Riot Fest 2011 | Music Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Riot Fest 2011 

The seventh annual punk blowout hosts X, All, Danzig, Weezer, 7 Seconds, Helmet, and many more

click to enlarge Descendents - BERNARDO MANCEBO
  • Descendents
  • Bernardo Mancebo

Riot Fest has blown up from its humble beginnings as a two-day festival in 2005. This year it spans five days at five venues, and as usual its punk-focused bookings are heavy on reunions and bands that rarely play. The festival kicks off Wed 10/5 at Bottom Lounge with iconic punk band X playing their influential record Los Angeles front to back. The other Bottom Lounge concerts (the venue skips Saturday) are All, who play two shows with different lead singers from the band's history (Chad Price on Thu 10/6, Scott Reynolds on Fri 10/7), and 7 Seconds on Sun 10/9. The biggest names at the festival are the headliners of its four massive Congress Theater bills: Social Distortion on Thu 10/6, Danzig Legacy on Fri 10/7, seminal nerd-punks the Descendents on Sat 10/8, and Weezer (playing their classic "Blue Album" in its entirety) on Sun 10/9. For the Danzig Legacy show, Glenn will play a set with the current lineup of Danzig, a set of Misfits jams with early guitarist Doyle, and a set with the reunited (and often mispronounced) Samhain; openers include local metal veterans Macabre and Nachtmystium. The Double Door hosts Helmet on Fri 10/7 and a free show with local pop-punk stalwarts the Smoking Popes on Sat 10/8, while the Cobra Lounge hosts a secret lineup on Fri 10/7 and the Business on Sat 10/8. Admission prices and age restrictions vary by night and venue; tickets are still available for most invidivual shows, and so are a couple flavors of festival pass. All-fest passes have been sold out for a while now, but you can still buy a "Congress Pass," which will get you into all four Congress Theater gigs for a cool $125, or a "Punk Pass," which costs $88 and covers the three punkier Congress shows (Social D, Danzig, Descendents). Any pass will get you into all three secret shows (Fri 10/7 through Sun 10/9) at Riot Fest's fifth venue, a Wicker Park space called AAA. For more, see Soundboard listings by day, call 877-435-9849, or visit

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