Riot Fest once again proved itself to be the music fest for grownups. Grownups in black t-shirts.
While all the other big festivals rotate the same dozen headliners, it’s great that Riot Fest has retained its punk rock focus. Maybe not as strictly as during its first several years as a multi-venue festival, but most of the performers still fall somewhere along the punk rock spectrum. And even the ones who don’t play distorted guitars could be said to have a punk rock attitude. Gotta respect that.
Riot Fest sometimes gets accused of cashing in on nostalgia. Sure, a lot of the bands peaked 20 or 30 years ago (or more). But the fact that they’re still around and kicking ass is a testament not only to their survival but to our own. We should all hope we age as gracefully as the most of these artists (Al Jourgensen excepted).
Headliners this year were Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, and a reunited Jawbreaker, playing their first full show in 21 years (other than a couple warm up gigs around San Francisco last month). The headliners get the big font on the poster, but fest diehards know that the undercard is always where the action is.
It was hot and sunny when we got to the park on Friday. You never know what you’re going to get in September in Chicago, but you can usually count on at least some rain. The line to get in was down the block and security was being thorough. I heard one guy complaining that they had opened his cardboard cigarette case the wrong way and wrecked it. A woman behind me was worried she was going to miss X, who she had last seen in 1983 with the Replacements opening up for them! Don’t worry, she made it in with time to spare.
The Cribs have somewhat improved their haircuts and got back to being a three-piece after a short stint with Johnny Marr in the band. They also seem to have discovered Nirvana recently. So there. Dig it.
The Cribs are playing Riot Fest at 6:20 PM on Friday, September 15.
This was a sold out 1200-capacity crowd in the basement venue at Newcastle University. The crowd featured a mix of ages thanks to the new (older) fans of The Cribs that have come onboard since Johnny Marr joined.
In a recent interview with Evening News 24, Johnny Marr admitted that he really likes the music he’s made over the years.
“I really loved the Modest Mouse album. I like a lot of Smiths records. I like Dusk by The The. I like some of the Electronic singles. It’s all part of the same life to. If I owned a jukebox, which I don’t, I could probably fill it with 45s out there that I’ve played on and enjoy.”
Here are the five singles featuring his own work he said he would put in that jukebox.