Entries tagged with: Riot Fest
by Andrew Sacher
Snoop Dogg at Riot Fest Denver 2015 (photo by @shaybird303)
Day 1, Day 2, and then finally Riot Fest Denver 2015 wrapped up with its third and final day on Sunday (8/30). Like the past two days, it was stacked from start to finish with never more than a 15-minute period where there wasn't a good band playing. I only caught partial sets from Explosions in the Sky and The Lawrence Arms due to overlaps with other bands, but what I did see of both sounded great. 7Seconds were terrific (more on them in a second), but after that band into OFF! into Millencolin I was a little burnt out on three-chord punk, so Nada Surf coming on next was a very welcome change of pace. The biggest surprise of the day was how undeniably fun Flogging Molly's set was.
All that and more made Sunday an awesome ending to the festival, but here's the five highlights that stood out most:
7SECONDS: It's an amazing thing how many OG hardcore bands are still going strong, and 7Seconds are no exception. Kevin Seconds, Steve Youth & crew stay true to the mentality they had over three decades ago on "Young 'Til I Die" -- they're loud, fast, and absolutely still young in spirit. Kevin introduced their cover of Sham 69's "If the Kids Are United" by saying "I'm 54 but I'm still a kid... well, sometimes" and even when they played stuff off last year's Leave A Light On they sounded as powerful as their classic era. And we got plenty from that era too. "You Lose," "Not Just Boys Fun," "Here's Your Warning," "Walk Together, Rock Together" and more were played, and they sounded tight as ever. The early crowd who came ready for a 1:45 PM mosh pit would probably agree.
BABES IN TOYLAND: Minneapolis grunge vets Babes In Toyland were one of the reunited bands on Riot Fest this year, and they made a very triumphant return. They're without bassist Maureen Herman, who was just fired mid-tour and they now have a younger bassist who kinda stands off to the side and lets Kat Bjelland and Lori Barbero do their thing, but that didn't hinder their set. Kat and Lori are in killer form in just about every way. As musicians, they're never not pounding away at their instruments, and they can both still scream their heads off. Too many survivors of the early grunge era have lost whatever once made them "alternative," but not Babes In Toyland. Feedback, noise and a genuine punk ferocity were all over this set. Their tour hits NYC in September.
BEACH SLANG: Beach Slang's debut album on Polyvinyl is imminent, and they continue to prove it's one to look out for. We got two songs from it at their Riot Fest set, lead single "Bad Art + Weirdo Ideas" that most of the crowd already knew every word to (it came out less than a month ago) and another that hasn't been released yet. Both were as anthemic and impossibly tight as Beach Slang's slightly older favorites like "Filthy Luck" and "Dirty Cigarettes." Like they did in Brooklyn last month, they included a cover of Jawbreaker's "Bad Scene, Everyone's Fault," which they pull off super well.
L7: Yet another reunited and still-awesome band on this year's lineup was L7. While Babes In Toyland were noisy and confrontational, L7 were rockstars. They cracked jokes between songs (one of which involved bassist Jennifer Finch giving the crowd her actual phone number), yelled "Hit it, Dee!" before "Fast and Frightening," and made rocker poses as much as Anthrax and Testament did on day one. They looked glad to be back, and the crowd was definitely glad to have them too. Fans were roaring in between and during songs, and the whole middle of the crowd was just a sea of pumping fists. They'll also be in NYC on their tour in September.
SNOOP DOGG: Snoop Dogg was billed to be playing his classic debut Doggystyle in full, and well... he didn't. Kind of a bummer, but he was still an amazing way to end the weekend. He did play some of Doggystyle -- "Gin & Juice," "Lodi Dodi," "Pump Pump," "Serial Killa," "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)," and "Ain't No Fun (If The Homies Can't Have None)" -- and included other classic Dre collaborations "Nothing but a "G" Thang" and "The Next Episode." It was way better than his set at Firefly that I caught earlier this summer, but I still think he has no reason to include things like Katy Perry's "California Gurls," House of Pain's "Jump Around" and Joan Jett/The Arrows' "I Love Rock and Roll" when he could, you know, play Snoop Dogg songs. But all that aside, the amount of classic Snoop we did get at this show was something to be grateful for and he was on fire for all of it.
by Andrew Sacher
GWAR @ Riot Fest Denver 8/29/2015 (photo by @ultra5280)
Riot Fest Denver 2015 began on Friday (review, video) and continued Saturday (8/29) with another load of great bands. Actually, they started a few hours earlier this time and had even more great bands, so picking highlights for day 2 was even harder. Run DMC sounded great from what I saw, but I didn't catch enough of them to really write about it. It was nice to see The Damned still doing their thing but given the vibe of the festival I wish they did more fast songs. The heightened crowd reactions for "Anti-Pope" and "Neat Neat Neat" seemed to agree.
Once again, there were so many great sets on Saturday, but here's six highlights:
GWAR: I admit that I'd never seen GWAR before, and it's sad that I didn't get to until after frontman Oderus Urungus died of an overdose in 2014. So I can't compare their Riot Fest set to how it was with Oderus, but I do know they were massively fun. They were as hilarious and shocking as I hoped they'd be. There was of course a beheading, blood sprayed onto the crowd constantly, and the storyline of this one had them bringing out (and killing) "The Internet Troll." It was one of the shorter sets of the day, but totally awesome.
JOYCE MANOR: Most of Riot Fest's highlights have been veteran bands, but Joyce Manor is the kind of band I hope one day returns to Riot Fest as a veteran. They very much come from this same world -- singer Barry Johnson talked about seeing Rancid for his first time as a teenager -- but they truly feel like a modern band. As they usually do, they stacked their set with the majority of their first and third albums and had the whole crowd bouncing around and loving every second. Joyce Manor played the festival's one indoor stage, which was the perfect fit for them. They'd probably be fine on a big outdoor stage too, but taking a break from the sunlight to see these guys up close and personal in the dark was one of the day's best moments.
DESAPARECIDOS: Conor Oberst's having a killer year with the loooong-awaited sophomore album from Desparecidos, easily his best work in a decade. I saw them celebrate the album in New York in a tiny sweaty DIY spot, which felt like the best possible setting for them, but it's no surprise that they have command over a festival crowd too. And at a festival where populist punk bands tend to get the best reactions, Desaparecidos basically have the perfect sound. It's undeniably catchy and cathartic, and it's not quite like any other band on the lineup.
