Riot Fest • 2019 Roundup
Ahead of the 15th Annual Riot Fest, we collected a list of tracks to listen to from the bands and artists we’re most excited to see perform this year, courtesy of our staff writers Sam Glaser and Geoff Henao. If you have yet to snag your tickets to this year’s edition of Riot Fest, you can purchase them here. In the meantime, take a listen to some of our top picks from the lineup which include Kali Masi, Lando Chill, Rise Against and many more.
Caroline Rose - ‘Blood on Your Bootheels’
Hailing from Long Island, Caroline Rose sounds more like a forgotten child of the American south. Her grimy shade of soul is very appealing to me.
Hot Water Music - ‘Remedy’
These fellas have been here before, and they're back again in support of dissent and their recently released Shake Up the Shadows EP. The bass will crush you into a slam dancing mood.
Hot Snakes - ‘This Mystic Decade’
Old hands at the touring music game, San Diego's Hot Snakes provide their third appearance to Riot Fest, their second at Douglas Park.
Cock Sparrer - ‘Because You're Young’
Though these men are anything but young, it hasn't stopped their jaunts across the world. You can't stop the train, but you can enjoy some old fashioned British punk!
Flaming Lips - ‘Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell’
For the first time since they blew the entire festival's power in 2014, The Flaming Lips are back on our outdoor stage to do it all again. Prepare for crowd surfers on or in inflatable objects. FFO: hallucinogens, love, and peace. And giant robots.
Blink-182 - ‘Dumpweed’
Blink-182 isn’t the same band without original guitarist/co-singer Tom DeLonge. Nevertheless, Enema of the State is what propelled the band to superstardom with singles “What’s My Age Again?”, “All the Small Things,” and “Adam’s Song,” all instantaneously recognizable songs to any pop-punk teenager in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s.
Rancid - ‘Time Bomb’
The nearly three-decade old punk band has run the spectrum of punk-inspired sounds over their long career, yet continue to put on amazing, entertaining performances. While I wish they were playing the entirety of ...And Out Come the Wolves this year, one of the band’s most popular albums that also found them some minor mainstream attention, their set is bound to be a drunk-filled dance and mosh party.
Jawbreaker - ‘Boxcar’
Jawbreaker is one of my top 5 bands of all time. Their appearance at 2017’s Riot Fest was one of their first live performances in over 20+ years and was thought to be a one-off reunion. Known as the type of punk band for intellectuals with singer/songwriter Blake Schwarzenbach’s lyrical content (which typically runs counter to their East Bay area band counterparts), they’re most recognized for the fan favorite song, “Boxcar.”
Lando Chill - ‘Black Boy Run’
Lando Chill produces tracks of a wide variety of styles, all with his unique signature, gracing the world with both bars and beautiful melodies. Thought-provoking and sometimes solemn, he carries the legacy of Chicago's lyricism with ease.
Prof - ‘Bar Breaker’
As the name suggests, Prof is a professor of verbal permutations. One of the Midwest's premier rap talents that lives happily under the radar, He can simultaneously be defined as a true professional who will likely be dressed to the nines and will definitely put on a good set, his first with Riot Fest.
grandson - ‘Blood // Water’
Boasting an incredibly high play count on Spotify, grandson is purely of the new school of songwriting. Style and genre barriers mean little to someone whose bass beats are strong enough to blind the weak.
Masked Intruder - ‘Crime Spree’
These four masked men are shrouded in secrets, emerging from the shadows only long enough to steal your heart! Angelic harmonies are the fire that sets off their rock n roll dynamite, cracking the safe where you hide your feelings.
The HU - ‘Yuve Yuve Yu’
It's been wonderful watching the folk metal scene grow in variety and style. One of the current frontrunners, Mongolian group The HU make music reminiscent of (though divergent from their grandpappies) the mighty Tengger Cavalry (Beijing, Mongolia). This set will feature heavy usage of traditional Mongolian instruments, as well as a couple chugging guitars.
The Selecter - ‘Missing Words’
On their fortieth year in existence, England's "SELECTA!" will be partying hearty with the city of big shoulders. Much to many an old head's delight, the Selecter will be playing through their freshman album "Too Much Pressure".
Manchester Orchestra - ‘Shake it Out’
As always, Manchester Orchestra is coming through, purveying musical arrangements more lush than they have any right to be. I've selected an oldie for the preview, with the hope they'll get past their angst long enough to rock for a few minutes.
