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

Concert Review + Photos: Riot Fest Chicago (Day 3) – The Replacements, Pixies, AFI + More

By: Jessica Manzilla (@swoonnspoon) –

The Replacements. (Photo: Katie Kuropas/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

The Replacements. (Photo: Katie Kuropas/Aesthetic Magazine Toronto)

Grey clouds and mist hung over the third day of Chicago’s Riot Fest weekend. Between the mud pits and puddles, concertgoers took cover with ponchos, umbrellas, hoodies, and group huddles under the trees. People filed in later in the day of hopes to miss the downpour however the rain didn’t let up until the tail end of the evening with random spurts and thick mists.

One of the highlights of the day was newly reunited Kansas City-based indie rock band Reggie and The Full Effect. With Frank Lero formerly of My Chemical Romance rejoining the band on bass, they performed their synth-filled songs, which made everyone glad that frontman James Dewees and company are back.

The Wonder Years took the stage across the park and came out with a bang. Not even one song in and the crowd surfing began. The crowd sing a long was quite impressive during the song “Passing Through the Screen Door”, and the pop punk influence was clear through their set, which concluded with frontman Dan Campbell scaling a tree and front flipping in the crowd.

At the Rise stage Queens New York band, Bayside played to a highly dedicated group of fans, as they tried to shield themselves from the increasingly growing rainstorm. Their chaotic punk rock style and heartfelt lyrics hung heavy with the more mature crowd. The highlight of their set was when they began the song “Blame It on the Bad Luck” strictly with bass, with the crowd joining in on vocals until the guitar joined, which created a sense of unity between the band and fans alike.

Walking through the festival during a time when the rain let up a bit, the shockingly goofy stage show of PEELANDER-Z stopped a huge crowd in their tracks. The New York City-based Japanese action comic punk band. With each member dressed in homemade costumes with giant fake animal heads attached to helmets. Each band member also represented a different color much like the power rangers. Their energy was infectious and easy brought some light to the grey fest with their song “Mad Tiger” and others.

Against Me! was the next band to take the stage in the mist despite the recent departures with long-time bassist Andrew Seward and drummer Jay Weinberg. Despite some still reeling with frontman Tom Gabel’s announcement last year that he wanted to become a woman and has since chosen the name Laura Jane Grace, the punk rock quartet played a strong set that included several new songs from their forthcoming sixth album, Transgender Dysphoric Blues, which they will release sometime in 2014, including the title track and “FuckMyLife666”. It takes a lot of courage to discover your true self-identity and it’ll be exciting to hear new material from them in the new year.

Now, the weather took a turn for monsoon as Atlanta by way of Brooklyn indie rock band Bad Books took the stage as they opened with “No Reward”, from 2012’s II. Bad Books, a concoction of members of Manchester Orchestra along with frontman Kevin Devine were the band to see among indie enthusiasts. One of their more popular songs “Forest Whitaker” got the crowd dancing even under trees and umbrellas. Their set was enjoyable and kept the crowd engaged the entire time with their simple hooks and danceable tunes.

Also braving the downpour was Los Angeles-based indie rock duo Best Coast. Lead singer Bethany Cosentino proclaimed to the crowd she was wearing a maternity top and trucker hat and didn’t care. Surf pop and garage rock combined perfectly while they opened with “Goodbye”. The fans didn’t seem to mind the rain so long as they got to hear “Each and Every Day” which was what they closed with.

Now that the grounds of Humboldt Park turned into mud pits, it made it more challenging for the severely dedicated fans of Brand New to get in close to see their set. The alternative band from Long Island, NY had fans awaiting their arrival the moment the festival gates opened. Many packed in on the thought they were viewing Brand New for the last time, since they canceled their European tour. The crowd made sure to make this show count and sang loudly with songs like “Gasoline” and “Jesus”, and the classic “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows”, which featured Kevin Devine.

On the opposite side of the park, All Time Low fans lined up early to get close to their favorite band. Obviously the youngest crowd of the weekend, they showed that pop punk still lives on. There were parents guiding their kids through the crowd as the Maryland-based pop-punk quartet played “Reckless and the Brave”, among other tracks, which seemed to propel them to boyband status among their highly dedicated fans.