THRICE: Not much has changed about Thrice's set since their great Skate & Surf appearance in May (except we thankfully got "Under A Killing Moon" this time), but it's worth mentioning again how tight these guys are. I don't nerd out over skill level too often, but it's impossible to watch Thrice and not notice how much every member excels at what they do. Whether it's a thrash-inspired song from their early days or a sludgier one from later on, Thrice are heavy as all hell. And it's not like their musicianship is the only draw here. They rock the fuck out and their screaming crowd is an inspiring thing to watch every time.
DRIVE LIKE JEHU: Since they haven't announced a tour yet, one of the big draws of Riot Fest (and a few other festivals this year) was the reunited post-hardcore band Drive Like Jehu. Rick Froberg and John Reis have stayed in active in their many other bands over the years, but these were DLJ's first shows since the mid-'90s and it's great to have them back. Unlike some of their other projects, Drive Like Jehu pay no attention to the structure of a pop song, but here we got to see them zoning out on dissonant jams in a way they don't do so much anymore. Admittedly, they really aren't much of a festival act and I wish they'd bring this tour to small clubs instead of giant outdoor stages. But still a treat to see this band back in action, regardless.
RANCID: Rancid are celebrating the 20th anniversary of ...And Out Come the Wolves this year by playing it in full, and at their Riot Fest set the band ripped through its 19 songs with little to no pause in between. It's not possible for me to be at all unbiased or critical when it comes to ...And Out Come the Wolves. It was a foundational album for me, one that shaped the way I absorbed and thought about and understood punk. I had it in my CD player alarm clock for almost a year straight as a teenager, and even if I don't wake up to "Maxwell can't tell he's in hell!" anymore, it still gets a few spins every year. And at Riot Fest I saw the whole thing come alive. The bass solo in "Maxwell Murder," the raging chorus of "Roots Radicals," the skank-inspiring "Old Friend," the iconic "Ruby Soho." All of it played with exactly the kind of spirit you want out of a great punk rock show. Strangers sang in the faces of other strangers, fists were raised, and almost no one was standing still. Lars Frederiksen took a moment to give a shout out to Motorhead (who had to drop off the fest a day earlier) and dedicate a song to Lemmy. And seeing as they were playing ...And Out Come the Wolves on the night of a supermoon, he asked the crowd to howl at the moon for Lemmy.
After AOCTW they played a four-song encore that included the title track off last year's Honor Is All We Know, their massive hit "Fall Back Down" and two rippers off AOCTW's predecessor, Let's Go: "Tenderloin" and "Radio."
by Andrew Sacher
The best thing we saw on Day 1 of the 2015 fest...
photo via BrooklynVegan Instagram
Riot Fest Denver kicked off yesterday (8/28) at its new location of the National Western Complex, which (as the mechanical bull and scent in the air reminded you) is usually home to rodeo shows. It's across five stages, one of which is indoors, and also offers carnival rides, Colorado-specific treats like Chronic Candy (though I was told that's only hemp) and more. Like most festivals, it had newer, buzzy bands who played great sets like Speedy Ortiz, Cayetana and The Hotelier, but for me at least, the real highlights were the masses of classic artists we got to see. (Unfortunately one of those, Motorhead, had to drop off at the last minute due to Lemmy's breathing issues. He cut a show short a day earlier in Salt Lake City for the same reason.)
There was a lot to love about Riot Fest Denver day 1, but here's five highlights:
THE GET UP KIDS: It's The Get Up Kids' 20th anniversary, and they don't seem shy about the fact that everyone's favorite songs were written in the '90s because that was mostly what we got. "Holiday," "Action and Action," "Valentine," "Red Letter Day," "Ten Minutes," "Don't Hate Me" and more were played from their classic period and it was a singalong the whole time. The Get Up Kids may have taken an extended period off from being a band, but you'd never know it at this point. They're super tight, they look like they're having a ball on stage, and the crowd is eager to have as much fun as the band is. Their Riot Fest set got off to a rocky start due to sound issues, but it quickly became one of the best sets I saw all day.
TESTAMENT: Of everything I saw, the band who truly got the daytime crowd going wild was '80s-era thrash legends Testament. The pit was going so hard that if you were anywhere near the front you were getting dust in your eyes, and the band delivered expertly. Every extended scream, every guitar solo -- they were flawless. Testament were always smiling, always engaging the crowd, but never at the expense of delivering intense music. People talk a lot about the decreasing interest for rock on major festivals, but between Testament and Anthrax (who took the same stage right after them), fests may just need more classic metal bands.
IGGY POP: Is there anyone as ageless as Iggy Pop? With classic albums dating back to the '60s, he's one of the few people you could safely credit with inventing punk rock, and he hasn't lost that spirit one bit. He runs around stage like he's half his actual age, and genuinely seems like he's giving us every ounce of energy in his body. We got so many favorites -- "No Fun," "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "The Passenger," "Lust For Life," "1969" -- and they all sounded exactly like you'd hope they would. The fact that we get to experience Iggy in full force all these decades later is truly an amazing thing.
ICE CUBE: It's pretty safe to say it's the year of NWA. There's a hit biopic in theaters, the soundtrack to which is Dr. Dre's first album since the '90s, and talk of the groundbreaking rap group is just in the air. So it was perfect timing for Ice Cube to reunite with his old groupmates MC Ren and DJ Yella (like he did at the BET Experience in June) for "Straight Outta Compton," "Fuck Tha Police," "Dopeman" and more classic jams. Sadly (like at the BET Experience) Dr. Dre did not come out, and neither did their pal Snoop Dogg (who did join the group at the BET Experience and plays Riot Fest on Sunday), but it was still a surreal experience to see those three on stage together. And they sounded as fanastic as you'd want. The partial NWA reunion was the real draw, but even when Ice Cube dove into his solo career ("Check Yo Self," "Natural Born Killaz," etc) he made it feel like the G-Funk era was alive and well.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN: Look, when System of a Down were added to Riot Fest, I thought people were going to think it was lame. I mean this is a festival that sold tickets because people wanted to see Iggy Pop, Pixies, The Damned, American Nightmare, Swervedriver and 7 Seconds. These people don't like System of a Down. But not only was I wrong, they had the biggest and wildest crowd of the day. It makes sense that of all the bands to come out of early 2000s nu-metal, System of a Down would work so well at what's largely a punk festival. Most of that stuff was deservedly laughed at by cynics, but SOAD were different. They were weird, and they were way closer to a hardcore band than a pop band. If Refused never broke up, those two might've toured together. And that came across in full force on Friday night. Thousands of people were raging to this band who were playing the weirdest songs that anyone played all day. It was a strange, awesome experience.
