Festivals: Riot Fest Denver 2016 Day 2

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Day Two of Riot Fest Denver was full of new and classic bands. I got out of the rodeo arena finally and out into the mountain air. I forget that Denver is actually closer to the sun and I was dying. So take note when traveling to this festival that the altitude is higher, the sun is closer, and there is not too much shade outside the arena.

imageBack to bands though. Tigers Jaw was my first band of the day. I was super psyched to see this band. They have been a favorite of mine for the past few years but they have not quite made out on tour to Texas (at least that I was aware of). I wasn’t disappointed. They have a really good live presence and they play with precision. Their fans weren’t annoying which is something I worry about with younger bands. A lot of people knew the lyrics and loved their set. I wish they had a bit longer to play but that comes with paying your dues. I also loved their aesthetic and staging. Hope to see them again in the near future.

imageI have seen the band name Meat Puppets for years. I have read countless articles about how they influence Kurt Cobain and many other bands from the 90s. I honestly couldn’t name a song by them. I am super glad I could catch them at Riot Fest. They played during the day in a middle slot. In my opinion, an established band could have been on at a later time but you never know if that is something the band requested. Regardless, they are still pretty damn amazing. I haven’t seen that kind of guitar skill in a very long time and I can tell why people worship this band. Their lyrics are poignant and creative. Their fans love them, so all in all they are a great damn band.

imageThe one band I REALLY wanted to see live was Violent Soho. I have been listening to Hungry Ghost for almost two years now. It is seriously one of my favorite discoveries. I was in a real music slump and this band revived my senses. I love how they shred, play the loudest, and have a 90s kind of throwback sound. I had no clue they were from Australia which explains their lack of touring since its obviously far. Their live show was epic and worth the trip. Violent Soho doesn’t sound like a carbon copy of their recordings. Seriously they are one of best bands in the festival lineup. They have a new release called Waco and I can’t wait for this band to blow up.

Against me! is one of my favorite bands. This band is fascinating due to the fact they are changing like a chameleon to adapt to ever-changing culture landscapeimage. I like that they don’t do the same thing every album and their classic songs are solid. My favorite album by them is the Crime EP. I love its rawness and I felt it was recorded right as they grew exponentially. They have changed band members and even have survived a transgender announcement. What is great about this band is that nothing has phased the music and the band continues to grow as just as strong. I have seen Against Me! in tiny venues and now I have seen them on major festivals. I am glad that their fans have grown with them and hold them up when they need it the most. I am super excited to listen to the new album Shape Shift With Me that came out the past week. Their set was stellar and there is much more to see when it comes to this band. I also got a sweet Against Me! shirt.

I have seen Leftover Crack more in these past few years than when I was first listening to them many years ago. I remember being a teen and seeing the album cover for Fuck World imageTrade and thinking how shocking it was. I was compelled to buy that album and it was like nothing I had ever heard before. Stza voice is erratic but once you realize what messages and stories these songs tell you get it immediately. They are still relevent and important to the punk community since a lot of the issues this band brings to the forefront haven’t gone away. I love their mix of dance, metal, and ska. You wouldn’t think these genres go together so well but that is what gives them their unique sound. It was by far the best pit to be in at Riot Fest.

Sleater Kinney is the soundtrack of my life. I used to paint their lyrics on my walls and scribble their band name on my notebooks. I seriously cried when they called it quits. Luckilyimage they reconsidered their retirement and gave us the album No Cities to Love this past year. I honestly thought I would never see them live but this is the second time seeing them live at Riot Fest. I loved their set. I think every single member has an amazing musical skill. They played a mix of their hits and a few new songs. I had a hard time loving their set because I knew it was going to be short. I just wanted them to play a whole concert, let’s be real. I was also sad because I hope they continue to play as Sleater Kinney and make music in the future. It was a bittersweet end of the day for me in Denver.

I caught a bit of Ween. I do like them but I had to save my energy for the Misfits. But I will say that Ween has the most unique fan base I have ever seen in my entire life and will be forever fascinated with that.

 

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.