Festivals: Riot Fest Denver 2016 Day 3

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This is what dreams are made of. Before I die and my life flashes before my eyes, I will see the Misfits in that sequence. Before I get any further, let’s discuss the bands up till this historic moment in music history.

I got there a bit late on this Sunday. It’s day three. Festin’ in the sun and drinking Denver beer is hard. Regardless, I got to catch the last bit of Converge. They are pretty damn awesome. They come to Austin quite a bit and I see them usually on the Fun Fun Fun (RIP) lineup. Shout out to the guy in the crowd doing the best air drumming I have ever seen at the Converge set. Nailed it.img_7004

I finally got to see Murder by Death. They come to Austin a lot too. I also seem to miss them because there is a lot of musical competition in the live music capital as far as shows every night. They were better live then I expected in my head. I love their energy and musicanship. It even started to rain a bit but they kept firing away songs. I really want to see them in Denver again. They usually play at the Stanley Hotel every year. I totally get why this band would do such a crazy thing. I too enjoy the Shining. I hope that is something I can cross off my music bucket list.

The next block of bands was an interesting booking choice for Riot Fest. I don’t think I will ever see this at a festival again. They literally booked two cover bands back to back. I think they did that on purpose to see how people would react. It was pretty funny in my opinion. Chevy Metal is fun project by Taylor Hawkins while he is not doing the Foo Fighters thing. They are said to be the “ultimate cover band” but I think I have to beg to differ. While Chevy Metal soothes my classic rock soul, they are just not Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Me First is just so good about taking a song they love and making it their own. They have matching outfits. Their stage banter is worth the price of the ticket alone. Chevy Metal did have Spike Slawson come out and sing a song with them. It was kind of a nice musical break from the regular lineup but I am sure people that were attending Riot Fest will have plenty to say about this booking choice.img_6860

I took a meal break before Bad Religion. I needed all my nutrients for this band. It was the worst wrap I have ever eaten. The food there was mediocre at best. Seriously.

Bad Religion is everything. I don’t think they have casual fans. You are either all in or out. It was a bit rough during their set since it the sun was setting. The fans and band were sweating it out but their set was worth every ounce. They started with my personal favorite “Generator” which got me super hype for the rest of the set. The song “Stranger Than Fiction” has been speaking to me lately since I saw it live. It was also fun to see Fat Mike ambush ” 21st Century (Digital Boy)”. I get that excited when I hear a bad religion song and it is really cool to see other bands have the same reaction. Personally I think they should have opened for the Misfits. img_6876

The next band was Gogol Bordello. I think they are one of the best live bands out there. When I go to a Gogol Bordello show, I don’t expect to be quiet or my have my feet to touch the floor the entire show. I kind of bummed that there were no country flags flying around. I think that is what makes this band very unique. They can have this all these people from all over the world, come and dance together. Plus they look like traveling gypsies and have drums. They are such a touring beast of a band. I would also like a new record from them.

At the end of festival, I was tired. I flew several hours, had no sleep, and lived in the sun. I saw Samhain at Riot Fest a few years ago and that was pretty rad. I was starting to wonder if after all this time and energy, would I go home disappointed? Is this reunion an attempt to recapture a lost moment in time?img_7022

It literally one of the best shows of my life.

Let’s start with the stage. It was spooky. I expect no less. Skulls, pumpkins, devilocks, B-Movies, and Marilyn. All the things we love about the Misfits. The sound was awesome. I heard the Chicago date might have had issues, which was a fear for me. When I saw the Cure the last time I went to Riot Fest, the sound was really awful. I am sure things would have to up to this bands high standards into order to make this reunion even happen.

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I loved how they did their set list. They did a little bit from each album. I think this was the best strategy for this reunion. When you have a long history and solid albums, this set must be carefully crafted. Here’s the whole list:

  1. Death Comes Ripping
  2. 20 Eyes
  3. I Turned into a Martian
  4. Where Eagles Dare
  5. Mommy, Can I go out and Kill Tonight?
  6. Vampira
  7. All Hell Breaks Loose
  8. Hybrid Moments
  9. Teenagers from Mars
  10. London Dungeon
  11. Earth A.D.
  12. Green Hell
  13. Devilock
  14. Horror Business
  15. We are 138
  16. Hollywood Bablyon
  17. Halloween
  18. Die, Die my Darling
  19. Astro Zombies
  20. Skulls
  21. Last Caress
  22. Bullet
  23. She
  24. Night of the Living Dead

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I was going to highlight what songs I lost my shit over but there was way to many. I know I have sang “Skulls” a thousand times over. Usually at a local punk show. This time was so gratifying. The stage changed with every song and album. I loved how they still looked like the ideal of the Misfits. I mean it is hard to take a B movie sci-fi look serious. I honestly loved it. I feel Jerry Only, Doyle, and Dave Lombardo played the part. I felt like nothing had changed since 1977. Danzig did his class leather. I was curious to what angle he was gonna go. He is known for taking himself and his craft too seriously. I was also curious to how his voice would adapt back to the Misfits’ sound. I have seen him sing in Samhain and Danzig. They are different then the smooth 50’s style voices of the Misfits. Not far off but different none the less. His voice was flawless and didn’t miss a beat. The guitars were buzzy and full of that classic Misfits’ tone. I actually saw Danzig smile and he just layed everything he had out on the table.img_7018

I usually come back from a show and I could at least name one thing that could have been better. I was absolutely speechless. I have talked to several fans and have read countless articles about this reunion. Most people can agree this was an amazing reunion. We thought it would never happen and might have been over due. People were joking that The Smiths and Fugazi/Minor Threat are the only ones left to reunite. All I can really say about this reunion and festival in particular is that I am a super lucky girl that got to be part of an important moment in punk music history.

Here’s hoping for more music from the Misifts and a tour. If you believe the rumors.

*Apologies for the tall video, I am 5’3. The struggle is real at shows*

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.