Video of Ice Cube, MC Ren & DJ Yella playing "Straight Outta Compton" and more pictures below...
photo: Iggy Pop in Austin in 2013 (more by Greg Cristman)
photo: Death Grips at FYF Fest 2013 (more by Wei Shi)
First Toronto, then Chicago, now here's the 2015 Riot Fest Denver additions: System of a Down, The Prodigy, 88 Fingers Louie, Chef'Special, Input & Broken, and... Death Grips whose current tour surprisingly includes actual shows being played!
The additions join Modest Mouse, Pixies, Snoop Dogg (playing Doggystyle), Ice Cube (playing Straight Outta Compton remix), Rancid (playing ...And Out Come the Wolves), Iggy Pop, Run DMC, Motorhead, Drive Like Jehu, L7, Explosions in The Sky, Thrice, Babes In Toyland, Anthrax, Testament, The Damned, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, GZA, De La Soul, Desaparecidos, Nada Surf, The Lawrence Arms, The Get Up Kids, The Vandals, American Nightmare, Joyce Manor, 7 Seconds and more.
Riot Fest Denver happens August 28-30 at the Western Rodeo Complex. Tickets are still available. Updated poster and lineup below...
They join Faith No More, Iggy Pop, Snoop Dogg (performing Doggystyle), Modest Mouse, No Doubt, Rancid (performing ...And Out Come the Wolves), Tenacious D, BIlly Idol, Ice Cube (performing Straight Outta Compton remix(, Drive Like Jehu, Lifetime, Desaparecidos, American Nightmare, Swervedriver, Babes In Toyland, L7, The Damned, Death, Anthrax, Modern Life Is War, The Movielife, and more.
Riot Fest Chicago goes down September 11-13 in Douglas Park. Tickets are still available. Updated lineup below.
Update: Denver additions announced too.
photo: Weezer at Bowery Ballroom in 2014 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
The blanks have been filled in for the Riot Fest Toronto 2015 lineup. Most excitingly, Weezer is playing their two best albums (Blue Album and Pinkerton), and in addition to that, there's The Prodigy, Cancer Bats, Bleachers, Courage My Love and Ritual.
The new additions join Wu-Tang Clan, Rancid (performing ...And Out Come the Wolves), Motorhead (who announced a tour today), Echo & the Bunnymen, Thrice, Babes In Toyland, GWAR, Against Me!, Thurston Moore, and more. This year's Riot Fest Toronto happens September 19-20 in Downsview Park.
Tickets are back on sale. Updated poster below.
UPDATE: More artists added.
First Toronto, then Denver, now the Riot Fest Chicago 2015 lineup is announced. It includes Faith No More, Iggy Pop, Snoop Dogg (performing Doggystyle), Modest Mouse, No Doubt, Rancid (performing ...And Out Come the Wolves), Tenacious D, Billy Idol, Ice Cube (performing Straight Outta Compton remix), Alkaline Trio, Taking Back Sunday, Drive Like Jehu, Merle Haggard, Lifetime, Desaparecidos, American Nightmare, Swervedriver, Babes In Toyland, L7, Thrice, The Lawrence Arms, The Dwarves (performing Blood, Guts and Pussy), Jimmy Cliff, The Damned, Against Me!, Living Colour, Fishbone, Death, Hum, GWAR, Civ, The Thurston Moore Band, Echo & the Bunnymen, Anthrax, Modern Life Is War, The Movielife, FIDLAR, Andrew WK, Steve Ignorant & Paranoid Visions, Alvvays, Speedy Ortiz, Beach Slang, Tommy Stinson and many more, plus a few more TBA.
Tickets are on sale now. This year happens at the new location of Douglas Park from September 11-13. All currently announced artists are listed below...
UPDATE: More artists added.
We just posted the Riot Fest Toronto lineup, and here's the Riot Fest Denver 2015 lineup: Modest Mouse, Pixies, Snoop Dogg (playing Doggystyle), Iggy Pop, Tenacious D, Ice Cube & special guests (playing Straight Outta Compton remix), Run DMC, Rancid (playing ...And Out Come the Wolves), Motorhead, Drive Like Jehu, L7, Explosions in the Sky, Cypress Hill, Alkaline Trio, Thrice, Babes In Toyland, Anthrax, The Damned, Eagles of Death Metal, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, GZA, De La Soul, Testament, Desaparecidos, Nada Surf, The Lawrence Arms, Andrew WK, GWAR, The Black Lips, The Dead Milkmen, The Get Up Kids, American Nightmare, Swervedriver, The Vandals, 7 Seconds, Joyce Manor, OFF!, Speedy Ortiz, Beach Slang and many more. A few more bands, including two headliners, TBA.
Tickets are on early bird sale now. This year, the fest happens at the new location of Western Rodeo Complex from August 28-30.
UPDATE: Chicago announced too.
All currently announced Denver bands are listed below...
UPDATE: More artists added.
Riot Fest Toronto returns in 2015 from September 19-20 in Downsview Park, and today the initial lineup has been announced. There's Wu-Tang Clan, Rancid (performing ...And Out Come the Wolves), Motorhead, Drive Like Jehu, Echo & the Bunnymen, Thrice, Alexisonfire, Eagles of Death Metal, Against Me!, Babes In Toyland, GWAR, The Thurston Moore Band, DOA, The Dead Milkmen, Moneen, Atmosphere, Doomtree, Andrew WK, FIDLAR, Tyler the Creator, and many more. Two of the headliners are TBA, one of which is performing an album in full, and a few other bands will be added too.
Tickets go on sale June 16, the same day that the full lineup will be announced.
All currently announced Toronto bands are listed below...
