Entries tagged with: Riot Fest Denver
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...
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...
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.
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...
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.
Iggy and the Stooges at SXSW 2013 (more by Greg Cristman)
The Toronto one happens from August 24-25 in Fort York and features sets from The Replacements, Iggy and the Stooges, The Weakerthans, Rocket from the Crypt, Dinosaur Jr., Best Coast, The Flatliners, and Single Mothers (who all play day 2). Tickets for that day are on sale now. Flyer below.
The Denver one happens from September 21 to 22 at May Farms and features sets from The Replacements, Iggy and the Stooges, AFI, Brand New, Rocket From the Crypt, Guided by Voices, The Dismemberment Plan, Superchunk, Against Me!, Best Coast, Minus the Bear, Chuck Ragan, Bosnian Rainbows, This Will Destroy You, Touche Amore, Single Mothers and more on day 1; and blink-182, Rancid, Public Enemy, Matt & Kim, FLAG, Bad Religion, Yo La Tengo, Naked Raygun, Stars, Peelander-Z, Off With Their Heads, and more on day 2. Tickets (2-day passes and single day tickets) are on sale now. Full day-by-day lineup below.