Riot Fest day three recap

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Today proved the statement that good things can never last, as it was the last day of the glorious Riot Fest 2016. Today we had the chance to see all-girl rock band Sleater-Kinney, one of the first shows with The Original Misfits in decades, party rocker Andrew W.K. and more. Here are our thoughts on their sets:

Photo via:

Photo via:

Andrew W.K: Mid-Sunday afternoon, the Riot Fest crowd waited for Andrew W.K.’s set and suddenly a siren blared.  An announcement followed, “Hello everybody! It’s time to party! It’s time. To. Party! It’s TIME. TO. PARTY!”  On cue, Andrew W.K. bounced out with the enthusiasm of a small child and jumped into his hit “It’s Time to Party.”  Despite his crazy dance moves, not once did he miss a note on the keyboard.  His feel-good energy and positive vibes were infectious as the crowd joined in on the party and danced with incredible vigor.  A natural motivator on social media and in real life, Andrew inspired the crowd to party especially in darkest of times saying, “It is the most complicated times that deserve a party.” Halfway through his set, he shredded a Jimi Hendrix-esque “Star-Spangled Banner” salute to America.  As he started his last and most popular song, “Party Hard,” I felt dozens of people push past me to rush the stage, one in particular yelling, “I have to party!” And that’s exactly what we all did.  Andrew W.K. is not your everyday performer.  He is a motivational speaker, a keyboard wizard, a party expert and the hero we need, but do not deserve.

The Wonder Years: After the party-fueled lyrics and attitude of Andrew W.K, Riot Fest pulled a 180 on festival goers by scheduling The Wonder Years an hour afterwards on the same stage. The Wonder Years have always been known for the emotional lyrics depicting their frontman Dan Campbell’s struggle with depression and inadequacy. Their album “No Closer To Heaven” was actually born out of a writer’s block depression that plagued Campbell for a considerable amount of time after “The Greatest Generation” was released. This was something felt through their performance and in the crowd as The Wonder Years played. “I know the pain of seeing someone struggle with addiction, and I pray none of you have to see it happen to anyone you love,” Campbell yelled before playing the song “Cigarettes & Saints” from the album “No Closer to Heaven.” One of the amazing things about watching The Wonder Years play was seeing just how much they’ve had to overcome to get where they are. Even though struggle is characteristic of the punk and pop-punk genre, it was still cool to see the genuine emotion of those on stage and the way that they connected with the crowd. It goes to show that music can tell a story that can resonate with others in a way that can genuinely impact their lives.

Jake Bugg. Photo via:

Jake Bugg. Photo via:

Jake Bugg: English musician and songwriter Jake Bugg was able to play his folk and indie rock sound for the final day of the festival. As he strummed away on the guitar, the crowd swayed and danced along to his mellow tunes. Bugg played new songs like “On My One,” as well as old favorites like “Two Fingers.” The young artist was able to showcase his new sound, while still showing off his folk roots.

Sleater-Kinney: Sleater-Kinney is a three-piece, all-girl rock band, which was a change of pace from the male-dominated roster of bands playing Riot Fest this year. Their set was very influenced by punk and rock music, but a lot of their songs had an indie rock feel to them. The band played several of their hits during the set such as, “No Cities to Love,” “Bury Our Friends” and “Surface Envy.” “Shoutout to Riot Fest for having a zero-tolerance policy on harassment,” said co-frontman Corin Tucker after the band had played their first few songs. In a festival that showcased a lot of male-dominated bands, Sleater-Kinney provided a refreshing dose of feminist rock ‘n’ roll anthems that went over really well with the sizable crowd gathered at the Rock Stage to hear them play.

The Misfits: The Original Misfits was definitely the most talked-about act for both the Chicago and Denver Riot Fests. All of the original members of The Misfits have not played shows together since the ’80s, so it was a surprise for many when they were announced as headliners for Riot Fest. The Misfits are iconic in the genre of punk music, and their music and style has had a lasting impact on so many punk bands that are around today. As a result of this, there was naturally a massive crowd gathered at the Riot Stage at the festival to witness their return to the stage. When Glenn Danzig and the rest of the members of The Misfits came on stage, there was a loud roar of cheering from the crowd. The Misfits played classics such as, “Where Eagles Dare,” “I Turned Into a Martian,” “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?” and “Skulls” throughout the night. Danzig would pause between songs to interact with the crowd and at one point reminded them, “I hope you know what you’re witnessing … a lot of people said this would never happen.” The excitement from the crowd was contagious. Everyone around me was jumping around all over the place and belting out the catchy choruses along with the band, and I found myself doing the same thing. This was a great show overall because it was nostalgic performance by a band that is an important part of music history.

Overall, Riot Fest had a stacked lineup all three days of some of the biggest bands in the punk rock genre as well as some incredibly popular indie and rap acts that some may not have expected to see there. The sheer amount of variety made this a very unique and enjoyable music festival, and it will be very interesting to see how Riot Fest follows this up in the future with their 2017 festival.

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