TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/14

1:32PM: Riot Fest 2018 is officially underway! My first stop in Douglas Park is the Hellzapoppin’ Tent for their famous circus sideshow revue. A “half man” is walking on shards of glass and I’m in a panic that he’s about to bleed everywhere. He doesn’t, of course.

2:21PM: “Who wants to go on the Ferris wheel with me later?,” Liz Phair asks in between songs. The entire crowd raises their hands. She is on tour now in support of the 25th anniversary of her acclaimed debut album, Exile in Guyville. If the tour is anything like this set (and I’d guess it is), it’s not to be missed.

2:24PM: And let’s not forget Liz Phair is a Chicagoan! “I want to petition the new mayor to rename the Damen exit the ‘Exit to Guyville.'” I second that.

2:38PM: I am too late to catch The Fever 333, but I do manage to catch a bit of Lagwagon’s set. The California punk rockers have a hearty crowd singing along to every tune.

2:43PM: Despite missing The Fever 333, I happen to catch a cool moment—guitarist Stephen Harrison is taking a moment to talk to fans side stage. They are asking him about chord changes and begging him to bring the band to Pennsylvania.

3:27PM: Oh man I’ve been waiting for this set. It’s Pussy Riot time! The activist collective (““We are not a band, we’re a political movement.”) is in the news again—this time because one of their members, Pyotr Verzilov, is currently being hospitalized for suspected poisoning. “Today is the first time he talked,” leader Nadya Tolokonnikova updated the crowd in between songs. The considered cancelling their appearance at Riot Fest but “thought it would be more important to go on with it and tell people what happened,” she explained. The collective wasted no time getting to the point, as the masked members emerged carrying a large banner that read “We will punish those who poisoned Peter Verzilov.”

4:19PM: K Flay takes a break from head-banging to bring a fan onto the stage to propose to his girlfriend. Is this the first Riot Fest engagement?! Congrats to the happy couple.

4:53PM: The Front Bottoms are a clear fan favorite and the crowd surfing begins! “Tell your friends about us,” lead singer and guitarist Brian Sella requests. I have a feeling these rowdy fans will.

5:02PM: Walking to Digable Planets I catch Sum 41 covering Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” The crowd is going apeshit.

5:38PM: Butterfly, Ladybug Mecca and Doodlebug (a.k.a. Digable Planets) hit the Radicals Stage. Hip hop royalty in the house.

5:43PM: Whoa, I heard that Matt and Kim knew how to put on a good show but DAMN! They have more energy than a kid hopped up on sugar. It’s clear that they came here to have a good time. “I love that the two crowd surfers we’ve seen have been women,” Kim Schifino begins, “because pussy runs everything!” They unleash hundreds of balloons—and a few blow up dolls—into the crowd. More crowd surfing ensues.

6:12PM: Jack Antonoff is one busy and talented dude, so it’s nice to see him in Chicago performing with his band Bleachers. (Also I’d like to dedicate every photo I took to my cousin, Emma, who loves this band.)

7:38PM: I’m laying under the shade of a tree listening to Minneapolis’ Atmosphere. It’s perfection. “Put your hands up in the air for love and life!,” Slug sings.

9:00PM: Due to health issues, Riot Fest headliners Blink 182 unfortunately had to cancel their performance. Luckily none other than Weezer stepped in to close out night one. They break out all the hits—and some excellent covers, including (and appropriately) Blink’s “All the Small Things.”

9:54PM: Leaving night one, I witness my first barf-and-run. Fortunately no one was hit with the vomit. See ya tomorrow, Riot Fest!













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  • D avid

    that was me & my now fiancee that got engaged on stage with K.Flay was ammmaazzzing


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