Chicago has been announced for a while, but now we know for sure that Riot Fest will be back in Denver and Toronto this year too. Stay tuned for more info and lineup announcements.
photos by James Richards IV, words by Zach Pollack & Milos Markicevic
Mineral / Patti Smith / Superchunk
Riot Fest Chicago wrapped up this past Sunday (9/14) with sets from The Cure, Weezer (playing Blue Album), Primus, Social Distortion, Cheap Trick (playing Heaven Tonight), Patti Smith, Mudhoney, Hot Snakes, Mineral, Lucero, Naked Raygun (playing Throb Throb), La Dispute, Superchunk, The Hold Steady, Kurt Vile, Bouncing Souls, The Front Bottoms, The Menzingers and many more.
I arrived at the final day of the festival to find New Jersey punk heroes The Bouncing Souls already on the Roots Stage, and NJ folk punks The Front Bottoms getting set to perform on the Rebel Stage. Having seen the former a few times, I went for the latter band and heard "Flashlight" as I approached the stage. Their early afternoon-yet-rabid crowd screamed the lyrics along to the song's stop-start chorus. The tongue-in-cheek Talon of the Hawk opener "Au Revoir (Adios)" came next, followed by mix of songs from that album and their 2011 self-titled LP. --ZP
Kurt Vile & The Violators were the next band I caught, over at the Riot Stage. Given that Sunday beared even better weather than Saturday had, opening with "Wakin on a Pretty Day" was an apt choice in full sun. The Violators proceeded to deliver a low-key and enjoyable set that touched on Wakin on a Pretty Daze, Smoke Ring for My Halo, and Childish Prodigy. After a bit of KV and co., I headed over to the Rebel Stage to catch The Hold Steady. The NYC crew kicked things off with "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You" from this year's Teeth Dreams, followed by the Boys and Girls in America favorite "Stuck Between Stations." The band flew by their usual M.O. -- flexing some muscle without coming off as too cheesy -- while pulling out tunes from their back catalog. --ZP
Next I went to catch Superchunk, and I arrived at the Riot Stage a bit prior to their set. In the meantime, I caught the last few songs of Billy Bragg's performance on the nearby Roots Stage. Before playing "The Milkman of Human Kindness," Bragg shared that he's out to become "the Pete Seegar of punk" and hopes to be performing into his 90s. He turned "There Is Power in a Union" into a sing-along and finished off with "A New England." Superchunk began with the No Pocky for Kitty tune "Cast Iron," followed by the one-two punch of "Digging For Something" and "FOH." It was back to No Pocky... for "Punch Me Harder," and then Mac asked the crowd to sing along during "Learned To Surf." "I'm gonna need you to repeat after me, in the age-old tradition of repeating after people on stage, he quipped. Their 11-song set came to a close with "Slack Motherfucker" into "Precision Auto." --ZP
Michigan post-hardcore crew La Dispute were up next at the far-from-everything Rock Stage. The four-piece were heavy on this year's great Rooms of the House, and began their 10-song set with "HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956," "Stay Happy There," and "First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice" from the LP falling within the first five they played. Their meditative grooves quickly won over the large crowd they had gathered at the stage. My next target after La Dispute was the Rise Stage, where whiskey-soaked Memphis crew Lucero would soon begin their late afternoon set. I only stuck around for a few songs, but I got to hear some of my favorites from the start, including "On My Way Downtown" into "Nights Like These." --ZP
La Dispute's crowd
After Lucero, it was back over to the Rock Stage for reunited Austin emo band Mineral. The band quietly took the stage and delivered an excellent set that was split evenly between their 1997 debut The Power of Failing and 1998's EndSerenading. Highlights included their heavier moments found within the brief "Five, Eight, & Ten," "For Ivadell," and "Gloria," and also the more subdued offerings like "Love Letter Typewriter." Mineral were one of the best emo bands out there, and it's great to see them return sounding great. --ZP
One of my most anticipated sets of the three-day fest was Patti Smith's 6PM performance on the Riot Stage. Patti was born in Chicago not all that far from the stage she occupied, and spoke about coming to the park with her mother as a very young child. She and her band opened with "Dancing Barefoot" into the Horses tune "Redondo Beach." A cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" came next, followed by "Pissing in a River." Along with a select few others, Patti Smith fully embodies the spirit of Riot Fest. --ZP
While Zach was over at Patti Smith on the Riot Stage, I was at the Rise Stage for Mudhoney. The grunge grandfathers ripped through their set and barely stopped to catch their breath. Drummer Dan Peters was a beast on drums throughout the set, and at one point the band even made way for a brief drum solo, bringing in the fuzz at the climax. You would think Mark Arm's vocal style would have wrecked his pipes after all these years but the guy sounded just as good as he did on the band's debut album. The definite highlight of set was the band's classic "Touch Me I'm Sick" which left everyone floored. --MM
If Patti Smith carries the ethos of Riot Fest, then Primus serve to represent the festival's large carnival presence. Les Claypool was transfixed on the ferris wheel he faced from the stage and spoke at length about how beautiful it was and how lucky they were to be performing near it. He later prompted guitarist Larry LaLonde to do a solo inspired by the wheel. Unlike when I saw them in 2013, Primus shed their jammy approach of late for the tighter feel of their early material. This shift was aided by stand-in timekeeper Danny Carey, who delivered a fast-handed, rigid performance. The trio opened with the Sailing the Seas of Cheese cut "Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers," followed by the driving LP number "Here Come the Bastards." The tweaky Brown Album song "Over the Falls" was also played, as well as more favorites like "My Name Is Mud," and set endcap "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver." --ZP
Weezer were one of the albums billed to play a classic album (The Blue Album), but first they warmed up with some of their more recent singles, steadily going back in time with each song. The band played "Pork and Beans," "Beverly Hills," "Island In The Sun," "Hash Pipe," "El Scorcho" and others before getting to 1994, the year of The Blue Album. Everything prior to The Blue Album's performance felt like filler as everyone, including myself, sang along to every Blue Album song, most loudly to "Buddy Holly" which some fans begged to be played again. Weezer performed flawlessly while their stage lights bathed everyone in blue light, keeping in theme of the album's color. It was amazing seeing the band perform The Blue Album-- one of my favorite 90s albums-- in its entirety. I only wish they could've squeezed in Pinkerton right after. --MM
photos by James Richards IV, words by Zach Pollack & Milos Markicevic
The Flaming Lips / Afghan Whigs / mohawks
Riot Fest Chicago kicked off this past Friday (9/12) in Humboldt Park and continued the following day with Samhain (playing Initium) (video below), The National, The Flaming Lips, Descendents (playing Milo Goes to College), The Get Up Kids (playing Something to Write Home About), The Afghan Whigs, Television, Buzzcocks, Samiam, Wavves and many more. Pictures of the second day, and Milos and Zach's reviews, are in this post.
