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Riot Fest

Monday, September 17, 2018

Screw nostalgia—the Avengers and Blondie made punk as relevant as ever at Riot Fest

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 03:23 PM

Avengers vocalist Penelope Houston - DANNY O'DONNELL
  • Danny O'Donnell
  • Avengers vocalist Penelope Houston

Outdoor music festivals tend to wear out their own fans. There's only so much hot sun, crowd congestion, and spider-infested porta-potties you can take before you ask yourself, "What the hell am I doing here?" If a fest runs three days, as Riot Fest has for several years now, by the third nearly everyone will have reached that point. Even the teenagers will be dragging. But there were plenty of reasons to trek to Douglas Park for the last day of Riot Fest 2018. Run the Jewels played a transformative headlining set (I'm now a superfan, at least), and Sunday's schedule also included two iconic bands that emerged on opposite ends of the country during the first wave of American punk: the Avengers and Blondie.

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Riot Fest 2018 Sunday [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 02:47 PM

Run the Jewels closed out Riot Fest 2018.  We have the live photos and a review by Jamie Ludwig of Sunday sets from Blondie and The Avengers.  Photos by Danny O'Donnell

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Riot Fest 2018 Saturday [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 02:00 PM

Day two of Riot Fest saw a range of acts from hometown, garage pop wonders Twin Peaks to iconic Elvis Costello.  Check out the highlights of the Saturday performances from photographer Danny O'Donnell. 

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Riot Fest 2018 Friday [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 01:42 PM

The first day of Riot Fest 2018 included calls for justice from Pussy Riot.  Here's a look back in photos by Danny O'Donnell. Saturday here.  Sunday here.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Twin Peaks take a victory lap at Riot Fest

Posted By on 09.16.18 at 12:45 PM

Twin Peaks singer-guitarist Cadien Lake James - DANNY O'DONNELL
  • Danny O'Donnell
  • Twin Peaks singer-guitarist Cadien Lake James

Chicago garage-pop wonders Twin Peaks formed in 2010 and debuted at Riot Fest in 2013, the first year it took place entirely in Humboldt Park.  The fest was beginning its rapid expansion, and organizers booked plenty of well-established locals—as well as a few, including Twin Peaks, who were beginning their own rapid rise. At the time, the band's original members were all 19.

This year only 88 artists played Riot Fest, and as that total has dwindled over the past couple years, younger acts have fallen off disproportionately. David Anthony has argued in the Reader that the festival should make a bigger priority of engaging with where punk is going, and Twin Peaks helped make his case: their Saturday afternoon set was one of the strongest I witnessed all weekend, showcasing the new vitality they're injecting into old rock ideas.

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Pussy Riot use their Riot Fest set to demand justice for a fallen comrade—and for all the oppressed

Posted By on 09.15.18 at 12:06 PM

Nadya Tolokonnikova and Pussy Riot - DANNY O'DONNELL
  • Danny O'Donnell
  • Nadya Tolokonnikova and Pussy Riot

Nadya "Tolokno" Tolokonnikova and the rest of the 14-member Pussy Riot posse marched onstage Friday at Riot Fest wearing frilly white blouses, athletic pants, and DayGlo green balaclavas, holding up a huge sign demanding justice for a fallen comrade: "We will punish those who poisoned Peter Verzilov." Aside from the group's DJ, only Tolokonnikova wasn't wearing the signature Pussy Riot mask—hers sat on top of her head. As such you could call Tolokonnikova the face of the group, but its members clearly included different races, genders, body types, and levels of ability (one woman had come out in a wheelchair).

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Riot Fest finalizes its daily lineups—though the big new acts were announced yesterday

Posted By on 09.07.18 at 04:30 PM

Run the Jewels will close out this year's Riot Fest, coheadlining with Incubus on Sunday night. - CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • Run the Jewels will close out this year's Riot Fest, coheadlining with Incubus on Sunday night.

One week before opening day, Riot Fest has finalized its lineup, though the three big additions went public yesterday. When the festival announced Run the Jewels, Weezer, and Taking Back Sunday (who play the fest almost as frequently as Andrew W.K. and Gwar), they were presented as replacements for previously announced headliners Blink-182, who were forced to cancel several dates because drummer Travis Barker has been struggling with blood clots in his arms since June. With the release of daily lineups today, it's become clear that Weezer will headline Friday, Beck will headline Saturday, and Run the Jewels will coheadline Sunday night with Incubus.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Riot Fest announces its first wave of acts for 2018

Posted By on 05.30.18 at 08:00 PM

"What's My Age Again?" Blink-182 are collectively 130 years old, which makes them a little young to be so high on the bill at Riot Fest. - IMAGE VIA THE BLINK-182 FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Image via the Blink-182 Facebook page
  • "What's My Age Again?" Blink-182 are collectively 130 years old, which makes them a little young to be so high on the bill at Riot Fest.

Today Riot Fest made its first lineup announcement for 2018, and the 82 acts in this wave include Blink-182, Cypress Hill, Blondie, Pussy Riot, the Jesus Lizard, Atmosphere, and Beck—as well as the Killer himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, the only artist at the fest who was putting out records way back in the 1950s.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Tim Kinsella and Cap'n Jazz harnessed the raw power of their 90s selves at Riot Fest

Posted By on 09.18.17 at 03:41 PM

Cap'n Jazz's Tim Kinsella - ALISON GREEN
  • Alison Green
  • Cap'n Jazz's Tim Kinsella

Near the end of Cap'n Jazz's riotous Riot Fest performance, frontman Tim Kinsella snuck a glance at the massive video board above the stage to glimpse a supersized black-and-white version of himself. Covered in sweat, his shirt half ripped off, he was holding a tambourine aloft in one hand and a microphone in the other while crowd surfing. "I need to find a real job," he cracked. Then he offered a dismissive rebuttal: "Pfft."

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Jawbreaker seemed to enjoy their Riot Fest reunion as much as their fans

Posted By on 09.18.17 at 01:37 PM

Blake Schwarzenbach of Jawbreaker - ALISON GREEN
  • Alison Green
  • Blake Schwarzenbach of Jawbreaker

On the final night of the festival we did gather by the many thousands, on a browning glade ringed by porta-potties, funnel-cake kiosks, and a half-filled Ferris wheel. In the hard darkness that descended from the September gloaming we came to face the last lit stage—twinkle daddies, torch carriers for the pop-punk of yore, and hither and yon the bearers of fading Morton Salt girl and Chesterfield King tattoos. (I suppose a few of us had simply been driven to madness by the wheedlingly saccharine sounds of Paramore or beaten half to a pulp by the food-court rock/rap of supergroup Prophets of Rage.) We had come for Jawbreaker's first performance in 22 years (apart from two small California warmup gigs this summer), and thus to see the past unveiled.

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