WINDY CITY TIMES
||MUSICAL ROUNDUP 'Mud' about Riot Fest
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Vern Hester
This article shared 37 times since Tue Sep 16, 2014
On Sept. 12, the 10th anniversary of Riot Fest kicked off with a big, sloppy, muddy kiss. The festival, which ran Sept. 12-14, has evolved into one of Chicago's must-see musical and social attractions, and rivals the gigantic Lollapalooza for performers, an audience-friendly vibe and organizational efficiency. What started a decade ago as a collection of punk/hard rock shows strewn across the city for one weekend has evolved into a full-scale extravaganza that now has become the traditional end-of-summer event in this town.
After two years in Humboldt Park, Riot Fest got even bigger this year ( call it a growth spurt ) and, on that first day, the teething pains were undeniable. By moving to the larger north section of the park, the huge crowd had to navigate a confusing and alien landscape ( which now included a lagoon, hidden stages and twisted paths that seemed to lead to nowhere ), along with chilly sprinkles that later in the evening turned into a pelting torrentand turning the landscape into mud, mud and more mud.
Unlike Lolla, Pitchfork or North Coast, Riot Fest has always been about the music rather than a brand name. This year, the line-up was so packed that it was way too much to take in, see, and digest in a full three-day weekend.
There was something for rock fans of every shape, flavor, gender and style, and once in the confines of the festival it was impossible not to see something or someone who "scratched your cat." There were hearty helpings of nerd-art rock-punk ( Primus, The Flaming Lips ), large-scale mainstream darlings ( Weezer, The National, The Cure ), living legends ( Cheap Trick, Social Distortion, Billy Bragg, Patti Smith ), new "buzz" bands ( The Orwells, Tokyo Police Club, Vamos!, Netherfriends ), traditional hard rockers ( Dropkick Murphy, Naked Raygun, Gogol Bordello ), blatant weirdness ( GWAR, Macauley Culkin's Pizza Underground ) and even a touch of "punk light" ( Tegan and Sara ). And, yes, there were the carnival attractions, zombies that chased you, and fire dancers and breathers who popped up in unexpected places.
With no reports of arrests or outbreaks of violence and concluding with two days of cool breezes, sunshine and non-stop music, even the meteorological murkiness of Sept. 12 seemed like a pleasant memory.
This article shared 37 times since Tue Sep 16, 2014
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