Back at the main stage AFI brought the energy back up, as the night fell on Chicago. As lead singer Davey Havok jumped in the crowd and sang with fans during their first song “The Leaving Song pt 2”, the crowd brought their own energy to the quartet’s brooding alternative anthems. AFI used the entire stage and made every fan feel part of the show, as they continued the evening with tracks like “Miss Murder” and “Silver and Cold” to the joy of the crowd, as they ended just as Pixies were to hit the stage.

The long-awaited set for the new Kim Deal-less Pixies drew a more mature crowd that most likely attended just to see them play. They opened with a cover of The Fall’s “Big New Prinz”, followed by a cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On”. As they donned the stage with a simple setup and a dark light that cast over their silhouettes, they played a mixture of old and new material throughout their 21 song set, including new song “Bag Boy”, which they released back in July, along with classic tracks like “Here Comes Your Man” and “Where Is My Mind”, both from their seminal 1989 album, Doolittle.

Nearing the end of the night San Diego band Pierce The Veil jolted the crowd with their intense performance that combined post-hardcore with progressive and experimental rock. This self-proclaimed “mexicore” style mixes screamo and catchy hooks with a performance much like pop punk bands before them.

Closing Riot Fest is no easy task, and it seemed that the newly reunited The Replacements were highly worthy of the honor. Most bands stated during their own sets how much The Replacements influenced their music, and as the darkness of the sky was a high contrast to the stage, the accumulation of all the crowds came together to watch as The Replacements opened with “Takin’ a Ride”, which began only their second show in over 22 years. The alternative rock quartet from Minneapolis, Minnesota’s instantly relatable songs molded a new generation of music fans at Riot Fest, with tracks like “Merry go Round”, “Color Me Impressed”, and an encore of “Hold My Life” and “I.O.U.”.

Riot Fest is over but the experience will live with everyone who attended. As expected with the name, mayhem ensued. There were people on stilts, clowns, fire breathers, banana suits, mohawks, rain, tattoos, rides, piercings, deep-fried peanut butter and jelly, and amazing bands involved. Though it may have just ended, we can’t wait for next year’s event in The Windy City.

The Replacements

1. Takin’ a Ride
2. I’m in Trouble
3. Favorite Thing
4. Hangin Downtown
5. I Don’t Know (“Buck Hill” interlude)
6. Color Me Impressed
7. Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out (Jimi Hendrix “3rd Stone from the Sun” interlude)
8. Achin’ to Be
9. Androgynous (“Hey Good Lookin'” outro)
10. I Will Dare
11. Love You Till Friday
12. Maybellene (Chuck Berry cover)
13. Merry Go Round
14. Wake Up
15. Borstal Breakout (Sham 69 cover)
16. Little Mascara
17. Left of the Dial
18. Alex Chilton
19. Swingin Party
20. Kiss Me on the Bus
21. Waitress in the Sky
22. Can’t Hardly Wait
23. Bastards of Young

24. Hold My Life
25. I.O.U.

Pierce The Veil


1. The Leaving Song Pt. II
2. Girl’s Not Grey
3. I Hope You Suffer
4. A Single Second
5. Love Like Winter
6. Ever and a Day
7. 17 Crimes
8. Kill Caustic
9. Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover)
10. Bleed Black
11. Medicate
12. God Called in Sick Today
13. Miss Murder
14. The Days of the Phoenix
15. Silver and Cold
16. Dancing Through Sunday

All Time Low


Brand New

1. Vices
2. Sink
3. Gasoline
4. Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades
5. Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don’t
6. Jaws Theme Swimming
7. The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows (with Kevin Devine)
8. Seventy Times 7
9. Jesus
10. Bought a Bride
11. Play Crack the Sky (with Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull)
12. Degausser
13. You Won’t Know

Bob Mould

Bad Books

1. No Reward
2. How This All Ends
3. The After Party
4. Holding Down the Laughter
5. Please Move
6. You Wouldn’t Have to Ask
7. Forest Whitaker
8. It Never Stops
9. Baby Shoes

Against Me!

1. FuckMyLife666
2. Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
3. Cliché Guevara
4. New Wave
5. Unconditional Love
6. I Was a Teenage Anarchist
7. Transgender Dysphoria Blues
8. Don’t Lose Touch
9. Black Me Out
10. Turn Those Clapping Hands into Angry Balled Fists
11. Rapid Decompression
12. Walking Is Still Honest
13. Thrash Unreal


The Wonder Years

Reggie and The Full Effect

Maps & Atlases


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