Where the hell did Summer go? That’s the question on everyone’s mind right now, but hey, it aint all bad! Y’know why? That’s right! Riot Fest is around the corner. The lineup is stacked per usual. We could write a book as long as Stephen King’s “It” on all the great bands performing this year, but that’s why they made a movie! And that’s why we’ll just give you the highlights, and the performances you do not. Want. To. Miss.
Paramore – If you haven’t heard “After Laughter” yet, I’m not sure what you spent your summer listening to. The feel good album of the year is laced with lyrically darker undertones, but none dark enough to keep you from getting up on your feet and boogieing harder than the times we’re in. Hayley Williams is one of those rare talents that manages to sound just as good, if not better live. This is assured to be one of the best performances of the festival, and one you’d have to be crazy to miss.
The Menzingers – Weirdly enough, some of 2017’s best albums contain the word “After.” The Menzingers released one of the most criminally underrated albums of the year with “After the Party,” and their live shows parallel the sonic fury packed into the album. Even if you’ve never heard them, by the second go around of the chorus to “Lookers,” you’ll be singing “Sha-la-la-la Jersey Girls” as loud as the die-hards around you.
Wu-Tang Clan – You know they aint nothin’ to fuck with, but did you know that they’re performing their magnum opus “36 Chambers” in it’s entirety? That’s right. Not sure who will be taking the reins on ODB’s verses, or if they’ll gloss over them entirely, but dude. This is hip-hop royalty, performing what maybe a once in a lifetime set.
Bayside – Speaking of artists performing their magnum opuses, Long Island’s favorite Emo-Punk band is honoring the ten year anniversary of their 2007 masterpiece “The Walking Wounded” with a front to back performance of the album. If you’ve never seen or heard of these guys, just imagine your favorite emo/pop-punk band, and then insert some heavy shredding solo’s and some show tune-esque qualities. They’re one of the most diverse bands in their scene, and their fan base don’t call themselves a cult for nothin’.
Nine Inch Nails – Trent Reznor has a reputation of making great music for being mad and/or sad. 2017 has had this weird way of consistently keeping us mad or sad with all of what’s going on in the country, and world even. Can you really picture a better way to spend a Friday night than screaming the words to “Head Like a Hole” with thousands of other people? We didn’t think so.
Queens of the Stone Age – It may feel a little unnecessary to tell you you need to catch headliners for this festival, but c’mon, I feel like I’m giving you good reasons here. QOTSA just released their first album in three years, the Mark Ronson produced “Villains.” Thanks to Ronson’s creative input, this is the most danceable album of the bands career, so get ready to put the roll back in rock n’ roll, because Saturday night is ending with a party.
Beach Slang – What’s that? You like Titus Andronicus, but wish they wrote more concise songs? You like Bruce Springsteen, but you wish he had a little more edge? You like the beach, but you wish it had it’s own vernacular? Look no further, compadre, because Beach Slang is the band you didn’t know that you don’t deserve. They’re on early in the day, so you’ll have to shake off that Saturday night hangover, but it’s totally worth it. There’s no better band to crack a beer at noon to.
New Found Glory – Nobody may be more surprised than New Found Glory’s staying power, more than themselves. They released their NINTH full length album of original material this year, and with it, they’ve remained one of the most consistent bands in their genre. They’ve been spending the better part of this year playing two of their albums in their entirety in a night, so the band will probably be stoked to play a regular set of songs. Their high energy, and upbeat stage presence make them one not to miss.
The Lawrence Arms – Chicago’s own are another band playing a fan favorite front to back, with 2006’s “Oh, Calcutta!” The Lawrence Arms are notorious for pulling no punches with their stage banter, or their raucous live performances. Playing one of their best albums to a hometown audience, in a festival catered to the styles of their major influences? Hard to argue with catching these guys.
Jawbreaker – Another Riot Fest, another pivotal punk band rejoining to play it. Jawbreaker haven’t played together for over 20 years, save a few warm up performances this year for the festival. These guys were poised to be monsters in the scene, opening up for Nirvana before eventually disbanding prematurely. If you miss these guys, you’re not punk, and I’m telling everyone.