I skipped the rainy first day of Riot Fest and waded through the muddy aftermath to The Dandy Warhols perform at the Riot Stage. Getting there early I used the extra time attempting (and failing) to clean my sneakers, which had accumulated enough mud under the soles to make them look like brown platform shoes. The Dandys hit the stage on time and managed to squeeze in a good variety of their hits in the short 45 minute set time, including "I Love You," "We Used To Be Friends," "Bohemian Like You," and "Boys Better." The sound was a bit off the first couple of songs, possibly having something to do with Courtney Taylor's dual mic setup. But overall the set was excellent and managed to distract me from the sinking feeling under my shoes. The band seemed to enjoy themselves, especially keyboardist Zia McCabe who danced like a hippy while playing her Korg synth and tambourine. I spotted her again later in the day rocking out among the audience during the Die Antwoord set. Overall my only complaint was that Dandy's set felt criminally short and left me craving more. --MM
I started off day 2 of the festival by catching NYC punk legends Television's late afternoon set on the Rise Stage. They delivered almost all of their classic Marquee Moon (3/4 of their current lineup recorded the LP), complete with its signature paranoid feel and fantastic interlocking guitar work. Though they don't play all that many shows these days, the band were way on at the fest and came off sounding just as powerful as their recordings. After watching a large part of their set, I headed over to the Riot Stage for something very different: Die Antwoord.
The South African rave rappers began their performance by piping a highly-effected "DJ Hi-Tek Rulez" over the sound system, which includes the hook "DJ Hi-Tek will fuck you in the ass." Their subsequent set followed suit, with more ridiculous and highly danceable songs. During what I stuck around for, rapper Ninja mooned the crowd multiple times and did some serious stage hopping with Yo-Landi Vi$$er. We then broke for food prior to The Afghan Whigs' set on the nearby Roots Stage. --ZP
The crowd waiting for the Whigs couldn't have been more different than the one we had left. Older and somber, they occasionally took furrowed glances at Die Antwoord's stage in manner similar to a disgruntled parent. The Afghan Whigs finally hit the stage at 4:15 sharp and the crowd erupted with a mix of excitement and relief. Greg Dulli and the band were dressed in the debonair style that they're known for and reached deep into their back log, pulling out favorites like "Debonair" from their classic Gentleman album (which they're reissuing this year). The band flat out rocked and Duli even slammed his own drum near the end of the set. It was a real pleasure seeing these guys fully back in action. --MM
After Afghan Whigs, we headed to the smaller Revolt Stage to catch Buffalo, NY punk pop trio Lemuria. The three-piece delivered a mix of tunes from last year's The Distance Is So Big and its predecessors with a ton of energy. The humble crowd they gathered seemed to eat it up too. Highlights included the driving "Clay Baby" and grungy "Brilliant Dancer." After a handful of songs from Lemuria, we headed over to the already-packed Roots Stage where Wu-Tang Clan would soon be playing.
The Wu entered with their classic party-starter "Bring Da Ruckus," followed by the majority of 36 Chambers. Standout moments from their overall fun set included the RZA-led "The Mystery Of Chessboxin'," "Protect Ya Neck," and the classic "C.R.E.A.M." RZA also gave Syl Johnson a big shout out while talking about influential Chicago artists. --ZP
The Flaming Lips were our next mark, who were to take the Roots Stage after Wu-Tang. Wayne Coyne and co. began their sprawling trip-out with "The Abandoned Hospital Ship" followed by "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1." The band had an elaborate, hanging fiber-optic setup and a stage-spanning screen with visuals behind them. When combined (most often with a tunnel-looking rainbow video), the backgrounds and fiber-optics worked extremely well together. There were also various blowup mascots on stage throughout their set, like a sun, mushrooms, a creepy butterfly, etc. with people inside animating them. While attempting a confetti cannon shot during "The Abandoned Hospital Ship," The Flaming Lips blew the power on the Roots Stage. The confetti still shot off, and it was a bit sad for a few minutes while they assessed the situation. They did manage to come back strong, yet Coyne still seemed understandably deflated. This didn't stop him from putting on a great show though, and he channeled some of that weirdness into an excellent performance of The Terror standout "Look...The Sun Is Rising." The uplifting "Do You Realize??" came next, followed by their incredibly warped cover of The Beatles classic "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." The verses remain fairly intact, but the chorus is shopped with doom-ridden explosions throughout. It's a really interesting take on the song, and I'm curious to see what the recording will be like. --ZP
The National were a bit delayed due to a border crossing mishap in Ottawa, so The Flaming Lips were given a bit more time. When they did arrive, Matt Berninger first joked that he was busy checking his email before actually explaining what happened. The National proceeded to give us a mostly late-period headlining set that featured songs from Trouble Will Find Me and High Violet. That's not to say their older material was completely ignored. " They capped off their characteristically great show with "Fake Empire" into "Mr. November," and finished with "Terrible Love." --ZP
photos by James Richards IV, words by Zach Pollack
Jane's Addiction / GWAR fans / Title Fight
Riot Fest Chicago is currently underway at Chicago's beautiful Humboldt Park. It kicked off on Friday (9/12) and that first day was plagued by light to heavy rains that pretty much continued from doors until the headliners. But the weather didn't seem to slow down the bands or the audience much at all, and it was an opening day with something for everyone. On the heavier end, there was American thrash kings Slayer performing Reign In Blood in its entirety, resilient interplanetary scumdogs Gwar, and Mastodon; classic punks Stiff Little Fingers and ALL; alternative rock flag bearers Jane's Addiction; anthemic and melodic punks The Offspring (performing Smash), Gogol Bordello, The Hotelier, Pity Sex, and Title Fight; the excellent Pussy Riot -- Discussion Panel; and much more packed in there.
