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Concert Photography, Concert Reviews, Music, Riot Fest Chicago 2013

Concert Review + Photos: Riot Fest Chicago (Day 2) – Blink 182, Taking Back Sunday, Public Enemy + More

By: Jessica Manzilla (@swoonnspoon) –

Blink 182. (Photo: Katie Kuropas/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Blink 182. (Photo: Katie Kuropas/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Day two of Riot Fest Chicago kicked off earlier in the day and carried on until the lights got shut off on Blink 182. There was a definite change in the festivalgoers on this day, it had a slightly more Warped Tour style of crowd. The line-up also had more of a metal flavour and a couple of surprises along the way.

One of the first bands to take the stage was Los Angeles-based indie rock quintet Kitten, fronted by 18-year-old vocalist Chloe Chaidez. Their performance had the energy of a young Paramore but more seductive in spirit. In addition to covering Prince’s classic track “Purple Rain”, which proved to be more mature than the audience, they also showcased songs from their new Like A Stranger EP, which was released on August 27th, including the title track, which combines post-punk attitude and new wave, and “Doubt” Expect for them to release their debut album sometime next year.

As the sun and heat reached its peak for the day, Surfer Blood played to an adoring fan base. Their slightly 50s style, slightly surfer rock style made them a must watch for anyone even for those just walking past. With a set that contained tracks from both their debut album 2010’s Astro Coast, including hit power-pop single “Swim” and “Anchorage” and their new album, Pythons, including “Demon Dance” and “Say Yes To Me”.

During the late afternoon, Dallas-based metalcore quintet Memphis May Fire captured the crowd of headbangers with tracks spanning their last two albums, including “Without Walls” and “Prove Me Right” from 2012’s Challenger, “The Victim” and “The Sinner”, both from 2011’s The Hollow, the latter sparked a massive singalong. As everyone head banged in unison in their denim jackets and studded belts, Memphis May Fire proved that these guys know how to put on an intense performance. Expect their fourth studio album sometime in 2014.

Across the venue, Montreal-based indie rock band Stars played to a slightly older and relaxed crowd. Throughout their eight-song performance, the Juno Award and Polaris Music Prize nominated quintet showcased that their mix of male and female vocals to be both hypnotic and welcoming.

Currently on tour for their sixth album, The North, which was released last September, their set reflected a diverse mix of material from said album including third single “Backlines”, “A Song is a Weapon” and “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It”, along with what would be considered to be their “signature songs” including, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”, from their seminal 2004 album, Set Yourself on Fire, and “Take Me To The Riot” from 2007’s In Our Bedroom after the War.

As Long Island, New York-based post-hardcore quartet Glassjaw took the stage, their intense sound played straight into the next song everytime, and their music was nonstop. Despite the band being as old as most of the kids in the crowd, having formed in 1993, songs throughout their 13-song set sounded as fresh as ever. From chaotic show opener “Mu Empire”, from 2002’s Worship and Tribute to set-closer “Babe”, which refused to turn the intensity and instead that let it explode on stage as both frontman Daryl Palumbo and the crowd both went insane until the end.

Once Devotchka came out, they were dressed to impress in formal wear. The only band to have a stand up bass, trumpet and accordion had people dancing with their salsa inspired tunes. They were an unsuspected source of fun to Riot Fest.

The first thing Flag started with was proclaiming their name, which serves as an ode to their former band, Hermosa Beach, California-based hardcore punk band Black Flag, which is also on its own reunion tour and currently in court with Flag to determine who is allowed to use the Black Flag name and logo.  The sound at the stage was a little off, which muffled the words and made it difficult to understand the music. As expected, the crowd was densely populated with every color of Mohawk imaginable as they played classic Black Flag tracks like “Rise Above”, and “Revenge”, which brought a sense of old school punk to the festival.

Keeping with the old school theme, New York City-based dance-rock icons Blondie opened their set with “One Way or Another”. Sultry rock frontwoman Debbie Harry and company echoed through Humboldt Park.  With a simple stage set-up, the focus was on Harry and through their short set and with tracks like the instantly recognizable tracks like “Atomic”, “Heart of Glass” and “Call Me” had the somewhat older crowd dancing and the younger audience members wishing that they’d been born in the ‘80s.

