If anyone went to Riot last year they know that it was a mud mess, and we painted the city of Chicago brown just from the remnant mud from our shoes. After destroying Humboldt Park, the move to Douglas Park was a refreshing change. That is, until we destroyed it. Aside from the mud, the park was beautiful, and the stage setup was superb! I had no problem getting to and from each stage as I had to split so many sets. The lineup was stacked this year with so many bands that I wanted to see, and a majority of them were even bands I had never seen before which is surprising! I did my setlist research before hand and basically knew when I could hop to the next act I wanted to see, or if I needed to come back toward the end of a set to hear that one song from said bad that I just HAD to hear. I ended up seeing a grand total of 57 bands at the fest itself, but if you count the kickoff show and post show I went to I rounded out the weekend with a whopping 60 bands!
The Academy Is… kick-off show alone was such a great way to start off the weekend! Finally seeing them was very rewarding, especially because they played Almost Here in it’s entirety, and I got to see it twice in one weekend! The energy was amazing, and it felt like they still had the chemistry on stage. Day One was full of “finally” moments for me. I finally got to see Living Colour of whom I have been listening to with my Dad since I was a kid. Between the guitarist and singer, they hit all the notes to solidify their place as rock and roll legends. Anthrax was another finally for me. I have wanted to see them for years, and now I have seen 2 of the Big 4 legends. I was relatively wore out before their set, but from the moment they started playing I was rejuvenated and started to headbang like there was no tomorrow! Bayside played their whole self titled album from front to back which was great because even after seeing them 14 times I still hadn’t seen a few songs off that album. Day One ended the best way possible with No Doubt (finally!!!) I have loved them for as long as I could remember. I blame Gwen Stefani for my desire of blonde women. I managed to work my way up to about 40 yards from the stage, which was great because I was nearly 140 to begin with.
Day Two was my marathon day. I had to split so many sets, and run so much I was so happy to find the $2 hotdog stand. Decisions had to be made like how much of Alexisonfire should I see while one of my favorites The Devil Wears Prada was on at the same time across the park? How much of The Joy Formidable should I see before catching The Movielife’s intense set? Saturday was full of artists I had never seen before and that excited me. Beginning the day with The Ataris and ending it with System of A Down was a Saturday well spent.
Day Three was expected to be more chill than the first two with more full, or close to full sets. I even got to high five Adam Lazzar from Taking Back Sunday before watching their set for the third year in a row at Riot (although it was my 7th time seeing them in general, and my second time meeting him). Day Three was another full day of “finally” bands such as Cypress Hill, De La Soul, Andrew McMahon (for the simple fact that he played Something Corporate, and Jack’s Mannequin songs), L7, The Prodigy, and the almighty Tenacious D! The D easily stole the show as the best of Sunday. Jack Black is hilarious on stage, and such an incredible artist too. The performance was definitely quite the spectacle, and I am so glad I got to witness it! One thing I’m not too pleased to have witnessed was The Dwarves’ guitarist only wearing a leather jockstrap, luckily I missed them getting completely naked at the end of the set! The Rancid post show at the House of Blues was a great way to finish off the weekend with some tunes from one of my favorite punk bands!