Heard (vocals) at high school and started playing the Christchurch music circuit as Band Theft Auto.

After a couple of years a change was needed.

Colenso: “We felt like the old name didn’t really suit what we were doing. The music changed and matured, we thought it was a bit childish for the music we were writing.

“Basically we were in a rehearsal room one evening playing with a bunch of words on a white board and those three words came about.”

Down the track they realised they weren’t the only ones who thought it was good word placement.

The original United Kingdom Top of the Pops television programme used an applause machine named ‘clap clap riot’.

Over the years the band has grown and it’s now a five-piece, with Alex Freer on drums and Anthony Metcalf on piano, keyboard and guitar.

It’s hard to describe musical genre and Colenso says it’s a media question he always tries to avoid.

When probed, he labels it as modern ’60s indie pop and rock with dreamy, reverby guitars.

“We never sat down and said ‘hey, we want to sound like this band’. We all have our influences and we get together to make music. And those influences will come out and that’s what creates our sound.”

Those influences include The Beatles, The Kinks and Brit punk band The Clash — musicians he started listening to as a teenager and their impact stuck.

The gig, at The Sherwood, will be dialled back slightly, due to the logistics of the venue. Colenso’s excited to play and says the audience is in for a good night of music.

The band, now based in Auckland, hasn’t played Queenstown during recent tours. He puts it down to a lack of demand for original music in some venues but thinks it’s changing.

A date was added to this New Zealand-wide tour after requests from locals.

As a southerner, Colenso’s always happy to play the South Island, even though he has acclimatised to Auckland’s balmy temperatures.

“Whenever I go to the South Island now it is always a bit of a shock to the body.”

They are joined by fellow Auckland band Racing, described as a hypnotic-rock band known for their explosive live shows.


Clap Clap Riot and Racing play The Sherwood tonight, 9pm. Tickets $15. R18