Riot Fest Review

Middle aged punk rockers sporting leather jackets, moms and dads looking

forward to the bands they saw as young adults, and groups of teenagers eager for a good

weekend flocked into the rain and mud at Humboldt Park, where over 130 bands were

booked for Riot Fest. Not only did the music festival continue its customary fusion of

musical artists, but this year marked its’ 10th anniversary, and headliners like Weezer,

The Cure, The Flaming Lips and The National brought in thousands of fans.

The mixture of music and a changing of time has always been inevitable.

Newcomers like The Orwells, a garage rock band from Elmhurst, IL, performed just

as The Buzzcocks did, an English rock band formed in 1976. South African trio Die

Antwoord had rappers Ninja and Yolandi Visser belting out lyrics and DJ Hi-Tek mixing

zany beats behind them. They performed popular songs like “I Fink U Freeky and

“Baby’s On Fire.”

Wu-Tang Clan brought on a crazed excitement, as the hip-hop group from New

York City sauntered across the stage, spitting verses from hits like “C.R.E.A.M.” and

“Bring the Ruckus.” Mosh pits and crowd surfing alike punctuated the day.

Saturday night ended with psychedelic rock band The Flaming Lips, headed by

lead singer Wayne Coone dressed in a dazzling outfit made of silver tinsel. Songs like

“Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Pt. 1” and “Do You Realize?” echoed through the

crowd as flashing visuals lit up on the screen and performers costumed in mushroom,

butterfly, alien, sun, and rainbow outfits swayed in the background. Confetti rained from

the sky, and Coone crowd surfed in a giant inflatable hamster ball. The set ended with the

crowd chanting “Love!” as the words lit up on screen, and a penultimate cover of “Lucy

In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles.

Punk-poet Patti Smith performed Sunday with songs from her 1975 debut

album “Horses”, and Cheap Trick jammed out to hits “I Want You To Want Me” and

“Surrender.” Eighties English band The Cure ended the festival, gathering thousands to

the stage, where Robert Smith was dolled up in his classic smudged red lipstick and black

eyeliner, performing old hits like “Friday I’m In Love” and “Just Like Heaven.”

Riot Fest is exactly how it sounds; the overall eclectic group of music enthusiasts

and musicians is what keeps this festival young, and that’s why everyone will keep

coming back for years to come.