Riot Fest Top 10 (In No Particular Order)
Every year since I’ve been at CSU, there have been two main events that ring in the end of summer: moving into a new place, and Riot Fest. Since my freshman year I have attended this festival, and still have yet to be disappointed by it, and this year was no exception!
As per my promise in my previous blog post, I have my ten (in no particular order) favorite parts of Denver’s 2015 Riot Fest:
I had a run in with Gwar when I was in 10th grade at the Aggie. I originally went to see the opening band, Municipal Waste, but stayed for a couple of Gwar’s songs due to their alluring gory stage performance. While their performances have left them in some hot water over the years, they never disappoint. Their stage show features a variety of characters in and outside of the band that spawn from another world. The characters mutilate each other and spray the crowd with fake blood, all while contributing some witty stage banter that is obviously fake, and done in good fun. Their set was short, but definitely a must see, and a highlight of my experience.
Beach Slang is an emo band from Philadelphia that sound like a good day at the beach. I had never listened to the band prior to seeing them, but to the insistence of my friend, we watched their set and were impressed. Watching their lead singer/rhythm guitarist throw himself around stage was a catalyst for the energy the crowd soon had, and gave their tranquil songs a new energy. Their songs, filled with melodic chords and sparkling leads made them an incredible band to see, and a definite recommendation to listen to.
Joyce Manor has always been a favorite of mine, ever since I heard their self titled album I can’t get enough of them. Seeing them play live only reaffirmed my love this band and the music they have put out. Joyce Manor is also a band that also sounds exactly like they do on the record, no weird surprises, just good music. Their live set was fun, energetic, and a highlight of the indoor stage.
Oh the sound of the 90’s…this is how I would describe The Prodigy. A band you’ve most definitely heard before, The Prodigy brought the energy with their set. Clocking at an hour and 15 minutes, The Prodigy filled their time with drum ‘n bass rhythms and had a massive lighting rig with them that blew away all expectations. In addition to their light rig, they also had a live guitarist and drummer further amping up the energy of the show. While I do think that lighting rigs can be gimmicky and are often unnecessary, it definitely helped make Prodigy’s set an unforgettable experience.
Explosions In The Sky
Ah Explosions In The Sky…this band was a big part of my youth, so seeing them live was like a flashback in time as I recognized familiar melodies and placed them at various points in my life. The melodic post-rock band unfortunately had to deal with the pettiness of Yelawolf going over his allotted time, forcing EITS to start while he was still playing, but Yelawolf eventually got pulled down and the sweet serenity of EITS’s set filled the air. The sun was also setting at the time of their set making it one of the most majestic experiences I’ve ever had the joy of being apart of. EITS are also proof that you don’t need lights (although they are cool) to make the show. All they carried with them was their instruments and that’s it. They played one of the most impacting sets all weekend.
I’ve been a huge fan of PUP ever since the release of their self-titled album that sounds as distorted and loud as their live set was. Man was it loud, but man, did they crush it. I played that album up and down to death, but hearing them play all of the songs live gave them a whole new meaning and reinvigorated my love for that album. The Canadian quartet played with a passion that resonated with me, and took my love for this band to a whole new level.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Desparecidos as I hadn’t heard of them until seeing them, but they definitely had a lasting impact. The project fronted by Bright Eyes mastermind, Connor Oberst, played a sort of politically driven punk that was oddly reminiscent of bands from the Fat Wreck era. Definitely a good find.
What can I say about this guy that isn’t already known? He just brings one big…party. There is no other way to describe his live set. With his vivacious personality and goofy dance moves. Andrew W.K. did not disappoint and left me head banging for the rest of the day.
Modest Mouse was originally a band that I was pretty stoked to see, and like many others they did not disappoint. They played all my favorite hits. For the most part it was straight forward music. Even though I was positioned right in front of a pole for most of their set, I was still pretty stoked on what they played, and hope I get to see them again in a setting where they have more time.
The Hotelier was the first set I saw at Riot Fest, and a great way to open up the weekend. Despite having gear troubles in the beginning, The Hotelier played just about every song I wanted them to and sounded great. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a lot of time, so they kind of had to rush through things. Despite this, the songs weren’t compromised and they delivered a stellar performance.
The Indoor Stage
Last but not least, the indoor stage as a whole! I was actually really happy the festival had a stage inside. The layout was set up to have four stages on the outside and one on the inside, and the inside stage served as a smaller venue, and a way to escape the sun. I wasn’t too stoked about the location this year originally, but it ended up being a hot weekend so the indoor stage helped to shield from that, plus 4/10 of my favorite sets were played there!