Riot Fest 2013

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 1:

Of course Saturday was the only day with direct overlaps (all other days bands had fifteen minute gaps so you’d be able to catch some of every band) so there were some major conflicts later in the day; namely Glassjaw and Pennywise, Public Enemy and Rancid and Violent Femmes and Taking Back Sunday.

 

Hatebreed:

Out of all the great bands on the bill, Hatebreed was at the top of my list. I’ve seen Hatebreed roughly six or seven times now and every time, no matter where they play on the bill, they blow everyone else off the stage. Vocalist Jamey Jasta is one of my favorite front men in metal.

One of the highlights of their set was their cover of Slayer’s cover of “Ghosts of War”, which Jasta dedicated to Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman (who passed away in May), stating: “the first time we heard our bands name chanted in Chicago was on tour with Slayer.” They also managed to add in my favorite Hatebreed song “Doomsayer”, which definitely made the set even more epic for me.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9.5
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. To the Threshold
2. In Ashes They Shall Reap
3. Ghosts of War [Slayer cover]
4. Doomsayer
5. Every Bleeds Now
6. Smash Your Enemies
7. Perseverance
8. Destroy Everything
9. I will Be Heard

 

Andrew WK:

The first and only time I was able to “see” Andrew WK was at Warped Tour a few years ago and sadly he came on right as doors opened so I wasn’t even able to see him, I just heard him playing from across the grounds. Sadly, even at Riot Fest Andrew WK had a major conflict so I wasn’t able to catch his full set, but the portion I was able to catch was awesome.

I was amazed to see how much the other bands on Friday’s bill loved him – especially considering how much more he leaned towards the “rock” side of the spectrum compared to the rest of the bands. But Andrew’s “party hard” personality is hard not to love. Songs like “She is Beautiful”, “It’s Time to Party” and “Party Hard” were obvious crowd favorites. Seeing someone up on stage doing what they love to do and having a great time doing it just makes the set even more enjoyable for the fan and that was exactly the case for Andrew W.K.. I really hope that I’m able to see a full set from this party animal soon!

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. It’s Time to Party
2. Take it Off
3. Long Live the Party
4. Ready to Die
5. She is Beautiful
6. You Will Remember Tonight
7. Party Hard
8. I Get Wet
9. Head Bang
10. We Want Fun

 

Yellowcard:

Much like Hatebreed, Yellowcard was definitely one of my top moments of not only the day, but of the weekend as well. I’ve seen Yellowcard many times over the last few years and every time I see them I manage to like them even more than the time before.

I think my favorite aspect of Yellowcard’s music is what violinist Sean Mackin brings to the band. Not only does he bring something unique musically to the band, but he alsoradiates happiness. Much like Andrew WK, the joy that Mackin exurts on stage just makes their set that much more enjoyable.

Songs like “With You Around”, “Breathing” and “Ocean Avenue” definitely didn’t hurt either.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Breathing
2. Way Away
3. Always Summer
4. The Takedown
5. Light Up the Sky
6. Rough Landing, Holly
7. With You Around
8. Here I Am Alive
9. Only One
10. Ocean Oveanue

 

Screeching Weasel:

I’d been given a few Screeching Weasel albums way back in the day, but this was the first time I’d ever had the opportunity to see them. Despite being around since the mid 1980’s, the band has gone through many reformations over the years (three, I believe). Vocalist and guitarist Ben Weasel is the only original band member. Despite a decent amount of anticipation for them, I wasn’t that impressed. Weasel’s voice was pretty annoying. But I suppose it’s hard to sit through anyone when you knew Bad Religion was coming up next.

Vocals: 6
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 8
Band Activity: 7
Overall rating: 7

 

Bad Religion:

You can’t host a punk rock festival and not invite Bad Religion. Thankfully Riot Fest was aware of this rule as well. Before Riot Fest, the first and only time I’d seen Bad Religion was on tour with Rise Against a few years ago. They were awesome then and they were even better in front of their target audience here. Despite only getting an hour, they were able to plug away through a decent set list spanning their careers, which ended up being around sixteen songs – definitely not bad for an hour set! Vocalist Greg Graffin sounded great – much better than at Warped Tour and despite not getting to watch all of their set – the price you pay as a festival photographer (I know, woe is me) – they were definitely one of Friday’s best sets and I hope to catch a full set soon.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 7
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. True North
2. Fuck You
3. Dharma and the Bomb
4. Dept. of False Hope
5. New Dark Ages
6. American Jesus
7. You
8. I Want to Conquer the World
9. Overture
10. Sinister Rouge
11. 21st Century (Digital Boy)
12. Submission Complete
13. Generator
14. No Direction
15. Sorrow
16. Infected

