RECAP: 2017 Riot Fest, Day Two

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!

As the heat continued to burn down on Douglas Park, a stacked lineup of all things alternative took the stages of Riot Fest on Saturday. The daily lineup was arguably the best of the weekend on paper, and there was a major name almost everywhere you turned. It felt surreal to have this many big names in one spot at the same time. Here’s the best of what we saw:

20170916_131440Every year, Riot Fest manages to pull together several classic punk acts that might not necessarily be touring as much as they once were. That was the case with GBH, who opened our day with a ferocious set. Nearly 90 degree heat, and frontman Colin Abrahall played most of the set in a leather jacket, because why not. With most of the band’s classic lineup, and a mixture of vintage GBH with material from their new album, this was a sight to see for sure.

20170916_144519From older to newer, another set of hometown heroes commanded a huge crowd early in the day. Chicago’s Knuckle Puck were a ball of energy from start to finish in their time on the Rise stage, and a promising beacon of light for the future of pop punk. Considering the band was sharing that stage with the likes of Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, and Bayside, it’s clear that there’s anticipation for the band to be the new faces of the genre. Based on their Saturday set, they’re up to that challenge.

20170916_162327Anniversary tours have been a big theme of this year’s Riot Fest, and Bayside packed the Rise stage later in the day to celebrate ten years since the release of their album, “The Walking Wounded”. As frontman Anthony Raneri explained, this album was significant to them, because they were dealing with several issues, including the death of John “Beatz” Holohan just before the record came out. While the album was a decade old, it certainly didn’t feel that way when performed live. The band also had time to squeeze in a couple of tracks from their self-titled debut album afterward, as an added bonus.

20170916_171019Early hardcore heroes Bad Brains were a can’t miss act, shortly after, with a vintage set on the Radicals Stage. Legendary frontman H.R., who underwent brain surgery earlier this year, made a special appearance for a few tracks, including their biggest song, “Banned In D.C.”, which understandably lacked its original explosiveness. Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe filled on vocals for much of the set, bringing a commanding, powerful stage presence. Nevertheless, getting to see Bad Brains with H.R., even for a little bit, made the show incredibly memorable for everyone.

20170916_180554There was even time to catch our recent Summerfest discovery, adolescent punks The Regrettes. With a combination of doo-wop and punk, the band didn’t disappoint, and even brought out a new song, which showed some incredible growth from the first material that the band put out, which was already great. Keep your eye out for The Regrettes, as they’ll be playing even bigger stages in the very near future.

20170916_190607A favorite of the night, which commanded a huge crowd, was New Found Glory at the Rise stage. The band was celebrating 20 years together, and the set list largely comprised of their earlier material. In fact, only one song off of their new album, “Makes Me Sick”, made it to Riot Fest, and it was their single, “Happy Being Miserable”. The entire set, though, was a party, with a sea of fans crowd surfing, and an ample number of circle pits breaking out. Another anniversary tour, but again, the veterans didn’t show any signs of aging.


A reunited At The Drive-In wasn’t to be missed, and the massive crowd assembled at the Riot Stage were in for a treat. The band played tracks from their latest release, “in-ter- a-li-a”, which blended well with material from their earlier albums. The energy was high throughout their set, and felt like this time, the band is in it for the long haul.


Our night capped off with Taking Back Sunday on the Rise Stage, who delivered a mixed set of new and old material, lasting longer than the allotted hour. Frontman Adam Lazzara admitted to the crowd that he was trying to contain his excitement for playing the festival, and seemed overly appreciative of the company that he kept on the festival bill. Twice, Lazzara made his way to the side of the stage with the microphone, because he wanted to look behind the Rise Stage to see what one of his favorite bands, Queens of the Stone Age, were playing. The festival layout allowed for some Queens material to be heard from Taking Back Sunday’s stage, but that was quickly drown out with singalongs to early TBS tracks, including “Cute Without The E (Cut From The Team)” and set closer “MakeDamnSure”

We’re two thirds of the way through, and Sunday looks like another stacked lineup at Riot Fest. Make sure to stay tuned for more recaps, and follow us on Instagram and Snapchat for more festival coverage!

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