Riot Fest took to Douglas Park in Chicago with five stages of rock, punk and hip-hop for its twelve year.

Since Riot Fest‘s inception 12 years ago, it has evolved significantly. What once used to take place across multiple venues throughout Chicago has now setup home in Douglas Park, spreading out across five stages. Riot Fest is Chicago’s rock, punk, alt-rock and hip-hop festival and is renowned for band reunions and full album performances. Let’s not forget the carnival – the Hellzapoppin’ Sideshow Revue Freak Show. 

After some cooler temperatures, things certainly heated up for Riot Fest 2017. With the sun already blazing it was time to get the show(s) on the road. 

What better way to start the weekend than with Chicago’s own Sleep On It, who were first up on the Radicals Stage. The pop-punk band may not have existed if it wasn’t for Riot Fest as guitarists TJ Horansky and Jake Marquis first met at a previous festival. Now with the recent addition of new singer, Zech Pluister, they are gaining traction again and actually went on tour earlier this year with fellow festival performers Four Year Strong. 

With temperatures soaring, Seaway take to the Heather Owen Stage for some more high-energy pop-punk. Celebrating the release of their new album, Vacation, the band’s third album which was released today.  

Next up on the Riot Stage was Liars. Angus Andrew took to the stage donning a bridal veil along with a full-length white net skirt which appeared to get possessed by the unexpected breeze which swept the stage. Liars’ style is more towards the electronica and experimental genre, incorporating the use of electronic keypads.  

Following on from their former tourmates, Four Year Strong took the Radicals Stage. 2017 has been a busy year for these guys.  Marking the tenth anniversary of Strong Rise or Die Trying with a re-release of the album, they also released their new album, Some of You Will Like This, Some of You Won’t on September 8. This performance was a tight melodic rock performance which certainly held the crowd’s attention.

Ramping up the punk element of the festival, it was time for the Buzzcocks to take to the Riot Stage. The legendary punk rockers from Manchester, England entertained the growing Riot Fest crowd with classics such as “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)”.

The Rise Stage welcomed New York hip-hop artist, Action Bronson. His intense performance is the precursor to his upcoming album, Blue Chips 7000. If this performance wasn’t a big enough fix for you, the Queens rapper/chef is touring the US through until early December. 

Heading back over to the Radicals Stage as pop-punkers, State Champs, kick the energy up a notch. Right from the beginning, they had the crowd singing along passionately with their arms up in the air. 

Canadian two-piece, Death From Above took to the Roots Stage as the first day of Riot Fest headed into the evening. The duo is made up of vocalist and drummer Sebastien Grainger and bassist Jesse F. Keeler. The pair released their new album on September 8 which is called Outrage! Is Now and they performed the songs “Freeze Me” and “Caught Up” from it. 

The Story So Far kept the energy and enthusiasm high on the Radicals Stage with their catchy riffs and crowd surfers a-plenty. The growing evening crowd lapped up every minute of this fun set for the Californian five-piece. They were sure to perform their single “Out Of It” which was released just two days prior. 

The Godfathers of industrial metal, Ministry, brought the evening sessions to the Riot Stage. Performing their classics, such as “Thieves”, “N.W.O.” and “Just One Fix”, they played to impress the swarming crowd. Fans need to wait until the beginning of next before their new album AmeriKKKant is released. Impressively, it will be the band’s fourteenth album, their first in five years. Al Jourgensen’s voice roared across Douglas Park along with the heavy riffs,.

In true Riot Fest fashion, Mayday Parade performed A Lesson in Romantics in its entirety to mark the album’s tenth anniversary. Singer Derek Sanders couldn’t keep the excited grin off his face throughout their set, clearly thoroughly enjoying every moment of it.    

As the sun set on the first day of Riot Fest 2017, British icons, New Order, took to the Roots Stage. Much to the crowd’s delight, they were sure to include classic hits such as “Blue Monday” and “Temptation” before rounding out their set with Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. Transporting the audience back to yesterday with their own blend of electronica rock, the field was packed as people flocked to witness these legends on stage. 

The Chicago audience came out in force to support one of their own as Vic Mensa took to the Rise Stage. At the meer age of 24, Mensa is making waves with his debut album The Autobiography which came out in July. Taking to the stage like a seasoned professional, Mensa is certainly one to watch.  

Closing out the first day on the Heather Owen Stage, Nothing More put on a headlining performance. Celebrating the release of their new album, The Stories We Tell Ourselves, they made sure to cover a number of songs from it. The shirtless Jonny Hawkins put in an impassioned performance with an incredibly powerful voice whilst jumping all over the stage. If you haven’t given these guys a listen to yet, now is the time to look them up. Better still, go see them on their current tour. 

Rounding out the day’s festivities, A Day To Remember put on an energetic performance. Their energy and enthusiasm was more than matched by the excited fanbase who had gathered to support the band. This was a fun set and a perfect way to round out the first day of the festival weekend.

Being sure to finish on a high note, the exhausted, and slightly burnt, crowd reluctantly head out of Douglas Park to get rested and ready for day two.

Riot Fest
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Event Date: 15-SEP-2017