It isn’t all too often article’s are written with a tear in the eye, but it is painful to say that this is the task which your humble writer is facing right now. Your humble writer is talking, of course, of the unexpected split of those loveable rogues 3’s A Riot. Joe, Dan, Toby and Dan have decided to go their own ways, leaving, no doubt, an awful lot of fans heart broken, and most certainly giving The Underground the immense privilege of hosting 3’s A Riot’s final gig when they headline the local venue for their EP launch on 22nd March. This EP, ‘Van Gogh’s Ear For Music’, may well go down in local music history as the EP that could have taken the band to much bigger things. 3’s A Riot could well be looked upon as Stoke’s local music sized Stone Roses, who departed when on the cusp of world domination. In saying that, a little hope can be found in the realisation that The Stone Roses did reform…
But alas! 3’s A Riot shall be put to the grave after what will doubtless be up there as one of the gigs of 2013 in Stoke-on-Trent, and most certainly a very emotional evening for many people. I decided, having worked in the local music scene closely enough to be honoured to see both 3’s A Riots growth and demise, that I would take a look back at the band, I kind of ‘This Is Your Life’ you may call it. Only I’m no Eammon Andrews and I have no Red Book to present to the band. Right, 3’s A Riot, this is your life.
On 5th September, 2011, 3’s A Riot announced they were to play their first ever gig, supporting Moral Panics at The Underground on 16th September. The band sold their allocation of tickets for the gig, which was perhaps a sign of things to come for this young trio. The Underground quickly became the hunting ground for 3’s A Riot in 2011, returning again, this time to play with Carnation, 21st October, before heading up the road to The Sugarmill to support good friends The Get Alongs on 25th November. By this point, the band had already been given their ‘Played on BBC Radio’ badge, after being played on BBC Introducing. 3’s A Riot ended 2011, it would seem, on a massive high, after introducing Dan Aydon to the band to play bass guitar, and playing their final gig of the year supporting OK Corral at the bands current ‘home’ venue The Undeground. Before the year ends, the now four piece announce, “First festival booked for next year keep your eyes out for details very soon!” which is soon followed by “We have just confirmed our first gig of 2012 and trust us its a big one !!! more info soon” After letting the world know that the festival they wil be part of is to be Richard Buxton’s Hippy Haze Festival, 3’s A Riot say a fond farewell to 2011 by posting on the bands Facebook page “Well 2011 will be one to remember for us we couldn’t of asked for a better first 4 months and a lot of it is down to all you people who have come and showed your support right from our first gig in September. We can’t thank you enough! Also massive thank you to all the bands who have helped us as well. Now lets go and make 2012 an even bigger year! Have a good night and Happy New Year from all of us!”
A shaky start to 2012 for 3’s A Riot, but not in the way you might be thinking. To celebrate the run up to the Hippy Haze Festival, Hippy Hippy Shake Company owner and festival organiser Richard Buxton is putting on special milkshakes named after the bands participating, and in January the boys get their very own milkshake, which from personal experience I can tell you is actually a very proud moment. After performing to a sell out crowd supporting The Get Alongs at The Underground 20th January, 3’s A riot really are creating some hype for themselves early on in their budding little career, so much so that, after seeing them play, Richard Buxton is feeling very chuffed he has put them on his festival, as he posts on the bands Facebook page “Great night boys! You’ll tear it up at HippyHaze! Rich.” Just five months since they formed, 3’s A Riot excitedly announce their debut headline slot, and of course it had to be at The Underground. 23rd March could not come quick enough for them.
Whilst recording the bands album, they get a cheeky exclusive play on BBC Introducing, with ot Going Home Tonight featuring on the show, and low and behold, they get themselves a mention in The Sentinel as well, just to stroke their ego even more. 3’s A Riot fan Lucee Clarke posts a comment on the band page asking if they have a twitter account, signed with a doting love heart, to which the band reply “No we haven’t, just a Facebook page atm.” The atm at the end sounds rather ominous, and the 151 followers on twitter suggest this soon changed. On March 1st, before they have even played their debut headline, the band announce their second headline slot, this time at NME’s Best Small Venue of the Midlands, The Sugarmill, which is to be 26th May. And as if that isn’t good enough for the band, they also announce that the very night after their headline at the Mill they will be playing at The Cavern in Liverpool. At this point 3’s A Riot must be wondering if they are invincible. And at this point, they probably are.
