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The Drainage | March 20, 2018

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Riot Festival Is Pushing The Limits For What A Festival Can Accomplish

Riot Festival Chicago
John Flynn

“Take That Corporate Nonsense  And Shove It Up Your Ass”

We live in a day and age where festival lineups are more homogenous than they are diverse. When AEG and Livenation own the majority of major US festivals, it can be tough to differentiate one bill from another.This isn’t to say that festivals don’t still attract the best talent from across the globe, because they do. However, what was once a competitive ebb and flow cycle of influence is quickly becoming a collection of indistinguishable fodder. Fear not, Riot Fest is here to break ground.

Riot Festival

The bill has everything a punk music fan could want and more. And it isn’t confined to dudes playing guitar, either. At first glance, headliners Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails appear to be obvious mainstays that are staples for a festival like Riot Fest. Nine Inch Nails is one of the heavier bookings that found their way onto festival lineups this year, and while they are headlining a few other festivals the band acts as a solid backbone for the festival, especially for older fans.

Queens of the Stone Age acts as the crowd pleaser. Everyone and their mother has been dying for their next album to release and, according to Consequence of Sound, its already been recorded. So far, the band is only playing one festival date in the US at Outside Lands, so they will be a rarity among the festival crowd.

Finally, the fact that Jawbreaker is playing a reunion set on Sunday to close out Riot Fest is just about the single most badass booking Riot Fest could have achieved this year. The seminal punk band has been dormant since 1996, longer than some festival attendees lives, and are making their thunderous return at Douglas Park.

Not Just Rock N Roll, Baby.

Riot fest’s undercard also boasts a diverse collection of hip hop, electronic, and pop music.

Female acts Paramore and M.I.A. add much needed diversity to the secondary line of the bill, which is usually devoid of any notable female acts.

Wu Tang Clan, Vic Mensa, and Action Bronson represent hip hop in a characteristically energetic and turbulent fashion. It’s safe to say that even the hip hop shows at Riot Fest are going to see their fair share of mosh pits. Plus, a Mike D DJ set peppered in on the second line certainly doesn’t hurt the festival’s raw poster.

New Order acts as the festivals fourth headliner. Although the band is coming off of a notable Coachella performance they are arguably the single most influential synth pop band of this era, a healthy serving of unadulterated authenticity that isn’t found at many festivals.

Riot Fest is an eclectic group of truly badass performers, and it’s going to be quite the ride.