What The A.V. Membership noticed at Riot Fest 2017

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Trent Reznor of 9 Inch Nails (Photograph: Wealthy Fury/Getty Pictures)

This previous weekend, a number of A.V. Membership staffers headed to Chicago’s Douglas Park for Riot Fest, the marathon three-day music pageant boasting roughly 90 totally different artists. And on account of a wide range of mitigating elements—household commitments, superior age, a normal dislike of crowds and warmth—we noticed solely a fraction of them. However we did see this stuff!

Friday

Massachusetts band The Hotelier began issues off gradual for its Friday afternoon set, doubtless complicated the informal drop-ins on the smaller Heather Owens stage who weren’t anticipating earnest, mid-tempo emo, and resulting in a small exodus throughout the first couple of minutes. However, the partaking group rewarded followers who caught with it, placing on a energetic present of screamingly emotive, sometimes raucous rock, all delivered with an inviting, amiably good-natured vibe. [Alex McLevy]

Full disclosure: I went to Soiled Heads’ set as a result of I had confused them with a completely totally different band I as soon as knew referred to as Dirthead. I used to be so stunned that they had gotten well-known! I used to be…. improper. I walked up anticipating lo-fi storage rock, so once I as an alternative bought generic reggaeton frat-hop—full with a long-haired white emcee who strapped on a guitar and started busting out uninspired, sub-Shaggy licks by the third music—I used to be very confused. A fast Google search corrected my false impression, but it surely was too late: I used to be there witnessing some Sugar Ray-level dubstep-rap. Because of some children to my proper, I used to be kind of enveloped in a cloud of pot smoke for the primary 20 minutes, so by midway by, I used to be nodding alongside, considering, “Man, that is fairly good!” However even these good vibes couldn’t overcome the “I don’t want no pussy” music they busted out. That was my cue to exit. [Alex McLevy]

I haven’t been closely into Ministry since I used to be about 15, when Psalm 69 and The Thoughts Is A Horrible Factor To Style soundtracked my scattershot adolescent rage at how everybody—the federal government, my lecturers, my boss on the drugstore, my dad—had been TOTAL FASCISTS. However that’s okay: Al Jourgensen hasn’t actually advanced previous that pissed-off teen both. So the commercial band’s set was nonetheless equal components righteous and ridiculous fury, with Jourgensen’s ripped-from-the-headlines-and-carved-into-your-homeroom-desk screeds getting a 2017 replace by way of new songs like “Antifa” (“We’re not snowflakes! / We’re the antifa!”), in addition to the occasional slam-poetry freestyle, equivalent to this one from the center of “N.W.O.”: “I keep in mind November 2016! / And I assumed it was a foul dream! / However right here we arrrrrre / Let’s go faaarrrrr!” (Hey Jane! Get me off this loopy factor… referred to as Trump.) Nonetheless, the extreme, closing barrage of that music, “Simply One Repair,” “Thieves,” and “So What” was fairly unfuckwithable; sometimes foolish although it is likely to be, Ministry continues to faucet right into a deep nicely of vaguely outlined anger that when extra had me able to smash the state, and perhaps even smoke a cigarette. [Sean O’Neal]

New Order provided sufficient laser lights and screens crammed with evolving geometric shapes—a number of triangles for “Weird Love Triangle,” natch—to show a grimy outside pageant into an intimate, late-’80s dance membership. (Mentioned a child behind me: “I can’t imagine that is truly taking place.”) The 11-song set wrapped with a crowd-pleasing trifecta of “Blue Monday,” “Temptation,” and Pleasure Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Aside” (backed by a tear-inducing display studying “Ceaselessly Pleasure Division”). I’d rank it amongst my high three all-time Riot Fest reveals, probably simply behind The Replacements reunion in 2013. [Gwen Ihnat]