 

Gwar:

Despite knowing full well what I was getting myself into shooting Gwar, I did NOT prepare myself well for it at all. I knew that they’d be doing the first wave of blood slinging from one side of the stage, but I wasn’t safe on the other side. Within ten seconds of their first song I was already covered in fake blood. Jumping on my camera like it was a live grenade – shielding it from the onslaught of fake blood – I was able to crouch behind the speakers for cover (as well as using my fellow photographers as human shields) just long enough to wait out the rest of the blood slinging until their was a minor lull and then ran to the side of the stage and shot from there. By then I was too covered in it to worry about it, but thankfully my camera was okay. Sure, to those who were unfamiliar with Gwar’s set it looked like I had some crazy birth defect, but to those who were familiar I got a lot of sympathy and laughs, too.

Gwar’s music is pretty mediocre, but if you’re going to go to a Gwar show, chances are you’re going more for the (fake) decapitations, bloodletting and all the other crazy things that come with a Gwar show. They’re the perfect example of making any show tolerable as long as you’re great to watch. My first Gwar show (way back in 2007) was memorable, but this one was even crazier. I can’t wait to see what my next Gwar experience has in store for me.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 7
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9

 

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts:

One of the biggest appeals of Riot Fest was how many awesome “throwback” artists you’d be able to see. Bands like Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The Pixies, Blondie and others were such a huge draw it was hard to pass it up. Joan Jett was everything I thought she’d be. While not overly energetic, she sounded phenomenal and going through a great set list of hits including an awesome cover of “Cherry Bomb”, “Bad Reputation” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You”. Since I probably wouldn’t want to see most of these bands on tour by themselves, Riot Fest was the perfect place to see so many bands I wouldn’t see otherwise.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. TMI
2. Cherry Bomb [The Runaways cover]
3. Do You Wanna Touch Me [Gary Glitter cover]
4. Bad Reputation
5. Soulmates to Strangers [featuring Laura Jane Grace]
6. Make it Black
7. Fragile
8. I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll [The Arrows cover]
9. Crimson and Clover [Tommy James and the Shondells cover]
10. I Hate Myself for Loving You

 

Sublime with Rome:

Sadly original Sublime frontman Bradley Nowell passed away before I was ever able to see them. While Sublime with Rome isn’t Sublime, it’s definitely a worthy tribute to the memory of one of the best ska and rock bands ever. The band initially featured Sublime founding members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh with Rome Ramirez on vocals. Gaugh recently departed the band to focus on his family and was replaced by drumming gun-for-hire Josh Freese.

The set started out with a great 1-2-3 punch of “Date Rape”, “Wrong Way” and “Smoke Two Joints” and ended with “What I Got” and “Santeria” with a ton of old and new songs alike in between. While it will never touch Nowell’s version of Sublime, Sublime with Rome was a fantastic tribute to his memory and the legacy the band left on rock.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 5
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Date Rape [Sublime cover]
2. Smoke Two Joints [Sublime cover]
3. Wrong Way [Sublime cover]
4. Ebin
5. April 29, 1992 (Miami) [Sublime cover]
6. Pawn Shop [Sublime cover]
7. Lovers Rock
8. Doin’ Time [Sublime cover]
9. Take it or Leave it
10. Scarlet
11. Safe and Sound
12. Panic
13. What I Got [Sublime cover]
14. Santeria [Sublime cover]

 

Fall Out Boy:

It’s been roughly six years since the last time I saw Fall Out Boy. Back then, vocalist Patrick Stump’s voice was so awful live that seeing Fall Out Boy felt more like a form of torture than anything resembling enjoyment. So, needless to say, going into this show I had pretty low expectations. Well, I can’t express just how much Stump’s voice has improved since the last time I saw them.

Behind their newest album, Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy is back with a vengeance. While they weren’t too flashy on stage (save for all coming out in black ski masks during their opener “The Phoenix”), they didn’t really need it. Plugging through a massive twenty song set list, the band definitely made up for lost time; rarely stopping for small talk.

My only complaint was the band not playing my favorite Fall Out Boy song: “Chicago is So Two Years Ago”…in Chicago. C’mon guys!

