TVD Live: Riot Fest 2014, Sunday, 9/14

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER | Sunday of Riot Fest, or what I had been referring to all weekend as “Pattiday,” was easily my favorite day of the weekend.

It was no secret that I was really excited for Patti Smith. My expectations were high, to say the least, and I had to resign myself to basically waiting hours until I could be in Ms. Smith’s presence again since I saw her in May 2013 at The Vic. In the meantime, I would party hard with Andrew WK and sway to the catchy stylings of Tegan and Sara all while stuffing my face with as much beer and Cevapicici I could handle. It’s Sunday, people. Go big or go home.

Seeing Patti Smith live is truly something special. The entire set was dripping with sentiments for her late husband, Fred “Sonic” Smith whose birthday it was. “I wrote this song in 1978 for my boyfriend, Fred Sonic Smith who became my husband and we had two children. We lived in Detroit and now I’m here and it’s his birthday. Happy birthday, Fred. I never sing this song without thinking of you,” she said before diving into “Because the Night.”

Patti is an incredible artist to watch. She is almost 70 and could easily retire but you could sense performing is how she survives. She was intense the entire time, throwing her fists up in the air screaming, “Today, we dedicate this song to life!” and “A new world is coming and you will create it!” She’s not shy about admitting that her guitar playing isn’t the greatest and she exclaims, “I’m allowed to fuck up because I’m playing LIVE!” She’s Patti Smith, godmother of punk, and THAT’S why she’s allowed to fuck up, live or not.

As the set progressed, Patti got more and more passionate. At the end, instead of ending with her crowd-pleasing medley of “Land/Gloria” (I was kind of sad not to hear this) she ended with “Rock N Roll Nigger” the lyrics, written in 1978, still have tremendous meaning and applicability today. It was clear that Patti wanted to send a message to the Riot Fest audience—there’s a revolution that will happen and we will all be a part of it, it’s just up to us to make it our own creation.

Primus’ set was one of the most memorable sets for me. Primus was also one of the only bands I saw this year that after knowing virtually nothing about them before the weekend, is the one band I want to know everything about now. Les Claypool just owned the stage and he interacted with the audience a lot telling stories, wearing that stupendous black hat, strutting around on stage while two inflatable astronauts with digital moving faces watched over the crowd. Also, Danny Carey, the drummer from Tool, did a really fantastic job filling in for Tim Alexander. Nice Bulls jersey, Danny (wink wink!)

I have to admit it—I’m not the biggest Weezer fan. I know, I know! How can I claim to be a kid of the ’90s if I didn’t get into Weezer? Well probably because I was occupying all my childhood bedroom shelf space with cassette tapes of Britney Spears, Spice Girls, and Fine Young Cannibals … so yeah, there’s that. Anyway, it seemed like everyone and their mom came to see Weezer and rightfully so—they played their essential album, The Blue Album, which launched Weezer into the mainstream in 1994.

Though Weezer has been touring quite a bit the past few years, the energy from the crowd felt like they had been missing their favorite band for years. It was absolutely contagious and even I was singing along to “Buddy Holly” and “Holiday.” If you were at Weezer’s show on Sunday night, I sincerely hope you rocked your little heart out and enjoyed every minute of it.

If the Riot Fest lineup is as stacked in 2015 as it was this year, you will definitely catch me at Humboldt Park next year. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss it either.

WEEZER

PRIMUS (From afar, but still epic.)

THE CURE

SOCIAL DISTORTION

PATTI SMITH

DROPKICK MURPHYS

TEGAN & SARA

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