There could also be no fashionable band higher at being large than 9 Inch Nails. The group’s Friday evening headlining set was as large because it will get, however—like Trent Reznor himself lately—it was a muscular large, quick on spectacle (simply the requisite smoke and flashing strobes) and freed from any Howdy Chicagooooo rock star posturing. The truth is, Reznor appeared oddly humbled, noting that he was “intimidated” enjoying subsequent to dwelling heroes New Order and Ministry, and paying tribute to a late one in tourmate and collaborator David Bowie with a devoted cowl of “I Can’t Give All the things Away.” I’d have most well-liked the band’s remodeling of “I’m Afraid Of Individuals,” although that clearly would have lacked the air of mourning Reznor was aiming for. Nonetheless, it will have slotted completely inside a playlist heavy on disaffected rage, each in classics like “March Of The Pigs” and “Head Like A Gap” and comparatively newer cuts like “The Hand That Feeds” and “Copy Of A.” Like Ministry, it’s been some time since I’ve been absolutely immersed in NIN; I drifted away after The Fragile, and lately I’m extra into the soundtrack work Reznor does with Atticus Ross and the ambient albums of its keyboardist Alessandro Cortini. (I used to be particularly excited to see each Ross and Cortini on stage right here.) That stated, it took roughly 10 seconds of “Want” earlier than all these outdated emotions got here flooding again, delivering a catharsis that felt timeless and—particularly for a pageant headlining set—surprisingly private. [Sean O’Neal]

Saturday

I went Saturday mainly for Danzig’s set, but it surely was a fairly paint-by-numbers snooze, prompting me to wander away to the a lot smaller Heather Owens stage and catch The Regrettes, an L.A.-based punk quartet whose oldest member, guitarist Genessa Gariano, is barely out of highschool. However, they performed with an power that eclipsed the legacy acts throughout the park. Led by 16-year-old Lydia Night time, the band combines riot grrrl perspective—the simple, audacious lyrics recall Bratmobile in its heyday—and a heavy traditional rock ’n’ roll affect. (Suppose Invoice Haley and Buddy Holly, not Led Zeppelin.) Dwell, the band’s punk influences are extra evident than on their extra polished album, Really feel Your Emotions Idiot!, with raucous guitars crashing up towards three-part harmonies. In the direction of the tip of the set, Night time inspired the viewers to separate up for a “wall of dying,” resulting in a teenage lady in black lipstick standing subsequent to me to utter the phrase of the weekend to her reluctant good friend: “It’s simply moshing, Lydia.” [Katie Rife]

The smoke was thick throughout Queens Of The Stone Age—and never simply on the stage—befitting the band’s stoner-rock roots, which had been extraordinarily evident throughout its headlining Saturday set. Heavy, driving bass tied collectively frontman Josh Homme’s twin tendencies towards soiled boogie and beefy riffs, and though competing sounds from the Wu-Tang Clan’s close by set introduced a touch of dissonance to the extra advanced materials from the band’s new Villains, by the tip of its set, QOTSA had locked right into a serpentine groove. The coy, hip-shaking “If I Had A Tail” led right into a killer closing trio: “Little Sister” off 2005’s Lullabies To Paralyze—right here enhanced with a scathing dual-guitar solo—into “Go With The Circulation,” which melded with the psychedelic powerhouse of nearer “Track For The Lifeless,” whose hard-rock sound conjured a Ralph Bakshi imaginative and prescient of ’70s FM radio. [Katie Rife]

Sunday

Though enjoying an unexpectedly early time slot—presumably traded, primarily based on frontman James Alex’s rhapsodic gratitude over seeing Jawbreaker later that evening, for the privilege of being on the identical stage—Seaside Slang however introduced its nighttime present to a 12:40 p.m. set. Admittedly drunk on vodka and cranberry juice, Alex managed to carry it along with assist from newish guitarist Aurore Ounjian (who joined the band again in December) and hold its sound tight. Because it did for therefore many acts, Riot Fest introduced out Seaside Slang’s extra punk tendencies, together with ragged, romantic vocals, an accelerated rhythm part, and a working bit involving enjoying quick snippets of uncool ’90s hits (harking back to The Replacements’ antics). However by the tip, Seaside Slang had turned—comparatively—severe, providing a reverent cowl of The Pixies’ “The place Is My Thoughts” in addition to a heartfelt tribute to Hüsker Dü’s Grant Hart. [Katie Rife]

