Festivals: Riot Fest Denver 2016 Day 1

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It is said that “Riot Fest Sucks” (at least that’s what they want you think). I think setting the bar really low on expectations takes the edge off when it comes to impressing your audience. When it comes to Riot Fest, this festival has done such great lineups the past few years I am officially a repeat customer. I went to Chicago two years ago and this time I went to Denver. The Denver Riot Fest is almost a literal rodeo. Being from Texas, I understand this setting. It is almost too familiar. The festival set up was part rodeo, part Warped Tour parking lot.

Since I got there a bit late, I went straight to see my favorite fest band: Fucked Up. I think I love this band even more as they progress into their albums. I also enjoy Damian’s podcast.They played a short set but did not disappoint. They played classics like “Crooked Head” and  “Black Albino Bones”. I learned that “Black Albino Bones” is about record collecting and I am going to revisit that song. I think Fucked Up is really well thought out music but doesn’t take itself that serious either. The highlight of their live show was when Damian carried out armfuls of water for the audience and was still screaming into the mic.

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Damian Abraham of Fucked Up

I spent the rest of the fest in the literal rodeo ring. I got to see the Aquabats! I love that they are live action super heroes of sorts. I  have enjoyed their shows and have been a fan for years. Their fan base is literally little kids and way too old adults. But we are all on the same page here. We love to party and fight villains. Their stage show was the best in the sense that 1.) their songs are catchy 2.) they had dancing sharks like Katy Perry super bowl style 3.) they had inflatable pizza slices to crowd surf on: Surf’s UP!

My favorite highlight of the Aquabats set was when MC Bat Commander taught children to circle pit, literally. Yes they literally just ran in a circle but this will be an important concept they will learn later down the line. The children are our future after all. They also had some funny musical jokes where they would play parts of other people’s song you wouldn’t think the Aquabats would know. They are a lot more hip than you think for guys dressed in costumes.

The rest of the festival was a perfect trifecta of Fat Wreck Chords bands: Lagwagon, NOFX, and Descendents.Lagwagon is still one of favorites. They play each song with such precision and heart. I love their last album Hang a lot and was stoked to hear “Cog in the Machine” again live. They played their classics such as “Violins” and “Making Friends”. The only thing about big festivals is that you only get mostly classics from a band like Lagwagon but each one of theirs is a gem.

I was anticipating the NOFX set. The band has had a crazy year. They wrote a book. They did a tour. Fat Mike did a detox. I feel like this show would be a bit of a regroup for this band. Once NOFX took stage that rodeo arena was packed to brim with punk fans. I had to watch from the seats since the arena was getting too full. That’s great for NOFX though. I feel they did a great set and played newish songs such as “72 Hookers” and “I Believe in Goddess”. They debuted “Six Years on Dope” from their new album First Ditch Effort coming out in October. I am digging their new release so it was cool to get a preview. Their set was mediocre but I kind of want that from a NOFX. I only come to this conclusion from other NOFX fans at Riot Fest. I eavesdropped on a lot of conversations that either loved the set or thought it wasn’t their best. NOFX is not about perfection but they still know how to entertain.

The Descendents are one of my top ten favorite bands. I don’t think I could give them a bad review since I am super bias on the subject. I will say that I loved seeing them at Riot Fest Chicago two-year ago because they did Milo Goes to College front to back and that was a real musical moment. I was also excited to hear their new release Hypercaffium Spazzinate live for the first time. I believe their new album holds up live. They played a very good mix of all their albums and I can’t wait to see them in my hometown for Sound on Sound festival in November.

I also got to check out the half of the Deftones set. I still sweat that band a lot and I am not ashamed. By the end of the night I was all rodeo-ed out.

Podcasting and Punk: Top Recomendations

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I am a podcast addict. There are endless possibilites when it comes to podcasts. It can be artsy and deep or straight out crass. It keeps me sane in Austin traffic and on long flights. I feel like I have learned a little more about the world just listening to a 30 minute-hour long episode. I have done a ton of searching online and on the iTunes app. Here are my top recommendations on punk podcasts in no particular order or rank. Share the love:

Turned out a Punk: Damian Abraham is the beast at everything he does. I love his band Fucked Up and the energy of his live performances. Who knew he brought that kind of ambition to podcasting? Well he does. He has a vast knowledge of vinyl and music that is very impressive. He puts up episodes weekly, sometimes even sooner with the footnotes podcasts he adds too. He has interesting guests from musicians to industry people. He also gives an interesting take on the Canadian punk scene.

MMR Radio: I have been reading this zine forever. I am glad they have never changed because they do what they do so well. It is a mix of garage rock, punk, hardcore and indie. It seems to work really well together. They upload episodes weekly from bands that submit to their podcast and/or zine. Mostly just a music playlist and some talk. I have definitely found some gems within these playlists.

Rebel Songs Radio: This is my personal favorite out there. I had spent months looking for another female that discusses and plays punk music. It varies from hardcore, rockabilly, thrash, metal, oi, and punk. Which pretty much lists all my favorite genres. Support this awesome podcast!

Punk News: I am obviously a fan of Punk News. What is so great about this podcast is that if you don’t have the time to sit down and read your newsfeed, then this will catch you up immediately. They have awesome interviews from bands and talk current punk news. They also play tracks from new releases. They also have sub-podcast called The Wizard’s Beard and Space Punks. These podcast are exactly what you think they are.

Rocket Fuel: I REALLY enjoy Jeff’s podcast. The spectrum of genres are punk, ska, and indie. Even though this podcast is not 100% punk all the time, all the songs that he plays are music we still love as music fans. Also his guests are spot on. This podcast has truly interesting conversations from bands such as Face to Face, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, to FEST coverage. I think the reason I like this podcast the most is because you can tell it is very influenced by the 120 minutes era. Which I am totally that person too. I HIGHYLY recommend this podcast to any music lover.

Honorable Mentions

WTF with Marc Maron: Marc Maron’s podcast is one of the best out there. Yes, not all of them are punk. BUT occasionally there will be gems on their such as Iggy Pop, Flea, Mike Watt and many more. So it’s worth checking out even for those specific interviews.

Mostly Harmless with Dammit Damian:  I really dig this podcast out the Denver area. I also love the fact that Damian comes from the zine scene. His interviews consist of bands, comics, and nerd pop culture. He also has some aweosome live footages and old interviews to dive into.Definitely worth a tune in.

All Songs Considered: I get that NPR is super adult. It can be hard to sit through and listen. But this podcast is pure music nerd haven. Obviously not the most punk podcast out there but very surprising. In the past couple of months they have played great bands such as Greys, The Dirty Nil, and PUP. If you like a roulette of music that includes punk and all genres, then this is a great podcast choice.

My favorite punk podcast of this past year has to go to Rupual’s What’s the Tee with with Michelle Visage. I only mention this episode because it was with Henry Rollins. It is a superb episode. Little did you know that Rupaul and Henry Rollins collaborated musically? Exactly. Amazing episode. I personally listened to this episode twice!

**I am also excepting any recommendations for other punk podcasts not listed. I know there are probably more out there. Feel free to comment or leave a link below.**