The chilled wind in a dark, twinkling city in the Netherlands blows through the population; despite this, a spark of energy flows through the Riovaz’s crowd in The Melkweg. Excited chatter from a large group of young Europeans easily spreads like wildfire, as all are awaiting the main act’s appearance.
A slight “too cool for school” attitude emanates from the crowd, but the kindness of the people around me prove otherwise. Angelica, a Madrid-native studying in Amsterdam, chats with me briefly about her anticipation for the night. But Angelica isn’t the only globetrotter here for Riovaz – many other fans, such as a boy from Belgium detailing his adventure straight from work to the train, found the event worth traveling for. He even kept his sharp work outfit, a white button down, slacks and dress shoes, on for the event, loosening buttons throughout the night to let the air ease the heat of the room.
While Riovaz hasn’t had many live performances under his belt (this tour, called Rio Rave, is his first headline tour), I had the chance to see him open for glaive on the America is a Place That Exists tour in September. However, it’s a very different energy headlining, as well as the indetermined influence of a
more respectful, European crowd. I wasn’t sure how the show would go with these extra considerations, but as a fan of the intense dance beats and cheeky lyrics, I was eager to hear live music regardless.
The show itself, along with the crowd and Riovaz, ended up exceeding my expectations. Knowing his great performance energy, along with the crowd’s enthusiasm for his music, it should be no surprise that a perfect storm was created to push boundaries. Rio was encouraging a bolder, more aggressive
crowd by constantly fueling their energy. His fans quickly caught on to his infectious intensity, dropping any hints of shyness to mosh and dance wildly with friends.
Even without an opening act and a good night sleep, the feverish confidence brought to the stage impressed me. The only signs of his young age and artistry was the presence of other team members on the stage. They helped boost the hype, but also distracted from the main event that Riovaz continuously proves he is. This style is reminiscent of the first time I saw Jack Harlow in 2018 on the Gazebo Tour – looking back, it’s a really cool experience, seeing how he’s leveled up his game in terms of performance and confidence, which other young artists, like Riovaz, have the opportunity and space to do. I can’t wait to watch this growth firsthand, and witness the fever of American dance music build its fanbase globally through stellar artists like Riovaz.