Tag «Riot Fest»

Riot Fest 2019 Day 2: Rise Against, Avail, Turnstile and Anthrax Bring the Hard to the Park; The Struts Evoke the Glam Rock 1970’s and The HU Combines New with Very Old

Words: Fredric Hall
Photos and Additional Words: Meredith Goldberg

Day two of Riot Fest 2019, the 15th Anniversary event, saw a bit of a change up. This was a bit slim on the punk side as the metal took over. Still, they were some standouts. You have Avail doing their “Over the James” album set. Honestly, there really is not that much to talk about. Singer Tim Barry mentioned it was his daughter’s birthday which got a collective “awww” from the already captivated crowd.

Avail

 

Avail

 

Anthrax

Anthrax started a few minutes early with a riff from Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell”, which totally caught me off guard. From there they went into their setlist which was voted by fans via their website. With the band donning Bulls jerseys they tore through all the hits, including “Caught in a Mosh”, “I am the Law” and their cover of “Got the Time”. No “Among the Living” though. Sorry. The did, however, end the set with “Indians” which really got the crowd in uproar. Granted, this isn’t really “punk” but, like I said it was slim pickings that day.

Turnstile

 

Turnstile

Turnstile provided for an especially high energy set under the bright middle afternoon sun. Numerous band members kept busy going airborne and hopping back and forth from stage to speakers. You got the feeling the band members would have like to be performing in the crowd and would be if not for the wide barricaded area/photo pit. Turnstile in a non-barricade venue must surely be mandatory to experience for anyone calling themselves fans of the group.

The Struts

Derby U.K.’s The Struts, with lead singer Luke Spiller, channeling the spirit of Freddie Mercury, took over the Rise Stage. A welcome dose of variety to complement the otherwise predominantly hard-core punk and metal heavy day. Spiller, in a red glittery outfit and thick black eyeliner; and bassist Jed Elliot clad in black leather pants and his leather shirt unbuttoned half way down his evoked 1970’s glam rock.

The Struts

 

The HU

For many Riot Fest attendees, The HU afforded them possibly their first introduction to what the band calls Hunnu Rock. The HU, from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, combine Mongolian throat singing with traditional instruments such as “The morin khuur (Mongolian: морин хуур), also known as the horsehead fiddle, is a traditional Mongolian bowed stringed instrument. It is one of the most important musical instruments of the Mongol people, and is considered a symbol of the Mongolian nation.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morin_khuur].

The HU
Senses Fail
Rise Against
Rise Against

The day ends with Rise Against headlining the evening. Singer Tim McIlarth mentioned he is from Douglas Park (where Riot Fest is held) which obviously get applause from the crowd before going into the hit “Savior” followed by “Prayer of the Refugee.”

Please check out our gallery of additional day 2 photos below!

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DS Exclusive: Riot Fest Kicks off 15th Anniversary Celebration with Jawbreaker, Rancid, Cock Sparrer (among others)

Words: Fredric Hall
Pics and additional words: Meredith Goldberg

Riot Fest’s 15th Anniversary event once again took place in Chicago’s Douglas Park, Sept 13th – 15th. A bit of morning rain on day one threatened to muddy the grounds and make for a messy fest. However, by the time the gates opened to attendees, the rain had subsided just a few random, very small soft spots in the ground and small patches of mud could be spotted throughout the park.

Violent Femmes
Anti-Flag

I don’t know what was going on at the Radicals Stage, but there were sound issue throughout the day. When Anti-Flag showed up, you could barely here Chris Parker’s bass and vocals. Despite this, the band blazed through their set, causing a nasty(in a good way) circle pit in process. Hell, as people were jumping up and down during “This is The End” a T-Rex showed up in the pit with spikes in its head, as you do. The band had the crowd by the throat, as most threw up the bird as “Police Brutality” blared out the speakers. With a brief intermission from a spokesperson from Amnesty International — the short of it is “Fuck Racism” — the band followed with “Press Corpse” who they dedicated to JBTV host Jerry Bryant who is currently battling cancer. And now the finale: the set ended with Parker and drummer Pat Thetic bringing their gear into the crowd and playing a few bars, closing out a raucous set.

Cock Sparrer

Before Cock Sparrer‘s came onstage, the already packed crowd was singing the chorus to “Take Em All”, so they were ready to get shit going. For the entire set, singer Colin McFaull had a bottle of Jack Daniels on stage, taking a occasional swig. They played all the hits: “Take Em All” of course, “A.U.” which really got the pumping and “Watch Your Back”. Though for the last one, McFaull missed his cue to go into the chorus, but it’s OK, he was probably tipsy from the Jack.

