TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/17

3:18 PM | The last day of Riot Fest ’17 is underway and the crowd is very happy to see local fellas, The Orwells, take the stage. Frontman Mario Cuomo shimmies and screams, occasionally flashing a mischievous grin at the crowd.

4:00 PM | The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Let’s Face It by playing it in full. It’s a scene of pure jubilation. Everyone is smiling—the crowd, the band, security, my fellow photographers. I even take a moment to see if I can figure out how to ska after all these years. (Verdict: rusty for sure but just like riding a bike.)

4:22 PM | We’re standing in the photo pit waiting for Cap’n Jazz (another Chicago band—yay!) to begin and the head of security is telling his guys that one of them needs to take a break. “Already did, boss,” one responds, holding up a half-eaten monster of a ham sandwich. “No, I want you to sit. I want one of you to take a break,” bossman reiterates. “We’ll be dead tomorrow it doesn’t matter,” another jokes. “No seriously I wanna work this one,” Mr. Ham Sandwich says mid-bite. “This guy is crazy. He goes nuts.”

4:38 PM | Mr. Ham Sandwich is 100% correct. “We’re Queens of the Stone Age thanks for coming!” lead singer Tim Kinsella jokes, minutes before leaping into the crowd to get tussled around while still singing. Their set is one of the most memorable—and best—of the weekend.

5:09 PM | Gwar just entered the press area and I’ve never seen so many industry professionals lose their composure all at once and to this extent. I mean, reporters are begging them for selfies. BEGGING. Literally everyone is ignoring their assignments to get photos with these sci-fi, man/beast, heavy metal warriors.

6:20 PM | TV on the Radio is a consistently great live band. See them.

7:02 PM | Thirty years later Dinosaur Jr.’s outstanding sophomore album, You’re Living All Over Me still kicks ass. The sun is coloring everything with a golden hue as J. Mascis works his guitar magic, Lou Barlow bounces around on bass, and Murph thumps on the drums.

8:22 PM | M.I.A. is late to the stage but she quickly makes up for it, playing crowd-pleasing cuts from albums spanning her career. It’s a dance party at the Rise Stage.

8:37 PM | Riot Fest’s peak supergroup moment is happening: Prophets of Rage is dominating right now. Their setlist pulls from all of their backgrounds—Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill, Public Enemy, Audioslave. Honestly, I’m so freakin’ happy right now.

8:48 PM | The highly anticipated Jawbreaker reunion is underway! To put this in perspective: this band has played three shows in 21 years. That’s…not a lot. So, yeah, everyone is basically losing it right now. “Nobody goes to work tomorrow! General strike! Fuck this country,” singer/guitarist Blake Schwarzenbach declares, adding later “Dance and be nice.” The crowd abides, still in awe and disbelief that the reunion is actually happening. It’s a perfect way to end the weekend.

9:45 PM | See you next year, Riot Fest. Until then, in the words of Andrew W.K., “Party hard.”

CAP’N JAZZ

DINOSAUR JR.

GWAR

JAWBREAKER

M.I.A.

MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES

PROPHETS OF RAGE

THE ORWELLS

TV ON THE RADIO

WU TANG SWEAT MARK

RIOT FEST CHICAGO, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2017

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