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. The Phoenix
2. I Slept with Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me
3. A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”
4. This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
5. Alone Together
6. Thriller
7. Death Valley
8. Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down
9. Young Volcanoes
10. What a Catch, Donnie
11. 20 Dollar Nose Bleed
12. I’m Like a Lawyer with the Way I’m Always Trying to Get You Off (Me and You)
13. Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy
14. Dance, Dance
15. Just One Yesterday
16. I Don’t Care
17. My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em’ Up)
18. Save Rock and Roll
19. Thnks fr th Mmrs
20. Saturday

 

DAY 2:

 

The Dear Hunter:

The Dear Hunter definitely started off my second day of Riot Fest in a good way. While the band is definitely mellower than the vast majority of the bands on the bill, they drew a massive crowd and had people singing along with them the entire set.

Vocalist and guitarist Casey Crescenzo had an awesome voice and while the band wasn’t overly animated, they didn’t need to be. They were a nice change of pace from the “same ol’ bands” at Riot Fest.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 6
Overall rating: 9.5

 

Memphis May Fire:

I don’t really like Memphis May Fire’s music, but they’re great live. Vocalist Matty Mullins has a lot of energy on stage and the rest of his band mates follow suit. Today was easily the craziest of my three days at the festival, so I didn’t get to see much of any of the bands until the headliners, but I did enjoy Memphis May Fire more than I did on Warped Tour. Perhaps the crowd was better? Regardless, they were definitely a bright spot on the day.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

 

Stars:

Much like The Dear Hunter, Stars didn’t really fit in well with the majority of the bands on the bill, but managed to shine through nonetheless. Vocalists Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan both had great voices that accentuated each other well. While the music was a bit too tranquil for the festival, I did really enjoy their set.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 5
Overall rating: 8

Set list:

1. Fixed
2. A Song is a Weapon
3. We Don’t Want Your Body
4. Blacklines
5. Midnight Coward
6. Your Ex-Lover is Dead
7. Take Me to the Riot
8. Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It

 

The Devil Wears Prada:

I’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada more than any other band on the bill. You’d think after that feat that I’d be tired of them, but oddly enough I’ve always enjoyed seeing them live. After a double dose of the tranquil sounds of The Dear Hunter and Stars, it was nice to get myself reacquainted with the harder bands that I’d be seeing a lot more of throughout the course of the day.

Songs like “Escape” and “Danger: Wildman” were definite crowd pleasers. The band also announced that their song “Chicago” would be retired after their set that day.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 8.5

Set list:

1. Mammoth
2. Escape
3. Gloom
4. First Sight [First time played]
5. Danger: Wildman
6. Martyrs
7. Dead Thrones
8. Chicago
9. Outnumbered
10. Assistant to the Regional Manager
11. Born to Lose

 

The Lillingtons:

The Lillingtons was one of the biggest surprises for me from Riot Fest. I wasn’t familiar with them going into the show but quickly listened to a song by them on YouTube before leaving for the show and I’m glad I did. They all sounded great and I loved both their energy and their style. After a five year hiatus, they drew a huge crowd for their (for now) one-off at Riot Fest. I’m really happy I was there to witness it and I’ll definitely be downloading some of their songs soon.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. War of the Worlds
2. Don’t Trust the Humanoids
3. Santa Fe-O
4. I Need Some Brain Damage
5. Invasion of the Saucerman
6. Nowhere Fast
7. Alien Girl
8. Badman with the Devil’s Hand
9. Phantom Maggot
10. I Got Abducted by a UFO
11. Black Hole in My Mind
12. I Saw the Apeman (On the Moon)
13. The Day I Went Away
14. Codename: Peabrain
15. Thunderball
16. Murder on My Mind
17. Lillington High
18. I Came From the Future

 

Dinosaur JR:

I just quickly caught some of Dinosaur Jr’s set, and while they sounded pretty good, I wasn’t really that impressed with them. Most of the crowd didn’t seem that impressed either. One of the few times I was happy not to see much of a band at the show.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 6
Overall Sound: 7
Band Activity: 5
Overall rating: 7

Set list:

1. Thumb
2. The Lung
3. Watch the Corners
4. Rude
5. Out There
6. Feel the Pain
7. Training Ground [Deep Wounds cover]
8. Little Fury Things
9. Freak Scene
10. Just Like Heaven [The Cure cover]

 

Glassjaw:

I missed Glassjaw several times before their long hiatus so this was definitely a big draw for me. Songs like “Mu Empire”, “(You Think You’re) John Fucking Lennon” and “Ape Dos Mil” were all awesome and vocalist Daryl Palumbo sounded fantastic. Sadly I had to leave early on in their set to catch the beginning of Pennywise, but Glassjaw was definitely worth the wait.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Mu Empire
2. Pink Roses
3. Jesus Glue
4. (You Think You’re) John Fucking Lennon
5. Pretty Lush
6. Stars
7. Tip Your Bartender
8. Ape Dos Mil
9. The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports
10. Black Nurse
11. Two Tabs of Mescaline
12. Siberian Kiss
13. Babe

 

Pennywise:

Pennywise was definitely in my top five for the weekend. I was blown away by how good they sounded, especially considering they were celebrating twenty five years as a band. Vocalist Jim Lindberg didn’t have a tremendous amount of energy on stage, but he made up for it with his poise and crowd participation. In fact, it was almost impossible to hear him at times over how loud the crowd was singing along. It must be an amazing feeling to hear thousands of people singing along to something you wrote.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. My Own Country
2. Can’t Believe It
3. Same Old Story
4. Every Single Day
5. My Own Way
6. Peaceful Day
7. Perfect People
8. Fuck Authority
9. Living for Today
10. Society
11. Broken
12. Devonshire and Crown [No Use for a Name cover]
13. Alien
14. Pennywise
15. Bro Hymn

 

New Beat Fund:

New Beat Fund is definitely in a world of their own – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. As they were about to play a song called “Peaches” they had the crowd start chanting “FUCK APPLES!” While their music may not be revolutionary, I thoroughly enjoyed their energy and despite a disappointing crowd they definitely seemed like they were having a lot of fun playing. I’m sure they’re loving being out on tour opening for Blink 182, too.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 7
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 8
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Get Up
2. Celibate Celebrity
3. Caress Me Down [Sublime cover]
4. Last Caress [Misfits cover]
5. Scare Me

 

Flag:

Flag is, in some way, an ode to legendary punk rockers Black Flag. It appears that there are two versions of the band: Black Flag, consisting of original guitarist Greg Ginn while Flag features original vocalist Keith Morris. If I’m wrong about this someone please correct me. Regardless, Flag made it a point to make the crowd aware that they weren’t Black Flag before they even started to sing their first song.

Frankly I wasn’t that crazy about them. Boring band live and although it was nice to hear some old Black Flag songs, it wasn’t really worth the wait.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Revenge
2. Fix Me
3. Police Story
4. I Don’t Care
5. Depression
6. I’ve Had It
7. No Values
8. My War
9. No More
10. Gimme Gimme Gimme
11. White Minority
12. Jealous Again
13. Wasted
14. Clocked In
15. Nervous Breakdown
16. American Wasteland
17. Spray Paint
18. Thirsty and Miserable
19. Padded Cell
20. Six Pack
21. Rise Above
22. Louie Louie [Richary Berry cover]

Encore:

23. Damage I

 

Blondie:

Few women have aged as well as Debbie Harry. Not only does she still look great, but she sounds too. Opening with their smash hit “One Way or Another”, it was like a giant trip back in time for the next hour and it was fantastic. Songs like “Atomic”, “Heart of Glass” and “A Rose by Any Name” were definitely crowd favorites and I never realized how much I loved Blondie until I saw them live. I was even more surprised by the number of OTHER people who enjoyed them as much. I wasn’t expecting them to go over quite as well as some of the other old school bands, but they went over just as well if not better. Debbie Harry can definitely still rock.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. One Way or Another
2. Hanging on the Telephone [The Nerves cover]
3. Rapture
4. Atomic
5. Heart of Glass
6. Call Me
7. Rave
8. A Rose by Any Name
9. Winter
10. What I Heard
11. Sugar on the Side

 

Rancid:

Rancid was definitely my favorite punk band on the bill and I was so made they conflicted with Public Enemy. But, since I’d never seen or photographed Rancid before they were clearly the choice to go with Saturday night.