Rise Against - ‘Blood-Red, White and Blue’
Rise Against has to be one of Chicago's greatest forays into the world of melodic hardcore music. Fifteen years in the game has yielded ten brutal albums with a message, their name alone being enough of a reason to revolt. Truly a band after Riot Fest's heart.
Wu-Tang Clan - ‘CREAM’
Wu-Tang Clan is no stranger to Riot Fest, having played the festival in 2014 and 2017. Riot Fest is all the better with the hip hop icons gracing the stage for another year.
Andrew W.K. - ‘She is Beautiful’
Andrew WK has become a staple of almost every Riot Fest. If you’re looking for a solid party full of positivity, you can’t do much better than catching their set.
Cursive - ‘Bloody Murderer’
Cursive’s 2003 album, The Ugly Organ, is another highly-regarded emo/post-hardcore album. The album follows a concept of analyzing the relationship between art and the artist, and the addition of former cellist Gretta Cohn gives each song a sense of gravitas not found in most other emo/post-hardcore bands.
Kali Masi - ‘Some Friends’
IIn the case of which art/math-punk band I'm most excited to see, Kali Masi show all signs of being my new favorite Chicago act. Their wall of sound knocks me down until the riffs pick me back up again.
Bob Mould - ‘Sunny Love Song’
After demolishing stages for ten years, Hüsker Dü's former singer-guitarist continued solo, expounding upon impulses and ideas that continued to fall from his fingers following the end of the group. He's been doing St. Paul proud as an oft-sighted member of Riot Fest's bill.
Ween - ‘Ocean Man’
How old were you when you realized that Ween's The Mollusk had a track selected for the SpongeBob Movie? From such beginnings as "I gots a Weasel", Ween has continued to scale the ladder, reaching such great heights. Get your weird on in their audience.
Bikini Kill - ‘Sugar’
If you've ever even considered dismantling the patriarchy, Kathleen Hanna and her band's sex-positive anthems had better be at the top of your list to thank. Few people in the punk rock scene have been able to subvert its misogynistic undercurrent in the way they did. If you liked Le Tigre, come sip from that stream's source on Sunday.
The B-52's - ‘Work that Skirt’
What can one say about this band that hasn't been said already? They're Devo without the funky hats, but with a pencil skirt, probably. Come on, it won't kill you to hear Rock Lobster live.
Taking Back Sunday - ‘Cute without the E’
Taking Back Sunday is another staple Riot Fest act. The festival vets will be performing two whole albums this year. Their seminal Tell All Your Friends, which features one of the best emo singalongs in “Cute without the E,” as well as their 2006 release, Louder Now. Trust me, they’ll be worth it for the “Cute without the E” performance alone!
American Football - ‘Stay Home’
This originally Urbana-based emo band’s eponymous debut album, released in 1999, was quickly recognized as one of the best emo albums ever, thanks to their songwriting and math-rock inspired instrumentation. I’ve never seen American Football live, but they’re one of my most anticipated bands on this year’s lineup.
Streetlight Manifesto - ‘Point/Counterpoint’
The insanely popular ska band returns to Riot Fest after a two-year hiatus. Streetlight Manifesto is known for their amazing horn lines, emo-influenced lyrics, and some of the catchiest hooks and choruses you’ll ever hear in a ska band all without the poppiness that proliferated the genre in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.
Skating Polly - ‘In My Head’
Skating Polly, hailing from Oklahoma City, originally formed in 2009 when its members were just 14 and 9 years old. The sister duo was discovered by Exene Cervenka, singer of the seminal punk band X, in 2010, and the band has continued to skyrocket ever since. Nothing beats good old-fashioned punk rock of which Skating Polly is the embodiment of.
Village People - ‘YMCA’
The Village People’s addition to this year’s Riot Fest is just another example of how fun and creative the festival’s lineup really can be. I don’t know what to expect from the decades-old group, but who can’t help but get swept into doing the YMCA dance during “YMCA”?
Against Me! - ‘I Still Love You Julie’
Against Me! Is one of the most influential bands of my life, and their full album performance of Reinventing Axl Rose is gonna channel my inner 17-year-oldn (I’m probably going to ugly cry when I hear “I Still Love You Julie” live). The band will also be performing Transgender Dysphoria Blues, an extremely personal album that followed and discusses singer Laura Jane Grace’s transition.