After a blinding set at the Hippy Haze Festival, where organiser Richard Buxton had to help his security to hold back the barriers during 3’s A Riot’s fierce set (during which front man Joe Tomasso dons a Pete Doherty-esque trilby hat), the bands album ‘Tonight The Sun Comes Up’ gets a review by 6 Towns Radio’s Radical’s Rising, a local music show which had, since January, struggled to make its mark as a local music promoter, but having witnessed the full weekend of the Hippy Haze festival, suddenly found itself gaining the respect of popular local acts such as 3’s A Riot. In the run up to the Sugarmill gig, 3’s A Riot show their ever cheeky side by posting “Fuck your exams! Have a riot instead..” an attitude which does nothing but get their fans dying to see their new favourite local band even more.
The weekend Riot goes down an absolute storm, with the band posting a climatic thank you to all the fans that ventured to The Sugarmill and all the way to Liverpool, “Wow what can we say …. I think this weekend has been amazing thanks to all of you fans who paid to come see us, thanks to Stanways Coaches for such a good trip there and back and thanks to Dan who took so many pictures over this weekend we cant thank you enough … to all you 3’s A Riot fans out there get to Dan’s birthday bash at fat cats next week! Thank you and good night ……One Love!” Fat Cats isn’t quite the gig they were hoping for, and their reputation at the cafe bar is left a little tarnished, but, ever the rock stars, the band are happy to move on the another venue, and head up to Crewe to perform at The Box on Friday 13th July.
After a successful trip to Crewe, Richard Buxton tell 3’s A Riot of his plans to hold back the crowd at his next festival they perform at all by himself, whilst the band themselves let the gig announcements do the talking.
We are honoured to say 3’s A Riot will be playing a free gig on 17th August to entertain thousands of people queuing from Stafford Train Station to the Shuttle Buses taking them to V FESTIVAL! As the que goes through Victoria Park, Stafford ,Q in the Park will be on where we will be playing and hopefully entertaining the thousands who just want to get into V ..
Even if you arnt lucky enough to go to V Fest you can still get in to the gig for free!”
In August 2012, 3’s A Riot roll out new single ‘Lose Control’, recorded at Universal Thrift Club Recording Studios. This song is far more mature than the sounds we are used to as 3’s A Riot fans, but never fear, the raw passion and fierce nature of 3’s A Riot is still very much right there on this biscuit, as Universal Thrift Club would call the song. The end of August see’s the start of a new partnership for 3’s A Riot, with rapper Lance joining them in their Underground slot to perform on the song In The City, which the band will later re-record to fit in Lance’s mesmerising talents. Before even playing a gig, September becomes a very exciting month for the youngsters, finally joining Twitter (yes, so exciting), and topping the Radical’s Rising Hype Chart for the whole month, and 21st September see’s them take to the stage at The Sugarmill to play main support for The Undeground Heroes. These two bands, together with new local outfit and 3’s A Riot friends The Motives, put on a show that will fondly go down as one of the most memorable gigs of 2012.
October see’s Richard Buxton almost eating his own words as 3’s A Riot and their boisterous fans really do Lose Control, but this time Mr Buxton is allowed to enjoy the band’s set a little more than at Hippy Haze, after giving the band a slot later on in the billing, where the electric four-piece jump around the stage fully clad in painter outfits which, supposedly, are meant to be scary. Universal Thrift Club Recording Studios are given the honour of recording In The City with Lance on rappers duty, and the band announce they will be filming a music video for the single at Bad Edit, a new venue to 2012, situated in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, where they will also play an intimate set after filming to thank all the fans who have gone down to take part in the shooting.
2013 opens very impressively for the now highly popular band, with the anticipated release of In The City along with the video, which reaches over 2,000 views in its first month, and the single itself becoming the bands second number one on the Radical’s Rising Hype Chart, also their second in succession. The bands next release from their upcoming EP, ‘You Say It’s Gone, It’s Over, reaches number two on the chart, making them the second most successful band in the chart, falling just short of Six Towns record of three number one tracks.
