TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/14

3:39PM: There’s a LOT of Slayer shirts at Riot Fest today. We’re ready for their final Chicago show.

4:17PM: Supergroup The Damned Things is rocking the Rebel Stage in the blinding sun. It’s a feast of talent featuring Fall Out Boy’s Joe Trohman (guitar) and Andy Hurley (drums), Anthrax’s Scott Ian (guitar), Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley (vocals), and Alkaline Trio’s Dan Andriano (bass).

4:46PM: Gwar and Riot Fest are synonymous at this point, so it’s always a treat to see them up close and personal in the press area. Guitarist Bålsåc the Jaws ‘O Death looks fierce—and I’m not just talking about the beastly balls dangling beneath his exposed ass. But then he takes a swig of his Bon & Viv spiked seltzer and I can’t help but laugh.

5:19PM: I have a quick chat with JP of Surfer Blood to remind him that he once crashed at my apartment the night before the band’s 2010 Pitchfork Fest set. That was fun—and so was their set earlier in the day.

5:34PM: My wife and I are playing one of our favorite games: “What Drug Is That Person On?” We’ve determined that the dude standing before us is on a combination of several, and while we can’t confirm his particular cocktail we can, in fact, confirm that it took him 3 minutes and 36 seconds to light his cigarette. The struggle is real.

6:04PM: The Struts are serving us some glam rock perfection. Lead singer Luke Spiller sounds like Freddie and moves like Mick.

6:26PM: There are lots of gems at the silent auction tent for the Coalition for the Homeless. Signed guitars and drum kits, posters and art from Riot Fest alums past and present. I hope a lot of money was raised.

7:28PM: A fan on the rail is biding her time by sharing her observations with a security guard: “It’s kinda fun to watch people crowd surf to bands that don’t need to be crowd surfed to.”

7:58PM: I’ve seen Wu-Tang Clan at least a handful of times and this might be my favorite time yet. To our surprise, they’re not only performing 36 Chambers in full, but late member Old Dirty Bastard’s oldest son has joined the remaining Clan on stage to rap his father’s verses. Easily a Riot Fest ’19 high point.

8:12PM: Another Riot Fest high point? None other than Mr. Riot himself, Andrew WK. Thrashing around in his signature white, he’s got the Rebel Stage crowd partying hard.

8:40PM: So this is it. Slayer’s final Chicago show. And, as would be expected of one of the most influential metal bands of all time, they’re not holding back. Their sound is crisp and loud and angry and there’s fire and smoke and everything you could ask for. They’re about to embark on a farewell tour and with a show like this it’s going to be hard to say goodbye.

9:10PM: Meanwhile at the Rise Stage, Bloc Party is busy playing Silent Alarm in full and trying not to be submerged by the violent noise and mesmerizing pyrotechnics of Slayer at the Riot Stage. They hold their own and Riot Fest Saturday is in the books.









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