Monday, September 17, 2018

Riot! Riot! Riot!

As the title suggests, I attended Riot Fest this weekend in beautiful, sprawling Douglas Park. Although I didn't "riot" so much as relax on the lawn listening to music while other people rioted.

I ate two hot pretzels in a span of three days. Two! It was glorious.

Bands I saw:
  • Typesetter - Wow I'm so cool I know a band who played at Riot Fest so cool. Turns out that if you walk confidently, you can just stroll backstage and nobody's going to stop you. There's free bottled water back there! Show was rad, as always--their new album comes out in October. Get on it. 
  • K. Flay - I had never listened to K. Flay before, but I'd heard good things. I did like her music--though whoever was doing her sound was awful. It was like listening to a blown-out speaker in an old car. Her cover of Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta," however, was charming.
  • The Bombpops - When they said they'd signed with Fat Wreck Chords I was like, oh, of course they did. Talented, pleasant enough to listen to, but derivative. Harsh? Perhaps. They seem like good people. I just wasn't bowled over.
  • Taking Back Sunday - It turns out Taking Back Sunday has released roughly one million albums since I was in high school, none of which I cared to hear. But it was all worth it when they finally got to "You're So Last Summer." THE TRUTH IS YOU COULD SLIT MY THROAT AND WITH MY ONE LAST GASPING BREATH I'D APOLOGIZE FOR BLEEDING ON YOUR SHIRT. High school, man. High school. 
  • Gary Numan - Caught only the end of his set--it takes an hour and a half to get to Douglas Park from my apartment via transit, so I was doing my best. I enjoyed watching him, and I enjoyed watching the crowd even more. I was born in 1988, so I mostly missed that decade, and so did my parents since they were getting married and raising me. Everything I've learned about the 80s I've had to piece together myself, and artists like Gary Numan are just another piece of the puzzle. I like trying to imagine a time when loads of people were like YES! THIS GOTH SCI-FI NEW WAVE DUDE! Not that he's bad! I just have a hard time imagining someone like him getting popular these days. Anyway, "Cars" is stuck in my head now. 
  • Cat Power - I am only the most casual of Cat Power listeners. No matter--I just chilled in the grass and drank a beer and let her soft voice lull me. An wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon. 
  • Elvis Costello & The Imposters - I'm also only a casual Elvis Costello listener--greatest hits and no more. It was a fun show, but I think he couldn't hear the monitors? He often seemed a few beats behind.
  • Interpol - High school again! Unlike Taking Back Sunday, Interpol was well aware that we only wanted to hear their first two albums, and they delivered. (But for the record, I did give their new album a listen and it's actually pretty good, especially the first half.) In my opinion, their songs sound especially nice outside--they're very atmospheric, and the sound just washes over you in waves. Whoever did their lighting design was inspired--it was gorgeous. 
  • Johnny Marr - Caught the end of his set. Never a bad day when you get to bop around to some depressing Smiths songs. "How Soon is Now" is an excellent closing number.
  • Blondie - ohmigodBlondieohmigod. I'm obsessed with Blondie--this was easily the thing I was most looking forward to all weekend. And that 73-year-old goddess Debbie Harry was perfect. I wish I were 1/10 as cool as her. She's the ultimate fuck you to people who think aging women are disposable. It was essentially a greatest hits show--"One Way or Another," "Call Me," "Rapture," "Heart of Glass," everything. But they also played a few songs off their latest album Pollinator--which is actually a great album! I have listened to it many times! So anyway Blondie is the best don't @ me.
  • Alkaline Trio - Because of course I saw Alkaline Trio, along with every other human who was a Chicagoland area teen in the early 2000s. Huge crowd. Lots of singalongs. Always fun. 
  • Father John Misty - I love Father John Misty's music, and after a lackluster third album I was super pleased with his fourth. His lyrics are so cynical, and I think if I had to hang out with him for a day I'd probably chuck something heavy at his head, but his voice is so beautiful I don't even care. I've seen him live several times--memorably on the roof of The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas--but he really outdid himself this time. When he performed his new song "Hangout at the Gallows," I was literally breathless. I lost. My breath. No breathing. Also need to congratulate whoever did his lighting design because it was phenomenal. 
I unfortunately didn't get to stay for any of the big headliners because while I would have liked to see Beck and Run the Jewels, and while Weezer is cheesy-but-fun, I have a dog to care for and also I'm an old lady. I've been living off ibuprofen all weekend. Hot pretzels and ibuprofen. 

I would like to propose a lineup of all-female headliners next year, if I may. Distillers just dropped new music for the first time in 15 years, so they'd be perfect. Couldn't we reunite Bikini Kill, too? And let's be real--Lady Gaga and Janelle Monae are punk AF. Someone should let me plan music festivals. 

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