We began day 1 of Riot Fest Chicago by catching Boston-based melodic punks Somos at the Revolt Stage -- one of the festival's two smaller setups. The four-piece drew a decent crowd with their punchy output, including the especially catchy "Dead Wrong" and "Lives of Others" from their 2014 debut Temple of Plenty. Title Fight were up next, over at the larger Roots Stage. The Pennsylvania-based road dogs impressed with tunes from their debut LP, huge-sounding 2012 album Floral Green, and their many EPs. They got the crowd moving with the Hot Water Music-like "Secret Society," and kept the momentum up throughout their set, which closed with the thrashy "27." After the combination attack opening of "Numb, But I Still Feel It," "Shed," and "Like a Ritual," the band brought things down a bit with the great Floral Green shoegaze number "Head in the Ceiling Fan."
GWAR have a hell of a lot to be proud of, and not just the troves of blood-caked fans who were easy to spot throughout the park for the remainder of the day. The Oderus-less (RIP) outfit are indeed back in fine form, with a thrilling new stage show in Dave Brockie's honor. The interplanetary warriors delivered seven-songs (or acts) throughout their set, each coming from a different album. Bloody Pit of Horror's "Hail, Genocide!" was the absolute highlight, with blood baths both by way of a rotating circular saw and vocalist Blothar (aka Michael Bishop, formerly Beefcake the Mighty)'s chest. Yummy.
Taking things down a notch from GWAR were Worcester, MA's The Hotelier, who we caught next on the Revolt Stage. Christian Holden and his band gave 110% while delivering nearly all of their anthemic second album Home, Like Noplace Is There. The packed crowd braced along with Holden and co. for the multiple cathartic full-band crashes, as well as the din of the album's more subdued and vocal-only moments. After a few tunes, Holden seemed as if he couldn't help but to share that this was the largest crowd that had ever paid attention to the band at once. He also had his bass turned waaaay up, which cranked up the intensity for punchy numbers like "The Scope of All of This Rebuilding" and "In Framing."
We then headed over to the one-day Riot Fest Speaks stage to watch a bit of the Pussy Riot Discussion Panel go down. The Henry Rollins-moderated panel consisted of Pussy Riot/Zona Prava members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina, with guests Greg Graffin (Bad Religion), Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), Marcelle Karp (writer/activist), and Michael A. Petryshyn (Riot Fest Founder - aka Riot Mike). As we approached, Rollins and Karp were in the middle of a back-and-forth about feminist journalism in relation to the now six-month-old Zona Prava. Karp spoke of writing provocative messages on her and friends' bare chests, and Rollins brought up the old flyers he made while in Black Flag (ie "cop with a boner handing a child a lollipop with Black Flag scrawled across the top of the page"). It was an insightful discussion. Hopefully they bring the Riot Fest Speaks stage back in years to come.
Mastodon was the next mark we hit, over at the Rebel Stage. Touring on this year's classic rock-ish Once More 'Round the Sun, the band delivered a few tunes from that album -- including the fun single "High Road" -- some from The Hunter, as well as a bunch of their older meatier tunes. We got "Aqua Dementia" and "Hearts Alive" off Leviathan, "Bladecatcher" and "Crystal Skull" from Blood Mountain, and Crack the Skye favorites "Divinations" and "Oblivion." They were as tight as ever.
We capped off the night by catching alternative rock giants Jane's Addiction, who were performing their 1988 debut studio effort Nothing's Shocking in its entirety. Pit against American thrash gods Slayer playing Reign In Blood at the other side of the park, Perry Farrell and co. went for a much flashier approach while delivering the attitude-packed hits like "Jane Says," "Mountain Song," and "Ocean Size." It was nice to finish off the night with a feel-good set of songs.
Day 2 pics and review are HERE. Day 3 HERE. Pictures of all the day 1 bands mentioned above, plus a few others like Clutch, NOFX (they performed Punk In Drublic) and Radkey, are in this post. They continue below...
Riot Fest Chicago 2014 is set to take place from September 12-14 throughout Humboldt Park. The 10th anniversary of the festival features Jane's Addiction, Slayer, The Offspring, Pussy Riot (Nadya Tolokonnikova & Masha Alekhina), Mastodon, The Murder City Devils, Failure, Title Fight, The National, The Flaming Lips, Wu-Tang Clan, Descendents, The Cure, Weezer, Social Distortion, Primus, Patti Smith, and many more across seven-stages. The fest has now shared daily lineups, which you can scope out at the bottom of this post. Three-day and two-day passes are still available, and single-day tickets are on sale now.
RFC 2014 daily lineups lie after the jump...
We recently mentioned that Riot Fest Denver's permit to hold the festival at May Farms in Byers, CO was denied due to inconveniences it caused the residents of Byers, and that the fest will happen in a new location. We now know it will be instead held at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, still from September 19-21 as originally planned. There will also still be free parking for festival goers and all tickets purchased will be honored.
A press release also notes that many of the non-musical perks of May Farms will be kept intact:
Outside of bringing the May Farms aesthetic to the new site, organizers will also go ahead with the previously planned carnival rides and games, a miniature golf course, lucha libre, a large circus tent with oddities performers and a long list of amazing food vendors. Other plans include turfing the parking lot of the stadium and bringing all the things people love about May Farms (tractors, hay bales, etc) together with all the things to love about a country fair (rides, a pie eating contest, apple bobbing and more). Even the stages and vendor rows have been renamed to indicate Riot Fest's support of Byers, Colorado.Riot Fest is also showing their support of the Byers community:
* Any Byers resident who wants to come to Riot Fest this year will receivecomplimentary tickets as well as free daily shuttle service to and from May Farms and Sports Authority Field. Details will be announced next week on how residents can sign-up for this.As discussed, the lineup for Riot Fest Denver includes The Cure, The National, Weezer, Social Distortion, The Flaming Lips, Slayer, Wu-Tang Clan, Failure, Hot Snakes, All, Mineral and many more. Plus certain artists will be performing classic albums in full. Tickets are still available.
* Riot Fest will also allow several Byers businesses and other I-70 Corridor businesses who supported them free vending space at no cost.
