“Are you guys in Bon Jovi?” asked one passerby as I was taking portraits of the brightly clad brothers that make up The Fame Riot on Houston Street. It sure took us all aback to hear that query, but it brought a smile to all those involved as Shazam Watkins quickly took that moment to share some laughs with the curious onlooker. And bringing smiles to people’s faces seems to be all what the Fame Riot is about.
The Fame Riot come at you in a wave of smiles, bright colors, and most of all: a glammy groovy boogie. Brothers Liz Scarlett and Shazam Watkins brought all of that and more to the Mercury Lounge last week as they ended their most recent tour in support of their new EP, Heart Stray.
From the beginning you get a sense for the glam rock vibe that is steeped in Bowie and his disciples. Scarlett brings a raucous revved up guitar while Watkins hits the keys as the two come together in a sound that is infectious and wholly danceable. Joining the band on this tour was new drummer, Rodney Van Mitchell, who has only been with them for about a month, but you’d never know with how seamlessly he fits in with the band.
The crowd seemed a little apprehensive at first as people were still shuffling in for the early show at Mercury, but once Liz Scarlett jumped into their midst, causing a lot of “OH MY!” faces, they filled up and packed into the front as if being drawn in by the Pied Piper.
Watkins and Scarlett truly enjoy themselves on stage, even as they shed their wildly expressive clothes till it gets to the point that they’re both just left wearing their tights and rolling around on the stage. Their songs are full of joyous beats and choruses, even when singing about love lost. Their music compels your legs to move faster and faster as the guitars squelch and the drums pound away.
And as I hear the words “I try to be better” echo out of their mouths, all I can think is, “I cannot wait to hear and see how much better they’ll be next time they’re in town.”
Article: Omar Kasrawi