5 New Bands To See At Riot Fest 2015

Riot Fest 2014 - Chicago: Photo by Jake

Chicago – After months of speculation of whether or not Riot Fest would bring music to the punk rock, emo loving, not your cookie-cutter masses, thanks to a move from Humboldt Park to Douglas Park on the city’s South Side and a last-minute lawsuit, it seems we finally have the last festival of the summer on our hands. Although, September in Chicago really means you’ll get a dose all four seasons over the course of a day. So put on your rain boots, grab your gloves, bring a jacket, and maybe even a hat, then check out these new bands you simply must see at Riot Fest 2015!

Speedy Ortiz

Pitchfork - Speedy Ortiz by Sarah Hess

It seems lately everywhere you turn, Speedy Ortiz is proving over and over again just how amazing they are. From their brilliant album Foil Deer and the help-line they created to keep fans safe, to their knock-out interviews discussing GOP candidates and feminism, frontwoman Sadie Dupuis,drummer Michael Falcone, bassist Darl Ferm, and guitarist Devin McKnight are becoming music lovers’ most beloved indie band at the moment. Of course after seeing them perform this summer at The Echo in L.A., we believe the members of Speedy Ortiz deserve every ounce of attention that comes their way. Give them some of your attention, won’t you? Revolt Stage, Friday 8:00-8:30



FIDLAR by Alice Baxley

L.A. Punks FIDLAR are back with album number two, Too! They’re also a little bit older, a little bit sober, and a little bit poppier. But Zac Carper (rhythm guitar, vocals), Brandon Schwartzel (bass, backing vocals), Elvis Kuehn (lead guitar, vocals), and Max Kuehn (drums) will always be our favorite party punks. The foursome will surely bring it, and considering last time they played Chicago, they brought their pal Mario Cuomo, from The Orwells, out on stage, there’s a strong possibility they’ll bring out the whole band, who rocked Riot Fest last yearIn a recent interview with Best New Bands, Elvis hinted that there will definitely be “some surprises coming.” Be there or be square! Riot Stage,Saturday 12:50-1:30


Meat Wave

Meat Wave by Katie Hovland

We could insert some cheesy “when in Rome” joke here, but we won’t. We’ll save you the eye roll and just tell you, “You’re in Chicago damn it, so see at least one Chicago band, man!” We’ll also tell you Meat Wave is that Chicago band to see. The punk trio announced on Facebook that they’ll be playing plenty of songs off their sophomore album Delusion Moon, which isn’t due out till 9/18, so they’re basically giving you the honor of hearing it first folks. That’s Chicago hospitality for you! Be hospitable too and see drummer Ryan Wizniak, bassist Joe Gac, and guitarist and singer Chris Sutter rock the heck out of Riot Fest, or sleep with the fishes! What, it’s the Chicago way, in’it? Revolt Stage, Saturday 3:00-3:30



Alvvays live

Oh Alvvays, how we love thee, let us count the ways! Let’s see, there’s “Adult Diversion,” “Archie, Marry Me,” “Next of Kin,” “Party Police,” and oh heck, let’s just go with every song on that amazing self-titled debut album! Nine tracks makes for nine ways, but then there’s the fact that every song makes you feel so damn good and leaves you humming along. There’s also that cuteness factor of frontwoman Molly Rankin, keyboardist Kerri MacLellan, guitarist Alec O’Hanley, bassist Brian Murphy, and drummer Phil MacIsaac being best friends. Must we keep counting? Just go see these Canadian pop darlings! Rise Stage, Sunday 1:40-2:10



Kongos live at Lollapalooza by Sarah Hess

Surely by now you’ve heard of South African sibling band Kongos, but have you seen them live yet? If not, you must. Dylan, Danny, Jesse, and Johnny Kongos are talented beyond belief. Honestly, their radio play doesn’t do them justice because their stage presence is remarkable. You really need to see Dylan jump around barefoot while playing the bass, watch in awe as Jesse slays his drums, and let Danny make love to your ears with his slide guitar. Oh and lastly, you need to watch Johnny play the accordion because when was the last time you someone other than your grandpa rock one? Rise Stage, Sunday 4:25-5:05

There are plenty of great new bands playing Riot Fest this, so here are a few Honorable Mentions:

Into It. Over It., Rise Stage, Friday 1:15-1:45

White Mystery, Revolt Stage, Friday 7:00-7:30

Foxing, Revolt Stage, Sunday 5:00-5:30

Keep up with our Riot Fest coverage all weekend by following Best New Bands and Sarah Hess on twitter at @Best_New_Bands & @Sarahhasanh!


Sarah Hess

Sarah Hess

At the age of six, Sarah Hess discovered True Blue by Madonna. This resulted in her spending hours in front of the bathroom mirror with a hairbrush microphone, belting out "La Isla Bonita" off key. Her love for music only intensified over the years thanks to her parents; her mother exposed Sarah to The Jackson Five and had her hustling to the Bee Gees, while her father would play her albums like 'Pet Sounds' and 'Some Girls' from start to finish, during which he'd lecture on and on about the history of rock & roll. Sarah would eventually stumble upon rap and hip-hop, then punk and alternative, and fall madly in love with Jeff Buckley and film photography.

After attending The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Sarah went on to study education at Dominican University, earning a degree in history. When not teaching, writing, or taking in a show, she is most likely to be found with a camera to her eye or hanging out in a darkroom.

You can follow Sarah Hess on twitter at @Sarahhasanh and view her music photography on her website: smhimaging.com.
Sarah Hess

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