* Riot Fest has also announced a $5,000 scholarship to be awarded to one graduating senior who plans on majoring in music, arts, business or marketing. Riot Fest has now asked other partners, industry friends and other Colorado businesses to contribute in hopes of getting that scholarship up to $20,000.
Day-by-day Riot Fest Denver lineup, with the new flyer, below...
DoNYC's Chicago cousin Do312 is running a contest. The prize is two VIP tickets to the punk-filled Riot Fest Chicago where a ton of awesome punk bands are playing in September. To enter, you need to "Pizzafy a Punk Album" and upload it to Do312 where there are already over 100 cheesy entries you can browse through, like the three non-vegan (and some not-so-punk, like The Cure) examples above.
In related news, the Macaulay Culkin-fronted Pizza Underground band plays a free outdoor show in Philadelphia TONIGHT (7/18). "Join us as we eat a lot of pizza, dance to pizza themed songs, and then watch a pizza themed movie, all in front of The Art Museum and all completely free of charge!"
Some unfortunate news for Riot Fest Denver. The Denver Post reports that their permit from Araphoe County (where the festival was supposed to take place) has been denied. Zoning Administrator Tammy King stated some the reasons in her letter of denial:
Based upon the information provided to me, it is clear that when Riot Fest was held in 2013, the traffic generated to and from the May Farms property by allowing the above-referenced vehicles to park on the property over a two to three day period caused numerous adverse impacts to members of the community. These impacts included residents having difficulty in getting their vehicles in and out of their driveways, substantial difficulties in traveling to obtain groceries and other essential services, difficulty in getting to and from work, [and] difficulty in conducting farm trucking activities.The fest will still go on though. They posted to their Facebook page:
Due to circumstances beyond our control and despite lots of support for Riot Fest & Sideshow in Byers, May Farms is no longer available to host Riot Fest. A nearby alternate location will be announced early next week. We know this sucks, we're as disappointed as you are, but if you could be a little patient with us, we'll have more information ASAP. All tickets will be honored at the new location. Riot Fest in Denver is NOT cancelled, the show will go on, and rock n roll never dies.The festival is set to happen September 19-21 and the lineup includes The Cure, The National, Weezer, Social Distortion, The Flaming Lips, Slayer, Wu-Tang Clan, Failure, Hot Snakes, All, Mineral and many more. Plus certain artists will be performing classic albums in full. Tickets are still available.
by Ian Chainey
Stiff Little Fingers at Gramercy in 2011 (more by Konstantin Sergeyev)
Stiff Little Fingers, the long-running Irish punkers, will be touring in support of the recently-released No Going Back in late summer. Along with a string of dates packaging the group with the Offspring and Bad Religion, Stiff Little Fingers will also play Riot Fest Chicago and Denver. The band hits NYC on September 20 at Irving Plaza as stand-alone headliners. They'll also play NJ's Stone Pony the day before (9/19) Tickets go on sale Friday (6/20) at noon, with a Live Nation and Music Geeks presale for Irving Plaza happening now (password: MUSICGEEKS).
No Going Back, the band's tenth, finds lone-constant Jake Burns in fine voice, using his gravelly rasp to great effect. It's a more mature, power-pop direction than the group's biting early material. Still, Bruce and company know how to build a song, setting engaging lyrics within strong, slightly twangy hooks. The record was shepherded into existence by a crowd-funded effort on PledgeMusic and you can stream it via Rdio and check out a few songs in this post.
All of Stiff Little Fingers' dates are listed, along with streams of No Going Back and past classics, below.
Riot Fest Chicago keeps getting crazier. First they announced their stacked lineup, then revealed that ten of those artists would be performing classic LPs in full, and now they've added more bands to the fest including a handful of heavy hitters. New additions include Primus, Tokyo Police Club, Say Anything, The Hold Steady, Only Crime, Lemuria, Pity Sex, From Indian Lakes, Lucki Eck$, Tiny Moving Parts, The Picturebooks and Survay Says. Tickets are still available.
Updated lineup, including The Cure, Jane's Addiction, Weezer, Social Distortion, Slayer, Descendents, Samhain, Patti Smith, Get Up Kids, Mineral, Failure, Mastodon and so many more, at Riot Fest's site and below...
by Ian Chainey
GWAR at GWAR-B-Q, 2013 (more by Josh Sisk)
You just can't keep a good GWAR down? The show must splooge on? Never "Sick of You"?
Fans and amateur pun runners (*ahem*) were excited to learn that heavy metal liquid-excreters GWAR are, apparently, still performing. As of right now, the group have two dates on the horizon: one being the 5th Annual GWAR-B-Q (8/16 at Hadad Lake, VA) and the other the Chicago iteration of Riot Fest (Sept. 12 - 14). Maybe the rumor will float around that GWAR will back Danzig for his Samhain set, thus causing the entire internet to burst into flames. Hope you had the last 20 years written down somewhere.
Of course, jokes aside, there is something of a gigantic hole in the GWAR lineup currently: Dave "Oderus Urungus" Brockie. The singer sadly passed away in March, putting the outrageous act's future on ice. But, as long as this continuation is handled with class, it should be okay, right? So far, so good: The original Beefcake the Mighty, Mike Bishop, is reportedly back in the fold for GWAR-B-Q. Bishop played bass for the band from 1987 to 1993 and again from 1998 to 1999. The fact they're getting a past relation is a great sign. Tickets to GWAR-B-Q go on sale June 5.
So, GWAR-B-Q attendees, there will still be a GWAR for you. Riot Festers? Looks that way. The band's website posted the Riot Fest announcement as well, so it's not like a flier typo/mixed signals are at play. (The website announcement added, "Socialize, you human filth!" GWAR, immersion therapy experts.) Innnteresting. Very interesting.
The Live from Antarctica video from 1990 with Mike Bishop in the mix appears below.
Danzig at Riot Fest in 2013 (more by Kirstie Shanley)
Nestled within the Riot Fest Chicago 2014 lineup sat this intriguing name: Samhain. The Samhain? The band Glenn Danzig fronted between two legacy-ensuring runs in the Misfits and his "Mother"-effin' 'solo' stardom? That Samhain?
Danzig's official website has since confirmed: "We can confirm that DANZIG has accepted an invitation to perform as his Classic SAMHAIN at Riot Fest in Chicago this September. More as we get it...Stay Tuned!!!" Riot Fest has since announced that Samhain will play Initium in full.
