Riot Fest 2018 Day Two – Review
By Stevie Priller
Riot Fest 2018 happened. Despite fears that the festival would be cancelled due to major delays in second wave lineup announcements, Riot Fest 2018 happened, and it was great.
For those who don’t know, Riot Fest is a 3-day music festival that takes place in Douglas Park, Chicago, Illinois, and features mainly punk rock and alternative music.
Here’s how day two went:
Day Two: Saturday, September 15
The first band of the day was Beach Bunny on the Roots Stage, another band I had heard of but not yet listened to. I’d heard from our interviewer that singer Lili Trifilio is super sweet, and they definitely brought that same energy to the stage! Their tunes were perfect for starting off the Saturday afternoon, but were still energetic enough to get people to crowdsurf.
After Beach Bunny, I decided to check out The Districts since I looked them up and saw they’re from Lancaster, PA. They were fun to photograph and I love that they’re from PA, but I must admit that the few songs I caught weren’t entirely my taste. Maybe I would have appreciated it more had I stayed for their entire set, but I decided to head over to check out Badflower on the Radicals Stage.
Of all the bands playing on day two, Badflower was the one I was most excited to check out! I had heard a lot of good things about them from a friend, but had never really gotten around to checking out more than a song or two of theirs. After seeing them live, I definitely understand the love! They were definitely one of my favorite bands to take pictures of, and I love how invested in the performance that singer Josh Katz got. Having listened to them again since, I must say that Badflower is a band that is better live than they are recorded, but only because of the amount of energy and emotion they bring to their performances; I would recommend going to see them to anyone who likes live music, as it’s easy to appreciate them even without listening to them ahead of time.
Up next, I checked out Mannequin Pussy on the Rise Stage. Even though I decidedly do not enjoy Mannequin Pussy’s sound, the crowd gathered to see them I must assume disagrees with my opinion. Their sound was a bit more abrasive than I normally appreciate, but for people who like that sound, then they’d enjoy this Philly band!
Next up on the Rise Stage was Bully from Nashville. I didn’t really know much about them, but I’ll definitely be checking them out now that I’ve seen them live, because they put on a great show!
The third band in a row I decided to see at the Rise Stage was the staple punk band The Adolescents. The crowd and band appeared to be having a great time, and they honored founding bassist Steve Soto, who passed away in June, with a banner with “SOTO” in the style of their 1981 album and a speech from vocalist Tony Reflex.
After the Adolescents, I headed over to the Rebel Stage to check out Street Dogs on the recommendation of another photographer I had met. They lived up to the hype she gave them, putting on a great show and feeding off the energy of the enthusiastic crowd who had gathered at the tiny stage to catch this Boston-based band.
For the next chunk of time, I wandered around the festival grounds, checking out a few songs from The Voidz, Killing Joke, Elvis Costello and the Imposters, and Interpol. From what I saw of The Voidz, they weren’t my style, but I’m happy for The Strokes’ fans who were excited to finally see Julian Casablancas play live. All of the bands that I caught in this period, I wish I could have seen more from, as it’s hard to judge a band based on a song or two. I did get to hear Elvis Costello play “Radio, Radio,” which was pretty awesome!
The last band of Day Two that I caught a full set from was The Jesus Lizard. When I asked our Music Director Calder Buisch which bands he thought I should check out, The Jesus Lizard was near the top of his list. I headed over, not knowing what to expect, and left having added them to my list of “Bands I’d Be Really Sad to Never See Again” – they were that memorable. As soon as the band got on stage, the crowd went wild, and that same level of energy was kept up for the entire hour the band was playing.
Despite being in his late 50s, vocalist David Yow brought more energy than most bands I’ve seen. He jumped off the stage and crowd surfed many times, and at one point mooned the audience, which is “tame for them” according to Calder. It was a wild set, and I got to experience it all from the photo pit because The Jesus Lizard let us take photos of their entire set instead of the usual first 3 songs.
Overall, Day Two was a lot more fun than I anticipated, because I came in not knowing many of the bands, and left with a lot more amazing artists that I plan to listen to and hopefully see again sometime!