February see’s the bands friendly and supporting side, as they play support to good friends The Motives at their debut headline gig at Bad Edit on 1st, and two days later, during an interview on Radical’s Rising, Joe Tomasso and Dan Aydon find themselves lost in conversation, talking about Ukrainian cook books and whether they put tomato ketchup in a cupboard or in a fridge. 3’s A Riot’s first headline gig of the year is their first out of town headline, at The Box in Crewe, with fond support from the impressive Neon Rouge, who released their debut EP mid 2012 and quickly found themselves to be gaining quite a reputation within Stoke-on-Trent. 3’s A Riot announce they will be releasing the new EP ‘Van Gogh’s Ear For Music on 22nd March, and state that they can’t release an EP without doing it in style, and will return to the place where it all started, The Underground.
When I asked Hippy Haze organiser, Hippy Hippy Shakes owner, and all round local music guru Richard Buxton how he felt about 3’s A Riot’s split, he had this to say…
“3’s a who? Oh, yeah right! Do you want me to be nice or tell the truth? The truth it is! They’re an average pub pop band. Let’s start with their “joke” of a name….3’s a Riot and there’s 4 of them – oh ha ha ha ha! Pass me a needle and thread, my sides are splitting. Almost single-handedly ruined Hippy Haze with their childish shenanigans! You can tell they’ve known each other since junior school (apart from the old drummer) because I think that’s when most of their songs were written…Lose Control = Lose My Dinner! Then there’s the band members themselves : Tomasso (made up rock star name)…at least he won’t be boring me anymore with his favourite line “We’ve got a bus on!” ; Simcocks…never saw him sober or not being picked up by his constantly embarrassed mum ; Aydon…can you hear that? Yep silence…charisma personified! ; The Old Drummer One…Sweat too much and just a little too old to be hanging with the teenagers – Pervert. Glad they finished so that real talent like Olly Murland can be heard.”
Richard Buxton then went on to clarify his words,
“All of which is of course a lie! I love them all in a completely non-sexual way. They are like the sons I never had…Thompson like a brother I guess. They played for me at both festivals and always performed without demands. I’ll get them back on stage one day!”
After recording the incredible EP Van Gogh’s Ear For Music at their studio, the boys at Universal Thrift Club Recording Studio were shocked by the break up, with Nathan (Naked) stating
“The news of 3’s A Riot’s imminent split came as a huge surprise; particularly as their very exciting new EP Van Gogh’s Ear For Music is just about on its way to be pressed to vinyl. Four superb biscuits which contain some genuinely brilliant moments will leave behind a legacy which many heads will look back on with great fondness. Inside every bag of shite is a sparkle of gold, you can’t keep young raw talent down for long. It’s only a matter of time before these growlers are back, maybe in an even more exciting guise!”
For my own part, after meeting the band for the first time back in April 2012 at the Hippy Haze fest, I have become very close to in particular, Joe Tomasso, but on the whole 3’s A Riot became not just a band to me but four people I came to cal friends. On a music note (pardon the pun) a secret meeting had even taken place between 3’s A Riot and Hype Media, but only the one. I already feel like I miss the band, and I shall, without a doubt, miss playing their songs on Radical’s Rising and seeing them rise up the Hype Chart as they always seem to do. But, as Naked himself said, you can’t keep young raw talent down for long, and I think there is a little bit in all of us that believes the lads from 3’s A Riot will be cropping up somewhere on the local scene sometime soon, and again to entertain us with their ferocious love and passion for their music and their fans combined.
And so there it is, the life of 3’s A Riot, though in all fairness, perhaps cutting a long story short. But the fact remains; this is a band that will be sorely missed by many in Stoke-on-Trent and beyond. Four lads, Joe Tomasso, Dan Thompson, Toby Simcock and Dan Aydon formed a formidable band in 3’s A Riot, and will be leaving behind them a legacy of riots and young fans that simple want to Lose Control. And for all of these people, 3’s A Riot were the band that were right there with them.