LIVE: Riot Fest Saturday: Corn Dogs For All

By Mike Petruccelli

Sometimes when it comes to scheduling with music festivals, you have to make sacrifices. What makes it even worse is when other factors come into play like crowds, people, and general lack of energy. This is how my second day at Riot Fest evolved, it was the day I saw the least amount of bands, but luckily I saw some acts that were just spectacular. Here we Go.

9/13/14- Riot Fest Day Two

7:31am- “Why did we decide to mix Jameson with the hot cider last night? Jesus Christ.”

9:33am- I returned to my house via two buses, my guests who are staying with me are asleep so I watched a bunch failed marriage proposal YouTube videos to feel good about myself. I acquired sushi from the grocery, it was pretty delicious.

1:18pm- After a long morning of preparing for post-Riot Fest after party at my place, I realized I was running late to the festival and missed two bands I’ve always wanted to see- RX Bandits and Anti-Flag (mainly for nostalgia sake). Once I arrived at the gate I stood in line to get through with my buddy Justin (thanks for the line cut bud!) and we both noticed quickly that the mud was still terrible. My Doc Martens would have to suffer another day in the shit storm that was on the ground. Luckily, it was a cool and sunny day and I’ll take that over rain everytime.


1:35pm- The one positive outcome that came from missing RX Bandits was seeing Samiam, one of the best punk/alternative bands from the 90’s. As I stood center stage, I watched them play an energetic opening set while people bobbed their heads and sang along. One of the memorable things about the set was the singer Jason Beebout taking swigs of whiskey from a comically large Jim Beam bottle. Alcohol consumption aside, Samiam as a whole were extremely tight live, you could tell they had chemistry as a band and it was refreshing to see considering it was only 1pm and I had a day’s worth of music to see. They ended the set with “Dull” from the album “Astray” and I couldn’t help but sing along with the crowd.

1:40pm- After Samiam, I decided to stick around the Rebel/Riot stages and watch 7 Seconds perform an intense and chaotic set. They careened through songs spanning their entire catalog from 1984 to the present, playing some fan favorites such as “Here’s Your Warning” and “We’re Gonna Fight.” I mentioned in the day one review that many of the veteran bands I saw at Riot Fest played some impressive sets, 7 Seconds was a perfect example. Very few bands throughout the festival maintained that much movement and energy onstage, it was really impressive to see. I also noticed throughout their set that their drummer who recently turned 40 (as stated by Kevin Seconds during a break in songs) played with more heart and energy than most drummers in their mid 20’s. I have always been convinced he’s some freak of nature, however that’s what music does, it keeps you young.

2:25pm- Fuck chicken strips, corndogs are the best food ever. #realtalk #whyiamihashtagginginareview

2:31pm-**DEFCON 1!!! MY FIRST FESTIVAL CONONDRUM** The Rock Stage at Riot Fest was a burden for me on Saturday. Its distance meant I had to make some changes in my schedule that switched up my day, but not necessarily in a bad way. Regardless, If I wanted to watch a set at Riot Stage and then walk to the Rock Stage, it was a good 15 minute walk, 20-25 minutes with crowds. Because of this (and that impromptu corndog luncheon, party of one) I missed Streelight Manifesto as well as RX Bandits, as aforementioned. When it came to any flaws with this year’s festival, it was mainly the inconvenient horseshoe design of the park, resulting in a LOT of heavy traffic on Saturday and Sunday (seriously, lots of fucking kids too, OH HEY LOOK AT HOW CRUDMUGEONLY I CAN GET).

2:32pm- #trupunx

3:07pm- Luckily, with mistakes, you sometimes have good things come of them. That’s why it was only after City and Colour started playing that I didn’t regret my decision to stay near the east side of the park. From the moment singer Dallas Green started singing the song “As Much as I ever Could” there was electricity in the air that I didn’t get from any other set at Riot Fest. It was mostly the mix of the music, the crowd and the perfect weather that was shining upon us. It was similar to when I saw Promise Ring at Riot Fest 2012, the senses plus the environment connected it was a pretty spectacular feeling. As for the musicianship, City and Colour were definitely one of the most skilled acts I saw, playing with dynamics and elements of that slow folky indie rock that just worked almost a little too well in my opinion. It was definitely the highlight of day two for me.

3:39pm- After listening to a full set of slow songs, I was ready for something a little more fast paced so I hightailed back to the Rebel Stage to catch see Face to Face, one of California’s most prominent pop punk bands. Upon arrival, I instantly noticed the mix people spanning from high school kids to parents with children. It’s something that really isn’t unusual at Riot Fest though, aside from its overwhelming popularity, it still maintains a good amount of people from all ages.