Thankfully every punk bands songs are only like two minutes long so bands like Rancid are able to play over twenty songs like Rancid did. Vocalist and guitarist Tim Armstrong sounded great and helped the band plug away through that crazy set list. While I was really sad that I had to miss Public Enemy, I was happy that Rancid proved they worth the wait; definitely a top five performance from the weekend.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 9.5
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 8
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Radio
2. Roots Radicals
3. Journey to the End of the East Bay
4. Maxwell Murder
5. The 11th Hour
6. Dead Bodies
7. Old Friend
8. I Wanna Riot
9. Nihilism
10. Last One to Die
11. Listed M.I.A.
12. The Wars End
13. East Bay Night
14. Salvation
15. Bloodclot
16. It’s Quite Alright
17. St. Mary
18. Olympia WA
19. Something in the World Today
20. Fall Back Down

Encore:

21. Time Bomb
22. Tenderloin
23. Ruby Soho

 

Violent Femmes:

Continuing the trend of bands reuniting near or for Riot Fest, we have the Violent Femmes. After disbanding in 2009, they played Coachella and a few other shows and finally at Chicago’s Riot Fest. The set started out with a bang when the opening plucking’s of “Blister in the Sun” kicked in. Fans were screaming along to every word from every song for the next hour.

Frankly I wasn’t really a big fan of them, but they sounded pretty good.

Vocals: 8.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 3
Overall rating: 7.5

Set list:

1. Blister in the Sun
2. Kiss Off
3. Please Do Not Go
4. Add it Up
5. Confessions
6. Prove My Love
7. Promise
8. To the Kill
9. Gone Daddy Gone
10. Good Feeling
11. Gimme the Car
12. I Held Her in My Arms
13. Black Girls
14. American Music

 

Blink 182:

I’m not ashamed to say that I still love Blink 182. Sure, not as much as I did when I was 16, but listening to Enema of the State or Dude Ranch still fills me with more joy than I feel from most of the garbage that comes out now. Blink 182 was my very first concert way back in the summer of 2001 and I’ll always remember it.

One of the weirdest parts about Blink’s show was how young their crowd was. I was expecting the crowd to be primarily 20 and 30-something’s who wanted a trip down memory lane, but so much of the crowd seemed way too young for this show to be nostalgic for them. While I don’t inherently have issues with that, it did cause a lot more problems for security and event organizers. While the crowd got a little too rowdy during Fall Out Boy the night before, the crowd during Blink 182 was absolutely insane. Over fifty people were pulled from the crowd before their set even started and then hundreds after that. Talking with security the following day I was told that over nine ambulances were called to take people to local hospitals. Whether Blink 182 was naïve to how crazy their crowd was or not, it took them far too long to stop playing and get the crowd to settle down before their next song. Mark Hoppus finally said during a small lull in their set, “If someone falls down you pick them back up. I shouldn’t have to tell you guys this.” He said it half jokingly to keep the tension eased, but it was a startling even nonetheless. For Sunday, the organizers instituted the T-shaped barricade that split the crowd in half down the middle to create fewer problems for the main stage on Sunday.
Unlike my friends with me, I was pretty disappointed by Blink 182′s set. It was BAD, but their set list was pretty terrible and bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus did not sound very good. Oddly enough vocalist and guitarist Tom Delonge was the one who sounded best at this show, which usually isn’t the case at all.

While their show at Riot Fest was by no means terrible, it was disappointing when comparing it to some of their previous shows.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Feeling This
2. Up All Night
3. The Rock Show
4. What’s My Age Again?
5. Dogs Eating Dogs
6. Down
7. I Miss You
8. Wishing Well
9. Dumpweed
10. Always
11. Violence
12. After Midnight
13. First Date
14. Heart’s All Gone
15. Man Overboard
16. Ghost on the Dancefloor
17. All the Small Things
18. Josie

Encore:

19. Carousel
20. Dammit
21. Family Reunion

 

DAY 3:

With how smoothly the first two days of Riot Fest went (aside from fake blood and Blinks insane crowd) it made sense that Sunday had to be the odd day out. As soon as I woke up it was already cloudy and rainy out. Coupling those with temperatures in the high 50s/low 60s, I was expecting a terrible turnout. I was definitely wrong. While the crowd definitely died down during the day, it surged toward the end when The Pixies and The Replacements made their way on stage. Sadly, midway through the day there was a horrible downpour that caused me to miss several of the bands I wanted to shoot; namely Saves the Day and The Dismemberment Plan.