We actually shouldn't be too surprised. Danzg has been touring with Doyle-infused Misfits sets as part of his show for a while now, and in 2011 he did a "Danzig Legacy" tour, with shows that included (drama and) seven Samhain songs and members as part of the setlist. That tour hit Riot Fest in Chicago, a fest Danzig then played for a second time last year (and which he will play for a third time this year). Three members of Samhain played in the band (Glenn Danzig, London May and Steve Zing).
What we still don't know is who will actually be playing in this version of the reunited "Samhain". Danzig hasn't said yet. Drummer/bassist Steve Zing is a very safe bet since he was in Samhain, played the 'Legacy' shows and plays in Danzig's current lineup. Drummer/bassist London May, already back in the fold recently, also seems very possible. The bigger question is whether we'll get original member (and Danzig original member, but current country singer) drummer/bassist Eerie Von back in the fold. In our professional opinion that is who Danzig needs most to validate this thing, and actually things are looking good, though it might require Glenn also wrangling in guitarist Pete "Damien" Marshall. In 2012, Blankman ran this interview:
BMi: Why weren't you part of the Samhain reunionSlim to none is right, and even more right now that Danzig and Jerry Only are embroiled in yet another lawsuit concerning a legal spat with Misfits bassist Jerry Only over Hot Topic merchandising royalties, citing the devilocked dude for breach of a '94 agreement to share trademarks.
EV: "What reunion? Glenn and 2 drummers? I said if the Guitar player Damian wasn't involved I wasn't interested."
BMi: What do you think about Jerry Only's continued version of the Misfits?
EV: "That's Jerry's thing. He's keeping the name alive, and playing the songs for the kids who never saw the old band. I only saw them when they first got back together, and had Graves as a singer. I thought they were pretty good. I haven't seen Jerry and the others guys since.
BMi: Knowing all the guys in the band personally, what do you think the chances are of a full-fledged Misfits reunion?
EV: "Slim to None, but you never can tell. It's been discussed over the years."
After registering the trademarks, Danzig alleges Jerry then secretly entered into deals with various merchandisers, including Hot Topic, and cut Danzig out of any potential profits in the process. Danzig claims Jerry even threatened to withhold licensing rights from merchandisers if they did business with Danzig at all.Misfits say it's "sour grapes". Read the entire statement they gave to Alternative Press in response to the lawsuit, below, and good luck Glenn.
Danzig -- who left The Misfits in 1983 -- is suing for breach of contract and more. He insists he's solely responsible for the Misfits fame as a founding member of the group, and deserves his fair share of merchandising profits. [re-tox]
Meanwhile, Jerry Only's version of the Misfits just announced that their NYC Halloween show will happen this year on October 28 at Irving Plaza. Tickets are on Live Nation/Music Geeks presale and go on regular sale Friday (5/16) at 10 AM.
All of Danzig's & Misfits' 2014 tour dates, along with some Samhain samples -- that you should listen to with unbiased ears -- below.
this is one of 10 albums being performed in full at Riot Fest
The killer lineups for Chicago and Denver's Riot Fests were announced this week, and as if having tons of classic bands wasn't enough, the festival has now announced then ten of those bands will perform one of their classic albums in full. It's in celebration of the festival's 10th anniversary (they're calling it "10 Years. 10 Essential Albums.") and includes Jane's Addiction playing their 1988 major label debut, Nothing's Shocking, The Offspring playing their 20-year old Smash (which they're also doing on tour this year), Weezer playing The Blue Album (which also turned 20 this year), NOFX is doing Punk In Drublic (turning 20 in July), Slayer will play their thrash masterpiece Reign In Blood, Danzig's post-Misfits band Samhain are playing their debut, Initium, Descendents play their highly influential debut Milo Goes to College, Naked Raygun play their debut Throb Throb, and The Get Up Kids will play emo/pop punk classic Something To Write Home About, plus one more TBA. Nicely done, Riot Fest.
"10 Years. 10 Essential Albums." flyer below...
Chicago has The Cure, Jane's Addiction, The National, Weezer, The Flaming Lips, Social Distortion, Slayer, Wu-Tang Clan, Descendents, Tegan & Sara, Metric, the reunited Samhain (!), Cheap Trick, Pussy Riot (Nadya Tolokonnikova & Masha Alekhina), Patti Smith, Taking Back Sunday, Mastodon, Afghan Whigs, Naked Raygun, Cock Sparrer, Superchunk, Lucero, Murder City Devils, Mudhoney, Failure, Hot Snakes, Thurston Moore, Get Up Kids, Kurt Vile, Wavves, ALL, Mineral, Title Fight, Samiam, Menzingers, Front Bottoms, Pianos Become the Teeth, Bouncing Souls, Buzzcocks, Gogol Bordello, Stiff Little Fingers and many more. Tickets are on sale now.
Denver also has The Cure, The National, Weezer, Social Distortion, The Flaming Lips, Slayer, Wu-Tang Clan, Taking Back Sunday, Lucero, Failure, Hot Snakes, ALL, Mineral, Menzingers, Pianos Become the Teeth, Bouncing Souls, Buzzcocks, Gogol Bordello, Stiff Little Fingers plus Primus, TV on the Radio, Glassjaw, Bob Mould, Violent Femmes and more. Tickets are on sale now.
Full Chicago and Denver lineups below...
Riot Fest is happening in Toronto, Chicago and Denver again this year, and the lineup for Toronto was just announced. It happens on September 6 & 7 and features The National, Flaming Lips, Social Distortion, Death Cab for Cutie, Death From Above 1979, Brand New, Paul Weller, Stars, Metric, The Head and the Heart, Tokyo Police Club, The New Pornographers, Taking Back Sunday, Afghan Whigs, Alkaline Trio, Glassjaw, Bob Mould, Thurston Moore, Buzzcocks, Clutch, Manchester Orchestra, Lucero, Title Fight and many more. Full initial lineup below. Tickets go on sale Saturday (5/10) at 10 AM.
As mentioned on BV Chicago, the Chicago fest happens from September 12-14 this year, and Denver from September 19-21. Stay tuned for those lineups.
Full initial Toronto lineup below...