Friday: Five Riot Fest acts to see 

The polarizing Screeching Weasel, the polarizing Glenn Danzig, and the timeless Joan Jett lead off the punk carnival. Also, Fall Out Boy.

See our previews of acts playing on:

Saturday · Sunday

Riot Fest main »

Check out our photos of the bands that played on Friday.

Screeching Weasel Riot Fest
  • Screeching Weasel
  • Courtesy Monona Music

Screeching Weasel
6:30 PM
Rock Stage

One of the sharpest contributors to the pop-punk canon is Screeching Weasel from little old Prospect Heights, Illinois. The number one influence on front man and sole constant member Ben "Weasel" Foster is the Ramones—which shows not only in the band's 1992 track-for-track cover of the punk rock pioneers' debut LP, but also in Weasel's own up-tempo and hypermelodic tunes. Since their initial formation in 1986, Screeching Weasel have broken up and re-formed five times, cycling through more than 25 members (including Green Day's Mike Dirnt and current Black Flag bassist Dave Klein), allowing Weasel to shape his project into a constantly relevant machine: the band has touched on organ-led power pop with 1996's Bark Like a Dog, offered their take on late-90s skate punk with 1998's Television City Dream, and tackled the exploding emo craze on 1999's Emo. Weasel is a controversial figure, and the band nearly collapsed once and for all after an epically shitty 2011 incident when, following an onstage confrontation, he punched a female showgoer. But for better or for worse, the pop-punk legends seem to be picking up steam all over again. Luca Cimarusti

Bad Religion Riot Fest
  • Bad Religion
  • Courtesy Epitaph

Bad Religion
6:45 PM
Roots Stage

Fronted by an academic with a PhD from Cornell and a vocabulary lifted straight from the pages of Noam Chomsky, Bad Religion has always been the thinking man's punk rock—and the angsty suburban kid's chance to feel smarter than his parents while showing off the iconic "Crossbuster" logo with a middle finger in the air. (You'd be hard-pressed to find a year the band didn't play a Warped Tour, am I right?) Greg Graffin has been the steady hand throughout Bad Religion's three-plus decades together—dating back to the classic Suffer (1988), powering through the Atlantic Records breakthrough Stranger Than Fiction (1994), and making it all the way to last year's True North, the band's 16th album. Their sound has barely detoured, aside from a few production tweaks. Tinny guitar, a medium-paced punk beat, and deadpan, almost flat vocal harmonies. If it ain't broke . . . Kevin Warwick

Joan Jett Blackhearts Riot Fest
  • Joan Jett
  • Roger Erickson

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
8:30 PM
Rock Stage

Joan Jett doesn't need to release a new album to remain a feminist icon, the inspirer of a thousand bands and a thousand fetishes, and the Platonic ideal of a classic—and classy—rock star. Whether it's producing albums by Bikini Kill, making a record with the surviving members of the Gits after singer Mia Zapata's 1993 rape and murder, responding with great delight to being played by Kristen Stewart in a Sapphorific Runaways biopic (still a better love story than Twilight), or advocating for animals and veterans, Jett earns respect in all sorts of ways. But she's made a new album nonetheless, the forthcoming Unvarnished, her first since 2006's Sinner. With it she has overcome what she called, in a recent Rolling Stone interview, her "decade of death" (the loss of her parents and many friends), not to mention a crippling bout of writer's block. She still has it, because she is it. Monica Kendrick

Glenn Danzig Riot Fest
  • Danzig
  • Clint JCL

9:30 PM
Rise Stage

Try to look past everything you know about Glenn Danzig in 2013—the ridiculous musclehead image he insists on holding on to, the absurd French onion soup incident of 2011's Fun Fun Fun Fest, the North Side Kings one-punch TKO, the hilarious photo of him buying kitty litter, and the fact that he can't really sing anymore–because before Glenn Danzig was a parody of himself, he was one of the greatest punk rock front men and songwriters of all time. This performance celebrates the 25th anniversary of Danzig's brilliant and timeless first LP, from the namesake outfit he put together after the dissolution of the Misfits and Samhain—a band that blended those projects' hokey, gothy aesthetic and melodic sense with sleazy, guitar-solo-heavy Sunset Strip cock rock. Luca Cimarusti

Fall Out Boy Riot Fest
  • Fall Out Boy
  • Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Fall Out Boy
9:45 PM
Riot Stage

The guys in Fall Out Boy have long been symbols of the worst aspects of emo—whining, navel gazing, asymmetrical haircuts—even though the band took a hard turn toward arena pop before 2008's Folie a Deux. This year's Save Rock and Roll (Island) wrangles together brostep ("Death Valley"), sample-based rap ("My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark"), the kind of folk-pop that's made the Lumineers a hit ("Young Volcanoes"), and other big radio-ready sounds into a cohesive, polished, and hook-filled whole. I see the title of Save Rock and Roll as sincere—Fall Out Boy is bringing Top 40 sounds into rock in order to bring rock back into the Top 40. Leor Galil


Sublime with Rome, 11 PM, Concord Music Hall, $29.98, 18+.

Lawrence Arms, 10:30 PM, Cobra Lounge, sold out.

Andrew W.K., Magas, 11 PM, Double Door, $25.

Devotchka, midnight, City Winery, $18.

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Danish String Quartet Mandel Hall, University of Chicago
October 28

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