Riddlin’ for the kiddies

ST. PETERSBURG — The State Theatre was filled with young punk rockers Saturday Night waiting for an opportunity to get slammed in a mosh pit and model their tattered, old-school Converse shoes. A colorful crowd turned up for the show, sporting mostly fun, bright band T-shirts. Putting on a concert for high school freshmen and college freshmen alike, the Riddlin’ Kids simply wanted their fans to have fun.

“My goal is for kids to walk away from our show feeling better than how they came in,” said Clint Baker, the guitarist and lead singer for the Riddlin’ Kids. “We try to rock out as hard as we can so that the kids will have fun.”

The Riddlin’ Kids’ stop in St. Pete was in the middle of their first headlining tour. The band has previously performed with Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, New Found Glory, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Ataris, as well as selected Warped Tour dates.

“The only difference about headlining is we get to play for an hour instead of 30 minutes,” Baker said.

For Saturday’s show, the Riddlin’ Kids brought along support bands that agreed with its idea of entertainment. Trouble Is, Don’t Look Down and Allister warmed up the crowd for the Kids. Troubled Is wound up the crowd with their fun-loving and slightly immature lyrics, along with their on-stage antics of jumping off the speakers. Don’t Look Down followed and ignited the first genuine mosh pit of the night.

Allister took the stage with three lead singers and a nearly-naked drummer with blue boxer shorts that read “100% Bitch.” But the band’s appearance was not the only thing that carried its weight. The music was well known by the audience, including a cover of “Sedated” by the Ramones. A member of Allister even convinced the mosh pit to engage in its own violent form of Red Rover, Red Rover, the famous childhood recess activity.

Following the sound checks, the lights soon dimmed on the stage and the Riddlin’ Kids emerged. The crowd began to cheer with their first glimpse of Clint, Dustin, Dave and Mark.

“You want to help me sing?” Baker asked into his microphone. Baker enticed the crowd to sing along, jump around and simply enjoy themselves.

After playing their radio single, “I Feel Fine,” their hour was nearly over. Someone then screamed out, “End of the World!”

“You asked for it,” Baker replied, and invited an audience member on stage.

“It’s The End of the World As We Know It,” the famous R.E.M. single, appears as the last song on their full-length debut, Hurry Up and Wait. The audience member joined the band on stage and sung along to the infamous fast-paced, tongue-tying lyrics, succeeding nearly flawlessly.

The song brought the house down. Wallflowers emerged from their seats to join the full circle pit nearly 20 feet in diameter. The Riddlin’ Kids ended their first headlining tour in St. Pete on a terrific note by managing to get the entire room to jump off the walls for five straight minutes.

After their set, the Riddlin’ Kids emerged from the humble backstage area the State Theatre offers and mingled with their awaiting fans. The night ended with mingling, picture taking and autograph signing. Baker defined The Riddlin’ Kids’ fans as fun, crazy and thoughtful.

“We’ve had people that wanted us to sign their butt cheeks before — that’s pretty stupid,” Baker said.

“But a few days ago this girl in Fort Lauderdale brought us a bag, and it had toothbrushes, a can of Campbell’s soup, some apples, a bunch of homemade cookies, (a pack of) cards, just this random stuff. And we’ve had a bunch of other kids do that, like two girls in Boulder. We just think that’s really cool. These kids go out of their way for us.”

Contact Andrea Papadopoulos at oracletunes@yahoo.com