RECAP: 2017 Riot Fest, Day One

While the summer festival may be winding down, dozens of incredible acts are descending on Douglas Park in Chicago this weekend for Riot Fest. We’re on the grounds all weekend, so make sure to follow us on Instagram and Snapchat for more from the festival!

20170915_140047Friday kicked off three days of end-to-end high quality shows, not to be marred by the high temperatures and cloudless sky that beat down on Douglas Park. Highlights for the day began early, as hometown hero pop-punks Sleep On It took the Radicals stage. A sizable crowd gathered for the early set, with fans bouncing along to tracks from their latest release, “Overexposed”. The crowd was big, yet intimate enough of an experience that the band could call out their hometown friends and fans by name in between songs.

20170915_150820Fresh off of a Thursday night appearance at Turner Hall Ballroom, LA punk icons X brought their blend of punk, rockabilly, and new wave to the Roots Stage. The band is on their 40th anniversary tour, but signs of aging were minimal. Friday proved that the band not only still had it, they could keep going for years to come.

20170915_160649In speaking of classic punks that could keep going, The Buzzcocks brought their catchy, yet crass songs to the Riot Stage. The band was able to keep their energy up in the heat, and the Riot Fest crowd bopped along to the frenzied sound that made up many of their earlier albums. A guest appearance was made by the unsung hero of the day, a festival goer in a T-Rex suit that most would assume passed out from dehydration later in the day. That didn’t stop him and the crowd from bouncing him around while The Buzzcocks delivered early cut, “Orgasm Addict”.

20170915_163443Meanwhile, over on the Rise Stage, it was celebration time for Action Bronson, who not only just released his latest album, “Blue Chips 7000”, but was also recently renewed for a third season of “Fuck, That’s Delicious” on Viceland. Bronson brought some of the new jams, but remained interactive with the crowd through much of the set. Though he can be entertaining with the food show as well, Bronson told the crowd that he “just loved to get up and spit bars”, and then proceeded to do so with a cool, laid back style.

20170915_190838X wasn’t the only anniversary tour that made its way through Riot Fest, as Mayday Parade celebrated the tenth anniversary of their debut album, “A Lesson In Romantics”. The tour also played The Rave this summer, but the festival setting made the band playing the album from front to back extra special. Definitely a fun bit of emo nostalgia, and a cool moment for the band and the crowd combined.

20170915_193347Speaking of hip hop, Chicago native Vic Mensa later brought an entertaining set to the same stage once the sun had gone down. While it wasn’t the giant crowd he played to while guesting at Chance The Rapper’s Lollapalooza set (or likely as big as his pop up performance at Lolla), he managed to get a very large set, drowning out the difficult sound bleed of New Order’s set behind him.


Our night was capped off by Florida pop punk veterans A Day To Remember. While the set was essentially the same as their Summerfest appearance earlier this year, there was an added dimension of fun brought to this show, thanks to the lack of metal bleachers that allowed the crowd to move around more. Circle pits, t-shirt tosses, and the band’s fun yet oh-so-dangerous game of “Crowd Surf On Top Of A Crowdsurfer”, where fans were encouraged to stand on their buddies’ backs over the crowd, made their set an absolute blast. Definitely a fun way to end the night with a (confetti) bang.

Night one was great, but there’s a whole lot more where that came from. Stay tuned for updates from Saturday and Sunday night at Riot Fest.

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