Our favorite moments from Riot Fest
By Max Wacker
September 21, 2018
While Chicago may have been quite ready for fall, Riot Fest Weekend had other plans. Each day brought blue skies and over 80 degrees to the three day festival. Douglas Park, the festival’s seat since 2015, provided little shade, forcing festival-goers to flock to the minimal tree lines that line the outer edges of the park. As the bands performed, fans dutifully watched under the beating sun. On Sunday, you could guess what outfits were worn over the past two days based on the remaining sunburns. The smell of the trampled grass resembled that of hugs from old friends as participants spoke of the weekend as an almost religious experience, an annual pilgrimage.
Riot Fest began as a series of weekend shows spread across Chicago at multiple venues. Coming from those humble beginnings to the strength of the festival it is today was no easy task, but surely was made easier by Riot Fest’s knack for crushing the end of the gang. Headliners like The Misfits, The Replacements, The Pixies, and Wu Tang Clan are just a few of the monumental names Riot Fest has created in recent years, and the names have helped position the festival as a contender. major in the lineup of the Chicago Summer Festival. .
However, this year’s lineup, while impressive, was not filled with dreamy reunion shows. This year has seen a lot of loyal visitors, some who have moved to more impressive time slots. That being said, the party wasn’t something to ignore; names like Run The Jewels and Beck absolutely draw the crowds. The challenge for anyone in my opinion boils down to strategically planning your day. Do you want to skip 15 minutes of Father John Misty for a better seat during Run The Jewels or rely on your shoulders and elbows to navigate your way as far as possible? The festival schedule quickly became a bit of a road map with lines and stars sifted through, trying to find the best possible route and the best use of time.
Here are some of our favorite moments from Riot Fest 2018:
The show started with more than 14 people coming out on stage in lime green ski masks, holding signs saying, “We are going to punish those who poisoned Peter Verzilov. »Front woman Nadezhda Tolokonnikova delivered a powerful halfway message about how band member Peter Verzilov was poisoned and in critical condition until this Friday, the first day they heard Peter speak in nearly a week. . The band played loud, but the message was louder.
Weezer was the highlight of my Riot Fest weekend. A last minute addition after Blink 182’s Travis Barker was deemed unable to play due to an elbow injury, Weezer started the final set of the night with “Buddy Holly” and continued to hammer the punches. They incorporated a lot (and I mean a lot) of covers in their set: “All The Small Things” by Blink 182, The Turtles “Happy Together” which bled in “Longview” by Green Day, an acoustic cover of “Take On “by A Ha Moi”, and “Africa” by Toto. The band sounded exactly like they came out of the Blue Album, full of energy and charm mixed with raw emotion. The encore ended with “Say It Ain’t So” bleeding in Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. It was like a dream I didn’t even know I wanted to come true, as Rivers Cuomo put it, “Style Weezer!”.
If you’re looking for a group that offers a good time on multiple levels, look no further than Twin Peaks. Hailing from Chicago and local favorites, the group brings an energy to their shows that often leaves you wanting more. The band opened their set with a person in a running dog costume on stage as they performed “What up Dawg?” The crowd responded with non-stop dancing and moshing (often combined) throughout the set. While the attendees came for fun, they weren’t disappointed with the sound either. Twin Peaks delivers eclectic sound that no one can disagree with.
The Voidz took the stage with all the confidence of a group that didn’t want to be there. It was certainly hot; Julian Casablancas spent the first few songs taking a lot of water, spitting out most of it and pouring the rest on the back of his neck. All of that tune was brought home again with their opener, “Pointlessness”. As the band performed and the sun went down, their performance and sound reinforced that The Voidz actually wanted to be there. While the performance might have been odd, it was far from bad.
The crowd quickly filled up for Beck, so I got as close as I could get. Either way, there probably wasn’t a bad spot in the park for his set. Incorporating as much visuals as audio, his set was filled with vibrant colors, awesome animatronics, and loads of fun. Starting the set with crowd favorites like “Devils Haircut” and “Loser,” Beck continued to please the whole set. The encore brought the most surprises, the biggest being Gary Numan who took the stage to help do a cover of “Cars”. It also included covers of “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins and “Once In A Lifetime” by Talking Heads. Above all, it was a fun set which was a pleasure to watch. Beck only brought energy to the stage and the crowd could feel it.
Alkaline Trio was a very nostalgic experience for me, although I maybe wished it was more than it ended up being. The band tore up a lot of different material with barely any infill in between, just every once in a while “Damn, this is fun!” By bassist Dan Adriano. The set list included classics like “Clavicle”, “She Took Him to the Lake” and “Private Eye”, but it was also full of new tracks from their recent album. Is this thing cursed? The set might not have been the reincarnation of an early 2000s Fireside Bowl show I had hoped for, but that show probably doesn’t exist anymore. They ended the set with a crowd-pleasing “Radio”.
Bad Religion didn’t hesitate to launch their show and the crowd responded with a huge non-stop mosh pit. With the sun having already set by the time they started, crowds were seen intermittently under the stage lights. It was dark and suddenly you saw this mass movement, people shouting at each other, beer spouting out of mouths and cans. It was what a punk rock show should be. Starting with classics like “Recipe for Hate” and “Fuck You”, the band and the audience fed off each other. I had never seen Bad Religion before but I had grown up with their music. Their live performance was an absolute treat.
Running the jewels
Run The Jewels is a phenomenon, a force separate from space and time. Killer Mike and El-P seem to defy almost all boundaries with the music they make. The hip-hop duo performed in front of their classic handgun and handgun logo, enhanced by phenomenal lighting and exceptional sound. There wasn’t a dull moment in the set, but one of the crowd favorites was the discussion of why Killer Mike and El-P got into the rap game. It was a lengthy explanation that boiled down to free weed. The conversation ended with a fan in the front row handing a joint to Killer Mike and an uproar of approval from the crowd. RTJ demolished his set list with sweat, passion and humor. Crowd favorites like “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” and “Stay Gold” were taken to the next level on the album thanks to the duo’s effort and love for what they do. You don’t often see two people having such chemistry on stage.
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