3:41pm- Say what you want about them; Face to Face know how to entertain a crowd. All of the members were donned in collared shirts and slicked hair, went straight into “Walk the Walk” after a brief introduction. It was about a good ten seconds till a huge mosh pit happened in the middle of the crowd, an interesting thing to take in after the relaxed environment at City and Colour. Throughout their set Trever Keith challenged the right stage side of the crowd (who was sort of tame compared to the left stage crowd) to do a circle pit and prove they weren’t lame and uncool weirdos. I thought it was sort of lame but as soon as the next song played the challenged worked and all Hell broke loose. Touché Trever, touché.


4:33pm- As per the request of Maryam Hassan, she said she would kill me if I didn’t see Say Anything play “…is a Real Boy” live. So naturally, I walked across a majority of the park to the exiled Rock Stage. Since I am a huge fan of the record, I was excited so see “Admit It!” And “Yellow Cat (slash) Red Cat” (editors note: Mike in wanting to see songs about cat SHOCKER!) live. But before we get to that, here are some things that happened prior to the set.

4:40pm- I get my spot up near the front left of the stage. A Large drunk man holding a full beer yelled “YEAH, THAT’S HOW I ROLL, I PARTY HARD Y’ALL.” And then dropped his drink all over himself, followed by a collection OHHH’s by the crowd. Way to go dude!

4:43pm- I am berated by a high school girl. See below:

Girl: Can I read what you’re writing?
Me: No.
Girl: Why, do you not trust me?
Me: No.
Girl: At least tell me what website you’re working for.
Me: I work for Pitchfork.
Me: No.
*scoffs at me and turns to her boyfriend wearing some stupid hat*

4:45pm- A guy in a T-shirt covered in Nicholas Cage faces looks at me and says “Bro, I don’t get got, I get get” and then turns around as if he didn’t just say that to a complete stranger.

5:00pm- Here’s the thing about me and Say Anything, I am a big fan of one of their albums and I really, really, REALLY, don’t fit in with their crowd. So when I showed up it was pretty obvious that I was older and weirder than most of their fans (thus the interactions stated above). However, halfway through their set I didn’t regret it, that is until I realized they were really pushing it with time. They played a lot of songs off their recent album “Hebrews” and also “In Defense of the Genre.” Thus, once it got to the time where the “…Is a Real Boy” songs were supposed to kick in, they ran out of time. From what I could remember they barely played much of the album except for notable tracks like “Belt”, “Spider Song”, and “Every Man has a Molly.” Not to mention, like a handful of other bands that did the full album sets, the songs were out of order and spitting almost at random. I will say though, what they did play was stellar, and much as you might hate Max Bemis for whatever reason he does have an awkward but confident stage presence resulting in bursts of either passionate singing or tantrum-esque yells. The band itself (comprised with not one, but three guitarists) was on point and played well with Bemis as a main focal point. I wasn’t disappointed, but man did was it a bummer to not hear a lot my favorite songs on the album. OH WELL.

(Maryam’s Note: It turned out Say Anything weren’t playing “… Is A Real Boy” in full, they are returning to Chicago later in the year to do this, but I didn’t tell Mike this because EVERYONE should watch Say Anything if they’re playing)


6:35pm- After what felt like 300,000 people cramming into a small box, I decided that seeing Wu-Tang Clan would be impossible for me, there were just too many people. I did listen from the street for a while and watched someone waive a huge pot leaf American flag during their whole set (cue the Star Spangled Banner).

7:40pm- I went to the Riot Stage to prepare myself for The Descendents and “Milo Goes to College” in full. Prior to that, I watched Cock Sparrer be British for a few songs and I did not see enough of them to go in detail about it (and let’s be honest, you guys over in the UK know more about that than I ever will, right?).


7:58pm- I will be keeping this section short and sweet because there’s nothing I’m going to say that will warrant any real analysis; this is obviously because The Descendents are one of the biggest bands in punk rock. So, the first thing to note is that once the bass line to “Myage” started the crowd did not stop moving for almost 18 minutes, no lie. Every song was a powerhouse and it was like a moshing stamina race for some people. Also, another thing to make note is that this was the first “album” set that went from front to back, no bullshit, no rearranging. Milo even stated “Side One is now done” after “Catalina” which was pretty comical. As for the performance, I’ve seen Descendents three times in my life, every time they never seem to make any mistakes, its mind boggling and enviable on my part. Following the performance of the album, original bassist Frank Lombardo gave the stage to current bassist Karl Alavarez and they covered every hit you can think of such as “Everything Sucks”, “I’m the One”, “Silly Girl” etc. etc. etc.

11:30pm- After I left the festival, I went home to prepare for many out of town guests who would be inhabiting my yard for a few hours. We had a pretty memorable evening filled with new friendships, a bonfire, and drinking. I was exhausted and I realized I was going to have to buy a new pair of boots.