As the crowd murmured before their performance about Flava Flav’s outlandish public persona, there was suddenly a countdown and once it reached zero, Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductees Flava Flav and Chuck D appeared on stage, and showed the crowd exactly why they’ve been around for this long. From show opener “Bring The Noise”, from 1988’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back to DJ Lord’s solo, which included a snippet of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, which illustrated the interconnectedness between hip-hop and rock, to their iconic track “Fight The Power”, from 1990’s Fear of a Black Planet, Public Enemy proved that despite playing a predominantly rock-oriented festival, they got the crowd moving as good as any rock band.

Taking Back Sunday, who are currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut album, Tell All Your Friends, with a nationwide tour, played to a huge crowd of adoring fans. From hit singles “A Decade Under The Influence” from 2004’s Where You Want To Be and “MakeDamnSure” from 2006’s Louder Now, to newer single “(Faith) When I Let You Down” from their 2011 self-titled album, their set had everything even a casual listener would enjoy. The highlight of their set was when lead singer Adam Lazzara climbed to the top of the stage to scream lyrics that have resonated with many, to the joy of those who have supported them for years.

As Blink 182 fans both young and old congregated at the main Riot stage, Blink-182 blasted into set opener “Feeling This” from their 2003 self-titled album. The San Diego trio, who will head into the studio next year to create their seventh studio album, were their usual selves with their toilet humour still intact, especially through songs like “Family Reunion” . Their 21-song performance also reflected their serious side with older tracks like “Stay Together for the Kids”, from 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, through to tracks like “Down” and “Violence” to tracks from 2012’s Neighbourhoods, including “After Midnight” and “Wishing Well”.

As they ended the show with huge blasts of confetti, after a three-song encore of “Carousel”, “Dammit” and the aforementioned “Family Reunion”, organizers shut off the lights and ushered the crowds out of the venue, before co-lead singer and guitarist Tom Delonge could declare one last song after their encore. If you want to relive your teenage years or want to hear how far they’ve come from track titles like “Dick Lips”, check them out when they go on tour next month.

Day two of Riot Fest Chicago doubled in size, making it impossible to navigate through the punk rock jugglers and metal heads. If anyone questioned the festival’s integrity and what it had to offer this day certainly put them in their place.  Day three however is sure to be the most anticipated if the weather holds up.

Blink 182

1. Feeling This
2. Up All Night
3. The Rock Show
4. What’s My Age Again?
5. Dogs Eating Dogs
6. Down
7. I Miss You
8. Wishing Well
9. Dumpweed
10. Always
11. Violence
12. After Midnight
13. First Date
14. Heart’s All Gone
15. Man Overboard
16. Ghost on the Dancefloor
17. All the Small Things
18. Josie

19. Carousel
20. Dammit
21. Family Reunion

Taking Back Sunday

1. You Know How I Do
2. Error: Operator
3. El Paso
4. One-Eighty by Summer
5. Faith (When I Let You Down)
6. A Decade Under the Influence
7. Number Five with a Bullet
8. Ghost Man on Third
9. Liar (It Takes One to Know One)
10. Timberwolves at New Jersey
11. Flick or Fade
12. You’re So Last Summer
13. Best Places to Be a Mom
14. Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team)
15. MakeDamnSure

Public Enemy

1. Rebel Without a Pause
2. Bring the Noise (first verse only)
3. He Got Game (first verse only)
4. Shut ‘Em Down
5. DJ lord solo (smells like teen spirit)
6. Don’t Believe the Hype (w/ snippet of “Can’t Truss It”)
7. Harder Than You Think
8. By the Time I Get to Arizona
9. Fight The Power


1. One Way or Another
2. Hanging on the Telephone (The Nerves cover)
3. Rapture (w/ snippet of “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”)
4. Atomic
5. Heart of Glass
6. Call Me




1. Can’t Believe It
2. My Own Country
3. Every Single Day
4. Same Old Story
5. My Own Way
6. Minor Threat (Minor Threat cover)
7. Peaceful Day
8. Living for Today
9. Fuck Authority
10. Broken
11. Society
12. Bro Hymn

The Devil Wears Prada

1. Mammoth
2. Escape
3. Gloom
4. First Sight (New Song – First time ever played)
5. Danger: Wildman
6. Martyrs
7. Dead Throne
8. Chicago
9. Outnumbered
10. Assistant to the Regional Manager
11. Born to Lose


1. Fixed
2. A Song Is a Weapon
3. We Don’t Want Your Body
4. Backlines
5. Midnight Coward
6. Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
7. Take Me to the Riot
8. Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It

Memphis May Fire

Surfer Blood

1. Twin Peaks
2. Floating Vibes
3. Say Yes to Me
4. Demon Dance
5. Miranda
6. Take It Easy
7. Swim
8. Anchorage




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