Riot Fest 2008 part two

Riot Fest continued as my blood sugar level and energy started dropping. I went to the catering room backstage for a quick sugar fix, stepped out the side door to make a quick phone call and then got back to work.


Mighty Mighty Bosstones


Mighty Mighty Bosstones


Mighty Mighty Bosstones

The next band was one that a lot of people in the audience were there to see. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I was not one of them however as I’ve never understood the appeal. About 100 people came out on stage dressed in suits and picked up a variety of instruments, including horns. There was one guy on stage whose sole job it was to dance around. He didn’t hold still for more than about 2 seconds at a time. The band plowed through what I imagine were all their “hits” though I didn’t recognize all but one of them. The crowd was the biggest in size that I’d see all day and they were all having a great time watching and dancing and singing along. It was nice to see a lot of happy faces in the crowd even if I didn’t understand how that was the band that did it for them. Despite not liking their music at least the band were entertaining to watch, they are good showmen, I’ll give them that.


Jay Reatard


Jay Reatard


Jay Reatard

Jay Reatard was next. I know lately he’s put out a bunch of records and people seem to dig him, but until this show I never heard his stuff before so I was curious to see what the hype was about. All I can say is holy shit, I think I get it! Fast melodic punk with a bit of a lo-fi edge to it. It reminded me like a faster Ramones with more punch. I am making a vow right now to pick up a couple of his records and I’d love to see him play again sometime for sure.


Big Drill Car


Big Drill Car


Big Drill Car

Big Drill Car were a band I remember being around and hearing a couple of records by but never really paying much attention to. I wasn’t even aware that they either stopped playing or got back together for this show. When they started playing their sound seemed a little familiar to me. By about the third song they really seemed to take it to the next level and something about them just clicked with me and I was really enjoying them. When they were done I felt bad for not giving their records a listen more (or even keeping any of the ones that were sent to me in the old fanzine days) and now I’d like to revisit them. They weren’t an obvious choice to me except for their association with All, but when they were done, I was really glad they were part of this show as they ended up being one of the highlights.


Leftover Crack


Leftover Crack

Leftover Crack soon followed. I’ve seen them play once before and they are another band that I never understood the appeal. The kids really seem to love them and they are an energetic band, but ska punk is pretty much my least favorite style of music. For whatever reason, Security decided to kick out all the photographers after three songs which is the only time the entire day they did that so as a result I only got a few usuable photos of these guys.


The Casualties


The Casualties


The Casualties

The Casualties took awhile to set up but once they started they came out with all guns blazing. They played last year’s Riot Fest as well and this year I think they sounded a lot better. They really don’t let up and they have a very old school sound to them which I liked. Aside from their soiling of a Ramones song to close their set with (which I think they also did last year), I really enjoyed them this time out. The crowd did as well, the kids were flying all over the place.


All


All (and Lew singing along!)


All (the mighty Bill Stevenson)


All

This just left All, who took their sweet time setting up and got off to a late start. In the past I saw All twice, once was their very first tour with Dave Smalley as their singer, and once a couple of years later when they changed singers. I don’t recall the other singer’s name as I stopped following All after the first couple of records. They were one of the bands that I just let slip through the cracks for no reason other than I just was lazy about keeping track of them back then. They too had a sizeable crowd eating up their every song. I have to say that I only recognized a few of the songs, along with a Descendents song which drove the crowd crazy, but every song I heard sounded really good and you’d think they never took any kind of break from playing as every song was tight and sounded excellent.


All


All

I was so wiped out from being in the middle of work crunch and not sleeping much that I didn’t have the engergy to stay until the end of All’s set. I guiltily slipped out of the venue about half way through their set. I was told that a few songs shy of completion, the club pulled the plug because the show ran late and the crowd were pissed off, and rightfully so. I also learned this was all the venue’s doing and was in no way the fault of the Riot Fest staff. It sucks that such a good performance was cut short.

Riot Fest 2008 was a more diverse show this year and I think that worked to their favor. Despite my being worn out before I got there, the show lifted my spirits and I had a great time and so did everyone I talked to in attendence. The show is becoming an institution here in Chicago and I’m glad to see it continuing as it really is one of the highlights of every year, and one of the only things that makes the bringing of the cold weather tolerable!