Seven years after its beginnings in Chicago, Riot Fest has hit its stride. This year’s festival is taking over not only the Congress Theater, but also turning Humboldt Park into a full blown carnival, including multiple stages, Ferris Wheel, traditional rides and of course a wrestling ring for lucha libre battles. The real draw of course are the bands on this bill. With heavy hitters such as Iggy and the Stooges, Rise Against, Descendents, Alkaline Trio, Hot Water Music, Dropkick Murphys and Elvis Costello to name a few the real highlights are going to be those bands still making a name for themselves. If you are a fan of punk, rock, hard core, ska, or just looking for great music and a way to spend one of the last nice weekends of the summer this is the festival for you.
Friday 6:45 - Congress Theater
Emily Armstrong and Siouxsie Medley are the two dynamic front women of the L.A. based outfit Dead Sara. If you are a fan heavy guitars, traditional rock and punk mixed with a hint of psych rock and blues, this is the band for you. With their debut album under their belts,they have hit the road. It’s no surprise they are growing in popularity largely due to their song “Weatherman.” Armstrong’s ability to project so much passion, strength, and energy, while still carrying a melody and tune amazes me. Part rock, part post- punk, part post-hardcore, whatever category you want to lump them in Dead Sara is not only a band to catch this weekend, if you were lucky enough to grab a ticket to a now sold out Friday night, but a band to become familiar with before they are the ones headlining the major venues and festivals.
Henry Clay People
Sunday 12 - Roots Stage
Having caught these guys in a rare acoustic set down in Austin at this year’s SXSW, I was not prepared for what they offered full force. Having been put into the company of bands such as Japandroids and Deer Tick in recent reviews of their latest release Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives it is only fitting that they are a must-see band. For those not as easily swayed by the company, this is a band that is still making music not only because they can but because they seem to be having a great time doing so. True musicians making music unapologetically speaking the truth through lyrics. Wanting to add a bit of Americana nostalgia feel to your day this is the band that will give you all that only a bit edgier.
Sunday 12:30 - Riot Stage
Looking to start Sunday off right? Then this is the band to see while nursing the hangover from Saturday night. Their sound ranges from rock to electronic-reggae to slightly more indie pop and having just released their debut album this Las Vegas based band is one I can not wait to see live. After recently reviewed their album Night Visions, I became hooked. If you are looking for some music that you may not already be familiar with, this is definitely the set to come early for. Their sound is easily more welcoming on first listen than others who may be playing later in the day. That doesn’t mean they are slacking on the intensity or passion that can easily be heard on their recordings I am more than excited to see how they match it live.
Sunday 4 - Rock Stage
If you haven’t heard AWOLNATION’s hit song “Sail,” you probably haven’t watched any TV or tuned in to the radio in the past year. This song has a laundry list of shows and commercials it has been featured in, and rightfully so. The song is just plain catchy. This band is now on it’s way to showing how much more than one song they really are. Having been dubbed, electronic pop, I feel this band might be the much needed stop over for a bit of a breather in between the rest of the day’s sets.
Sunday 4:10 - Rebel StageWhite Mystery, hailing from Chicago are moving past just being known in the city as they are gaining recognition for their talent as a brother and sister duo from all over. Possibly coming from the wrong decade this band blends psychedelic rock with a bit of a pop punk edge. Alex has been named one of the “Top Ten Female Guitarist to Look Out For” by Guitar World. These two know how to put on a good show and have fun while doing it. For a bit of time travel catch this rock families set first hand.