Amidst the ’90s surge of female-led alt-rock bands, That Canine sort of will get misplaced within the shuffle behind The Breeders, Veruca Salt, Throwing Muses, et al. So their return to Chicago after 20 years netted an early Sunday afternoon slot (although that’s generally my favourite sort of pageant set: crowd sufficiently small you can truly see, no out-and-out drunks, Porta Potties nonetheless satisfactory). Anna Waronker and the Haden sisters, Petra and Rachel, carried out their ultimate album, 1997’s Retreat From The Solar, in full, at one level backed by a mini-orchestra. And whereas I most likely hadn’t heard it because it got here out, I used to be stunned at what number of songs I remembered, like “Each Time I Strive” and “Did You Ever.” (I used to be additionally stunned by the variety of fratty-looking guys shouting out the phrases.) These candy feminine harmonies backed with buzzy guitars—lots like these different bands talked about above—remained intact, and so they appeared so completely satisfied to be enjoying collectively once more that their enthusiasm carried the set even over a number of bumpy begins. The set wrapped with a catchy new reduce, with Waronker teasing that they’ll have a brand new file subsequent 12 months; because of this present, I’m trying ahead to it. [Gwen Ihnat]

Constructed To Spill’s Doug Martsch is that rarest of beasts—a jangly indie-pop guitarist who also can truly shred—and the group’s reside performances are an interesting mixture of reserved and uncooked, the members’ low-key demeanors at odds with Martsch’s wailing guitar odysseys. Performing its fourth album, Maintain It Like A Secret, in its entirety made all of it a bit workmanlike, however the crowd was with it from the get-go, with a number of songs turning into impromptu collective sway-alongs. That’s very true of the dad in entrance of me, who stored irritatingly nudging his children to ensure they had been appreciating all of Martsch’s candy ax work, thereby making certain they’ll utterly flip towards rock music the second they hit adolescence. [Alex McLevy]

I wandered off throughout a snoozy part of Constructed To Spill’s set to take a look at the way more energetic Cap’n Jazz, simply in time to catch the tip of a hilariously efficient cowl of A-ha’s “Take On Me.” The emo outfit is having fun with a brand new resurgence since its 1995 breakup, and it positively gave the impression to be having a superb time. Loud, sloppy, probably drunk, the band’s antics had been steered by Tim Kinsella, who sang whereas moshing, sometimes dropping the mic solely and letting the group sing for him, and at one level, placing a tambourine on his head to crown himself the king of fools.[Gwen Ihnat]

The final time I noticed Dinosaur Jr. at Riot Fest, it was much like That Canine—afternoon set, half-full crowd—however right here the viewers was tripled, rightfully honoring the band’s holy trinity lineup. With bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph restored behind J. Mascis, the band performed each as if no time had handed and with the good thing about two further many years of expertise. After kicking off with its superior cowl of The Remedy’s “Simply Like Heaven” and a Deep Wound cowl of “Coaching Floor,” Dino Jr. carried out You’re Residing All Over Me in full, nonetheless knocking you out with its musicality and people hovering guitar solos. Even higher, they performed to the pageant crowd by closing with common cuts “Goin’ Down,” “Really feel The Ache,” and (thank God) “The Wagon.” [Gwen Ihnat]

For individuals like me who got here up with the band within the early ’90s, Jawbreaker has been our nice white reunion whale. We as soon as predicted they’d by no means do it, however we must always by no means underestimate the persuasive energy of Riot Fest, which managed to reunite the Misfits, for crissakes. Having been aside for 21 years—a pair apply reveals in latest months excepted—Jawbreaker was charmingly rusty because it closed out Riot Fest Sunday evening. The San Francisco punk band tore by a set heavy on 1995’s Expensive You however was stuffed with crowd pleasers, just like the one-two-three punch of “Boxcar” (Jawbreaker’s most beloved music), “Sluttering (Might 4th),” and “Need” that opened the set. It additionally threw in some deep cuts for tremendous dorks like myself, who freaked out upon listening to “Parabola” (from 1992’s superbly abrasive Bivouac), beloved non-album observe “Kiss The Bottle,” and Jawbreaker’s conventional set-closer, “Bivouac.” Notably absent was fan favourite “Chesterfield King,” however the sheer improbability of seeing Jawbreaker carry out once more made complaining foolish (and, significantly, “Parabola”!). The band did nearly no press forward of Riot Fest, performed the sort of set it will have at Chicago’s Metro in 1996 (albeit backed by a large “JAWBREAKER” banner), and placed on no self-important airs. Supposedly this was it, however leaving the pageant Sunday evening, it was exhausting to not hope for extra. [Kyle Ryan]

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