With the 10-year anniversary of Riot Fest this year, Riot Fest has definitely pulled out the big guns in bringing some of the best bands from many punk sub-genres that get way too specific.
Since I’m going there this weekend, I thought it’d be fun to make a wish list of the top ten bands I plan on seeing, with some justification behind it.
Weezer has become a staple in genres ranging from (in the) garage rock, college rock, early emo and that whole “indie” scene. With Riot Fest’s celebration of having bands performing some classic albums in full, Weezer was chosen to perform the entire Blue Album live. If that isn’t enough to make you say “neat” then keep in mind that the band has had quite a lot of secrecy behind their latest album coming out. Everything Will Be Alright In The End reaches stores on September 30th
2. The Descendents
One of the most important bands that came out of the punk/pop-punk big bang, The Descendents will be performing all of Milo Goes to College live. That’s right, all 22 minutes of it. Given their hour-long time slot on Saturday evening, this leaves room for many more classics to be heard. The Descendents have left a lasting impression on music as a whole, and without a consistent schedule of touring, the band leaves us with a handful of festival dates here and there, and Riot Fest is one to be reckoned with.
Mineral is one of those bands that sometimes gets overlooked in the 90s emo era for miscellaneous reasons* (*excuses). All excuses aside, the band just announced earlier this year that they have reunited and have planned a string of shows with support from more modern acts Into It. Over It. and Foxing. With two very important LPs under their belt, Mineral is what you should be watching on Sunday evening, not Dads.
4. The Get Up Kids
Along with Mineral, The Get Up Kids are another one of those early emo bands that have influenced a generation and a half of sad kids everywhere. Another one of the 10-year anniversary bands, TGUK will be playing the iconic Something to Write Home About in its entirety. Sometimes leaning towards a more pop-punk sound, the band’s presence and five-
LP repertoire is nothing short of a legacy. The Get Up Kids will be playing Saturday, and they’re playing at the same time as Wu-Tang Clan and Dashboard Confessional. Wasn’t an easy decision by any means.
5. Streetlight Manifesto
Streetlight has separated themselves from the Victory Records scene that they were tied down by through a risky move of basically breaking up. Not too good for business, but they reassured their devoted fans that they weren’t disappearing, just hiding. The band announced that they would perform festival dates from time to time, and it looks like Chicago got lucky with their presence. I’ve never seen a band live quite like Streetlight Manifesto, with its healthy combination of ska and punk and a much classier songwriting methodology not matched with their neighbors in Reel Big Fish and Big D and the Kids Table. Streetlight’s live show is massive, with a full horn section and musical virtuosity throughout the board. No member lets down and each song is a bit of a wonder.
6. Pussy Riot discussion panel
Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina, two affiliated members of the politically-driven Pussy Riot are doing not a show, but a discussion panel on Friday afternoon with the legendary Henry Rollins as a moderator. As far as music as a form of social movement in recent memory, no act has really stirred as much attention as Pussy Riot, and it truly is a treat to have such a
historical discussion panel held in Humboldt Park. If you’re not too busy being crabcore at the We Came As Romans set, be here.
7. The Hotelier
The Hotelier released 2014’s Home, Like Noplace Is There through label Tiny Engines. Since their name change from The Hotel Year and release of the album, The Hotelier has really blown up in the punk/emo scene. Already being seen in many “Best Albums of 2014 (so far)” lists, the small band from Massachusetts will not be small for too long. I know you all love saying “I saw them before they got huge” because I do too, so definitely check them out before they become all mainstream or whatever.
8. Saosin w/ Anthony Green
The “w/ Anthony Green” part is necessary, because there are a lot of people in this world that never really thought that Anthony Green would be playing with Saosin ever again. With Translating the Name as the Mecca of Anthony Green+Saosin greatness, and with as unstable of a band Saosin is, who knows if a performance like this will ever happen again.
9. Title Fight
Title Fight is basically opening up the festival for me, playing at 3:30 on Friday afternoon. The band has never disappointed with their live show, with a relentless fan base that is not afraid to walk all over your head. The band has recently transitioned from its pop-sound of earlier releases to a more Joyce Manor-y punk sound of 2012’s Floral Green and smaller releases since then. The band is planning a new album to come out soon, so who knows maybe you will hear a new song, along with an absolutely killer live set no matter what they play.
10. Andrew W.K.
It is often an overlooked fact, but Andrew W.K. actually coined the term “party.” If there is anyone whose life should be remembered as one giant party, and also the only person whose
funeral should likewise be a giant party, it would be Andrew W.K. Known for hits such as “Party Hard,” “Long Live The Party,” “It’s Time To Party,” “Party til You Puke,” “Party All Goddamn Night,” among many other party-related songs, it’s evident who likes to party. If you’re ready for a great time, Andrew W.K. will undoubtedly provide it for you.
Miscellaneous bands who kind of made the list but I don’t know if I will actually see them
The Pizza Underground – Macaulay Culkin (yes from Home Alone) and his pizza-themed Velvet Underground band.
GWAR – just because I want to get covered in blood and also see how they’re still a band since their singer died.
Slayer – just the kind of band I feel like everybody should see at some point in life.