TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/15

2:18 PM | Aaaaaand we’re off! The final festival of the good weather season here in Chicago. Shockingly, it’s a scorcher today and I notice a lot of people in black taking cover in the shade.

2:38 PM | I catch the second half of Liars’ set and Angus Andrews is rocking a white tutu. Combined with his white tank, it appears as if he’s thrashing across the stage in a wedding dress. An excellent start to Riot Fest.

3:05 PM | Saul Williams is a spoken word master and he’s doing his thing right now. “Your punk rock ain’t that punk rock…if it doesn’t make fascists explode,” he tells the crowd. They cheer in agreement.

3:27 PM | I am now taking a moment in the shade with everyone else. The spot happens to be in a sound melting pot zone—you can hear three stages at once. X + Saul Williams + Four Years Strong = the first supergroup of the weekend.

4:12 PM | The Buzzcocks are bringin’ the punk all the way from the UK. Nostalgia is in the air.

4:42 PM | I was genuinely excited to see Action Bronson today and now I’m standing here trying to stomach that fact that I’m disappointed. The energy is off. He seems upset? Angry? Hard to tell. But I can feel that the crowd yearning for something more than what we’re seeing right now. His iPhone is plugged into the speakers and he’s rapping over the beats.

5:06 PM | “You guys wanna have sex with me?” Death From Above’s Sebastien Grainger jokes. The crowd is into the idea, however. “I don’t even like to have sex with myself anymore,” he concludes to laughter.

6:27 PM | FUCK YES Ministry! It’s finally starting to feel like Riot Fest in these parts! Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor watches the industrial metal pioneers from the side of the stage, and he’s in as much awe as we all are.

7:52 PM | Damn, I’m standing here watching New Order. They’re playing their hits, of course, plus some Joy Division covers. But I’m thinking about a philosophy class I took in college where I was introduced to their music through a short film. The soundtrack was so eerie and powerful it’s stuck with me to this day.

8:15 PM | Vic Mensa is having a big year. He recently dropped his debut album, The Autobiography, and hearing the songs live just reinforces the rawness and vulnerability of them. Fellow Chicagoans are featured during his set: Peter Cottontale backs him on keyboards and Joey Purp makes a cameo.

8:59 PM | I have been waiting for this moment since the Riot Fest lineup was announced. There are two days of amazing bands left, but somehow I know that Nine Inch Nails is going to be my weekend highlight. It’s 1994 again and I’m listening to Downward Spiral in my bedroom.

9:17 PM | And now they’re covering “I Can’t Give Everything Away”—a tribute to David Bowie. It’s mournful but beautiful.

10:24 PM | NIN ends day one with “Hurt” and no I’m not crying—you’re crying!

ACTION BRONSON

BUZZCOCKS

DEATH FROM ABOVE

LIARS

MINISTRY

NEW ORDER

NINE INCH NAILS

PETER COTTONTALE

SAUL WILLIAMS

VIC MENSA

RIOT FEST CHICAGO, FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 15, 2017

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