Day 2 of Riot Fest 2022 took place on September 17th. The temperatures rose and because it was a Saturday, so did the crowd size. It was a day of both music and expressions of solidarity with one nation under attack.
Red Scare Industries’ No Trigger was assigned to the smallest music stage in the park, the Rebels stage. However, that did not stop the boys from Boston from giving a powerful performance, including the tunes “Antifantasy,” “Holy Punks,” “No Tattoos,” and “Neon National Park.” There is little doubt in my mind, or at least lots of reason to hope, that No Trigger will be promoted to a larger stage at its next Riot Fest appearance. I’m not much of a gambler but I’ll take the bet that they will indeed be back at the festival, and sooner than later.
Fans of Bully were fortunate to not only see one of their favorites treat them to a fantastic set, but they did so from the Radicals Stage. That stage provided the most shade and the coolest setting on an otherwise boiler of a day. Rolling through “Trash,” ”Where to Start, ”Stuck in Your Head, ”Kills to Be Resistant, ”Milkman,” “Hate and Control,” “Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues” Bully gave the crowd what it was looking forward to and needed.
A formidable amount of joy was felt as The Joy Formidable took over the Roots stage. That line might be of questionable quality, however, the performance by the pride and the Formidable Joy of Mold, Flintshare, Wales (ok, I’ll stop now) was quite palpable. The band, presently based in London, and composed of Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan, Rhydian Dafydd Davies, and Matthew James Thomas performed solidly a set that included “The Greatest Light Is the Greatest Shade,” “Y Bluen Eira,” “Sevier,” “CSTS (Come See the Show),” and “Whirring.”
The Get Up Kids were one of the 2022 Riot Fest bands doing an “album play” set. The album in this case was its classic Four Minute Mile on its 25th Anniversary. Though not dedicated to running legend Roger Bannister, as the title might suggest to near-lifelong runners (such as myself), it does feature track runners on the cover. More importantly, the band’s debut studio album transformed the members of the group into stars of the emo punk sub-genre. For attendees who became fans at the album’s first release and those just discovering its music, it was great to hear the full track listing, including, “Stay Gold Ponyboy,” “Lowercase West Thomas,” “Washington Square Park,” “Michelle With One “L”,” and “I’m a Loner Dottie, a Rebel.”
7Seconds announced their retirement in 2018, citing health issues as the primary reason. For that reason, the band appearing at Riot Fest this year was especially compelling. The band returned to touring earlier this year as support for Circle Jerks, alongside Negative Approach. Sammy Siegler sat in the drum chair in place of Troy Mowat, whose health issues continue to keep him sidelined. Kevin Second’s voice was strong and the setlist featured many entries from the band’s classic 1984 album The Crew. The album was remastered and reissued in deluxe style by Trust Records in 2021. Among them: “Here’s Your Warning,” “Definite Choice,“ Not Just Boys Fun,” “This Is the Angry,” “Here’s Your Warning,” “Definite Choice,” “Not Just Boys Fun. 7Seconds also played “We’re Gonna Fight,” plus covered “99 Red Balloons” by Nena.
For those who might not know, Alexisonfire is from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada and named after an American porn actress. There was some controversy surrounding that latter fact but let’s move now to its Riot Fest appearance. It was a crowd pleaser, featuring in the setlist “Accidents,” Boiled Frogs,” “Sweet Dreams of Otherness,” “Pulmonary Archery,” and “Drunks, Lovers, Sinners.” For a hot late summer day, near that stage was a pretty cool place to hang.
Yungblud is an excitable boy (a nod to Warren Zevon there) and an exciting performer. Dressed in black dress pant style shorts held up by a single suspender over a long sleeve black and white striped shirt added up to him looking a bit like a post-modern day Pinocchio sans the pointy cap. Yungblud’s infectious charm was obvious, as he bounced across the stage almost nonstop through “The Funeral,” “superdeadfriends,” “parents,” “Tissues,” “I Love You, Will You Marry Me,” among others. His set ended with a show of support for the Ukrainian activists at the festival as the English rising star brought a group of them onstage. The Ukrainian flag being held high by said activists demonstrated again the solidarity for the war-torn nation on display at Riot Fest 2022.
Bad Religion is yet another of what I call FORFs — Friend of Riot Fest. As in, the band is a regular part of the festival’s lineups over the years. This should continue ad infinitum. They are a brilliant group every bit deserving of the word legend which has long been attached to them and the innumerable tattoo tributes across the globe. One crowd member expressed their love with the BR symbol shaved into and painted onto his skull. Meeting Greg Graffin for the first time, in the media tent, he exuded humility and kindness. Graffin: “Hi I’m Greg.” Me, in an attempt to be professional and not fan girl the PhD Punk icon from one my top 5 bands: “Thanks, I gotta go shoot 7Seconds now.” Yes, I’m a dork. But I’d hazard a guess Graffin was ok with that awkward bailing out. Back to their performance though. When the music kicked in Graffin, Jay Bentley, Brian Baker, Mike Dimkich, and Jamie Miller got straight to the point with “Recipe for Hate.” That was followed by “New Dark Ages” and “Fuck You.” With so many classics over the decades of its existence, the band couldn’t possibly hit all of them. However, it did a pretty good damn job of getting in a lot of them. Among those they drove through were “Dept. of False Hope, “We’re Only Gonna Die,” “Suffer,” and “21st Century (Digital Boy),” They concluded the set with “Fuck Armageddon… This Is Hell,” “Sorrow,” and my personal favorite, “American Jesus.” Whew and Wow. That about sums up Bad Religion in general and its Riot Fest performance in particular.
Gogol Bordello returned to Riot Fest as a replacement for Bauhaus which had to cancel its American tour due to lead singer Peter Murphy entering rehab. The Gypsy Punks released their latest album, Solidaritine, just one day before its set at Douglass Park. It appeared clear a priority for the band was to continue increasing and solidifying support for Ukraine and its efforts to fight back against Russian Vladimir Putin, his government, and the Russian military (Putin, of course, directed the military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022). Earlier in the day, Eugene Hutz, the Boyarka native singer of Gogol Bordello, participated in a moving tribute to his homeland in a performance alongside a Ukrainian dance troupe. The full band known for its rousing performances did not disappoint as they ran through “Immigrant Punk,” “Wanderlust King,” ”My Companjera,” “Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher),” “Think Locally, Fuck Globally,” and “Mishto!”
Yellowcard was one of the three Saturday Night headliners. The band performed in full, its fourth album, also its major label debut, 2003’s Ocean Avenue. “Way Away,” released as the album’s first single, and credited as Yellowcard’s injection into the realm of mainstream popularity, started off the set. Title tune “Ocean Avenue,” was followed by ”Empty Apartment,” and “Life of a Salesman.” The rest of the album including “Miles Apart,” “Twentythree,” “View From Heaven,” “One Year, Six Months,” “Back Home” took diehard Yellowcard fans on a nostalgia trip. But what a trip!
See more Riot Fest 2022 day 2 photos below!