Pennywise

Like Anti-Flag earlier, Pennywise‘s set also had its fair share of audio problems. Mostly, Jim Lindberg’s vocals being barely audible during songs but fine by itself. They were the most interactive with the crowd of all the bands, with Jim asking the crowd what did they want them to cover and ending it saying, “We don’t know the songs by those bands”. But they did cover-or try to cover-a Sublime followed by a non-fucked up cover of “Minor Threat” by, um, Minor Threat. The whole cover song debacle ended with a sped up version of AC/DC’s “TNT” before going into their original song “Society”.

Rancid

Since they were playing at the same time, I had to leave the Descendents‘ set for Rancid‘s, but the few minutes I was there showed they still had it. Being Riot Fest regulars, they knew how to work a crowd. Not hard since most of their catalog is fast as hell, and starting the set with “Suburban Home” and “Everything Sucks” didn’t hurt either. Rancid’s set was equally energetic, with Tim Armstrong’s neckbeard and Lars Frederiksen’s skinhead look, they blazed through “Roots Radicals” and “Maxwell Murder,” which I didn’t think they’ll do.

Please check out our gallery of additional day 1 photos below:
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DS Photo Gallery: Riot Fest Chicago – Day One (Nine Inch Nails, X, Buzzcocks and more)

The weekend of September 15-17 saw the annual return of Riot Fest. Riot Fest 2017 was held for the 12th consecutive year in Chicago and for the third consecutive year in Douglas Park. Riot Fest saw an eclectic crowd turn out, including multiple generations of families. There were too many young punk fans, some just a few months old with mohawks and iconic band tees, to count. 

Day 1, held on September 15th, saw, per usual, a wide variety of acts. As with every previous year, legends and veterans gained the headlining spots and the most attention. In this case, the top billed act for Day 1 of Riot Fest, was Nine Inch Nails

NIN also remains relevant for the prolific film and television scoring work that lead singer Trent Reznor and his collaborator Atticus Ross outside of the group. The duo won the 2011 Oscar for the Score for the film The Social Network. Their work for the currently being broadcast and critically acclaimed 10 part PBS documentary by Ken Burns/Lynn Novick “The Vietnam War” is receiving equal acclaim to the reception of the documentary itself.

The NIN set also demonstrated that the group is as electric as ever. Classics such as “Closer” and “Head Like a Hole” had the large crowd at a fever pitch. However, capping the set; and the night out with  “Hurt” was an emotional gut punch. It has always been a powerful song, but as covered by Johnny Cash, that emotional shot to the heart was upgraded several notches, especially as performed in the video accompanying it. Johnny would lose his beloved June Carter Cash just three months after the filming of the video, and he followed her 4 months later.  It seemed on this night that NIN was not merely playing one of their own best tunes, but rather, they were also singing it in tribute to one of our most beloved, acclaimed and greatest singer-songwriters. Again, an absolute emotional gut punch and shot to the heart. Not something many people would immediately associate with or expect from what started out as a punk rock festival, at least those with little knowledge of this music.

Also, per usual, several veteran acts played one of their albums in full. On day 1, X did the honors with their classic album, “Los Angeles.”  Singer Exene Cervanka wore a black t-shirt emblazoned with her surname on the back and the Los Angeles Dodger log on the front. But a good portion of the crowd (made up of both citizens of the Chicago area, as well as fans who traveled in from other states and other nations) surely appreciated it when she donned a black baseball cap (with a slightly altered color-wise version of) the iconic 4 stars from the City of Chicago flag. X also proved they still have the chops and the songs are still highly adored by their fans. 

One of the most powerful sets was that of Saul Williams. He repeatedly challenged the crowd to face truths about the turbulent times brought on in large part by the current occupiers of the White House and Congressional majority party. He made it known, though perhaps not stated outright, that he was about speaking truth to power; and that words of condemnation are not enough,. His message remains that music is meant to spark change. Williams also repeatedly sent out calls to action with his oft-repeated refrain of “Your punk ain’t punk if you don’t smash Fascists.”

Other day 1 acts demonstrated quite the contrary to Riot Fest’s official and self-deprecating motto “Riot Fest Sucks,”  They included legends such as Buzzcocks and Ministry; and newer groups: The Hotelier, Death From Above; and The Story So Far.

It may be popular to hate on musical fests, including Riot Fest; something as noted above, at which the organizers playful wink. However, perhaps the only thing that truly sucked about day 1 was the blazing heat. It reached into the at least the mid to high 80’s but felt even hotter for those making their ways from stage to stage and the carnival areas. Head below to see our full photo gallery from Day 1 of Riot Fest Chicago, and stay tuned for coverage from Days 2 and 3 soon!

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