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The Music Festival to end the Summer: A Review of Riot Fest 2016 in Chicago By: Coren E. McLeod

The Music Festival to end the Summer:
A Review of Riot Fest 2016 in Chicago
By:  Coren E. McLeod

Wow!  The summer of 2016 was one hell of a ride!!!!  I was lucky enough to be able to attend some stellar festivals which included some shocking line ups that I would never imagine possible.  There is one which seems to bring all genera’s of music today in one area for 3 days of just pure delight and madness. 

Riot Fest Chicago took place in Douglas Park on the weekend of September 16-18, 2016.  And this #Hardcore chick got to attend all 3 days!  Let me just say, my life can be busy.  But, it times like these that makes me smile from ear to ear. 

Let us consider some factors into me attending Riot Fest:
1)       This was going to be my very 1st time attending a festival of this magnitude by myself.  And what I mean by that is no other UnRated staff member was with me.  So, the heat was on.  (Literally…)
2)      There were a ton of bands to see and my little legs needed to be prepared.  So, lots of All Rise Brewery craft beer was in order.
3)      Uber can be a friend or a foe at this particular time.  Use with caution.

Well, consider I have a regular full time, it kind of sucked I was not able to attend the 1st full day of Riot Fest on that Friday.  I did make the most of it and got there just in time to see the current band I am obsessed with.  Yes, the wonderful boys from Cape Code, Highly Suspect, was in front of my eyes playing their hearts out to the crowd of Chicagoans.  I only got to see 2 songs from Highly Suspect.  In my opinion, it was so worth.  They gave their fans a taste of “My Name is Human” and closed out with their ever popular song “Lydia.”  It was a joyous occasion for me. 

            Now, I had to make the most of my Friday night at Riot Fest considering once I finally got there it was more than half over.  So, I took my ass over to see Pierce the Veil.  I have never seen or heard of this band before.  Yet, I was head banging like no one’s business and making a fool out of myself.  Seriously, I liked them.  I liked the fact Pierce the Veil had a very aggressive stage presence about themselves yet could still carry a tune.  And it seems like the many people around me were also rocking out to what Pierce the Veil had to offer.

            Now, the last band of Friday happened to be someone I followed back in the 90’s.  The Flaming Lips had me reliving my high school and it was all so magical.  The sheer brilliance of seeing this band that has been around for more than 2 decades and still maintaining their charisma in the current music scene is exceedingly impressive.   By the way, yes.  I did giggle a little bit when the band started to sing their infectious song “She Don’t Use Jelly.”  It was a great moment in time for me.
            Let us move onto Saturday and where I was able to stay the entire time.  One thing I would like to point out:  considering I was there by myself, I felt very safe and secure.  The entire time I attended Riot Fest, the crowd was very friendly and was just there to have a good time.  That made for an even better event and even a better concert experience.

            So, with my All Rise beer in my hand, I headed over to see the band from Canada called Fucked Up.  Yes.  The name is a little out there.  I have been listening to this band since 2008 and I fucking love it.  I could see the rest of the audience was into the lead singer’s antics especially when he wrapped the microphone cord around his neck and jumped into the audience.  It was a little fucked up…  (Get it?)  The album I most enjoyed from Fucked Up is called “The Chemistry of Common Life.”      It’s bold and the music is just very in your face.  I loved the fact I got to see these Canadians perform live. 

            I wanted to change up the music I typically listen to.  I headed over to the stage where Christen Rapper Dee 1 was performing.  I was so happy I did that because I loved the positive message Dee 1 was putting out there.  His energy on stage just kept going like the Energizer Bunny.  The song that clinched my heart from Dee 1 is called “My Student Got Murdered (Both Sides of the Gun.”  One could tell the rapper felt a personal connection to this tune and one could see the emotions on Dee 1’s face.

            I swear, Saturday has some #amazeballs bands and trying to get to all of them seemed impossible.  Yet, I never back down.  The rest of that day consisted of me charging my phone and getting my ass over to see Fitz and the Tantrums, Death Cab for Cutie, Motion City Soundtrack, The Hives, Social Distortion and the man everyone was there to see:  Morrissey!

            What I found to be so interesting during the Morrissey performance is the entire festival stopped serving meat due to his animal rights beliefs when he was on stage.   How flipping cool is that?  That is respect right there.  Morrissey has been a staple in the industry since the 1980’s.  When I looked around at the massive group of audience members, I noticed a mix of young and old alike.  This guy has transcended across generations with songs like “Suedehead” “Glamorous Glue” and “Hairdresser on Fire.”   This was a highlight for me and I am glad I stayed to catch this marvelous man perform in Chicago.

            Well, the last day was among me.  And I was getting to a point where I was tired.  I was a little sore, but I still wanted to party.  On this day, I was accompanied by some great friends that was also in the same mind set as myself.  (Party on Wayne.  Party on Garth.)

            I believe out of all the days, I was most excited about Sunday.  I mean hell, The Original Misfits were going to kill it on stage and that is utterly worth price of admission alone.  IMO. 

            Sunday was not shy of greatness happening.  I was really interested to see the Deftones, Bad Religion and Andrew WK.  Fuck!!!  All 3 of those bands were my hard drinking days down at Illinois State University when I was getting home riding in a cab wishing I did not do that last shot of vodka.  (Wait.  Has that changed at all?  JK.) 

            Okay, let me just point out that I loved seeing Chevy Metal.  This band consisted of some great musicians and my favorite to see was Taylor Hawkins.  Yes, of Foo Fighters fame!!!  He has always been a favorite of mine and even though my short ass could only get a glimpse of his fabulous blonde hair, I was so enjoying the hell out of seeing this amazing mixture of talent.

            After a couple more beers, making some new friends and a few WTH moments, the time was drawing near for the massive attack of The Original Misfits to fuck some shit off!  The sheer excitement and fear was among a lot of people’s faces knowing that they were going to witness a time in history many have dreamed of.  And that moment drew near.  The sheer gigantic crowd flooded towards the stage and The Misfits came out like bats out of hell.

            I got to give The Misfits some major props for a 90 minute set of pure energy that reached across the Douglas Park field.  It was mesmerizing to see Glenn Danzig full of life singing their notorious tunes to a crowd almost overbearing his vocal ability.  I love the pure theatrical antics of entertainers and Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankstein did not disappoint.  His huge body encompass the entire stage.

            And the reward for “Taking Life by Its Horns and Not Giving a Shit” goes to Jerry Only.  This man had everyone’s mouth wide open the entire time.  His dynamism was so on point and fans could see the utter brilliance and happiness pouring out of this man’s soul.  It was fantastic to watch. 

            Hearing the songs being performed live just gave many the chills along with some many drunken moments of pure awesomeness.  Some stand out songs would have to be “Who Killed Marilyn” “Teenagers from Mars” and the closer “Last Caress.”  I guess the guys wanted to give more.  So, they came out and did an encore of another 4, YES!!!!  4 songs to their legions of followers.  It was simply magnificent.

            So, the question is:  Would I do Riot Fest again next?  Absolutely.  The major part that I loved about this particular festival was the way every single person that went was just happy to be there to enjoy amazing music.  The weather could not have been better and I was in the mist of some superb musical acts that I would not have seen otherwise.  To me, this was an dazzling way to officially end my summer and now it’s time to hibernate for these winter months that we are all use to in Chicago.  Until next year #RiotFestChicago, I will catch ya later… #Cheers



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