The Wonder Years:

I saw The Wonder Years for the first time last year at Warped Tour and absolutely loved them. I loved their punk rock vibe and their energy on stage. It was infectious. They braved the elements to be one of the days openers and were awarded with one of the best crowds of the weekend. I can’t wait to see these guys again in October on the House Party Tour with A Day to Remember, All Time Low and Pierce the Veil.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Washington Square Park
2. Melrose Diner
3. Don’t Let Me Cave In
4. Local Man Ruins Everything
5. Passing Through a Screen Door
6. Cul-De-Sac
7. Dismantling Summer
8. Chaser
9. Woke Up Older
10. Logan Circle
11. Came Out Swinging

 

Bayside:

I think the last and only time I ever saw Bayside was way back at Bamboozle 2006 or 2007. I wasn’t really a fan then, but I will say I was really happy with their set here. While their set wasn’t very long since they were early on in the day, they definitely drew a big crowd. Vocalist and guitarist Anthony Raneri sounded great and songs like “Devotion and Desire” and “Sick, Sick, Sick” went over really well; definitely one of the surprise bands of the weekend for me.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 8
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Devotion and Desire
2. Already Gone
3. They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns
4. Blame It on Bad Luck
5. Duality
6. Montauk
7. Sick, Sick, Sick

 

Peelander-Z:

I seriously don’t think I can write a review of this band. Despite watching and photographing half of their set, I seriously don’t even know what I saw. This band hails from Japan so that should give you a good idea of the weird stuff they might do but this was just…odd. They had human bowling, banging dog pans and writing a song about steak. It was all just odd.

Vocals: 6
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 6
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 7

 

Against Me:

It’s hard to write a review of Against Me without talking about lead singer Laura Jane Grace. Laura, formerly known as Thomas Gabel, came out in May 2012 as transgender, acknowledging she’d been suffering from gender dysphoria (for those unfamiliar with the term – it means to feel discontent with the gender you were assigned at birth) since childhood. After coming out, she assumed her new name and continued to tour with Against Me.

I applaud her for her bravery and while I wasn’t really a fan of them live, I wish her the best of luck in the future.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 8
Band Activity: 8
Overall rating: 8

Set list:

1. FuckMyLife666
2. Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
3. Cliche Guevara
4. New Wave
5. Unconditional Love
6. I Was a Teenage Anarchist
7. Transgender Dysphoria Blues
8. Don’t Lose Touch
9. Black Me Out
10. Turn Those Clapping Hands into Angry Balled Fists
11. Rapid Decompression
12. Walking Is Still Honest
13. Thrash Unreal

 

Rocket From the Crypt:

Rocket from the Crypt was the first band I shot after the monsoon finally subsided and I was glad I was able to catch them because they were definitely one of my favorite bands of the day. Vocalist Speedo (John Reis) sounded great and seemed to have a lot more energy than a lot of the punk singers on the bill.

They didn’t bring anything too crazy to the table, they just rocked and rocked hard. It’s hard to ask for more than that!

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Middle
2. Born in ’69
3. On a Rope
4. Young Livers
5. Sturdy Wrists
6. Boychucker
7. Jumper K. Balls
8. Don’t Darlene
9. Dollar
10. Ditch Digger
11. Straight American Slave
12. I’m Not Invisible
13. Get Down
14. Dick on a Dog
15. Glazed
16. Come See Come Saw

 

Suicidal Tendencies:

Suicidal Tendencies was high up on my list of bands to see. I’ve never been a big fan of the band personally, but when I’ve heard songs I’ve liked them so I figured this was as good of a time as any to finally see what all the praise was about. Needless to say, I regret not seeing them sooner. Vocalist Mike Muir was fantastic (though he didn’t look anything like I was expecting) and despite being the only original member it was great seeing them.

I sadly had to leave early to go catch my #1 band of the weekend, but from what I saw of Suicidal I’ll definitely be checking them out in the future.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. You Can’t Bring Me Down
2. Institutionalized
3. War Inside My Head
4. Subliminal
5. Possesed to Skate
6. Smash It!
7. Who’s Afraid?
8. Pledge Your Allegiance

 

Brand New:

The first time I ever heard Brand New was one of my older high school friends band playing “The Quiet Things that No One Ever Knows” at a battle of the bands and I remember just falling in love with the song. I immediately went home and bought Deja Entendu which, to this day, is still in my top five rock albums. However, the only time I’d ever seen them was at their infamously half-assed set at Bamboozle 2007 where they got screwed over on their time slot and subsequently decided to “Degausser” twice, amongst other things. Needless to say since then when I think of Brand New I’ve felt disappointed. I’ve had a rule that I never finalize an opinion on a band until I’ve seen them more than once. Well, it only took six years but I finally saw Brand New again and I was really happy with the results. While we didn’t get all of Deja Entendu, we did get a good portion of it (sadly cutting off before my favorite song off the album) include “Sick Transit Gloria…Glory Fades” and “Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Doesn’t”.

Highlights definitely included “Sick Transit Gloria…Glory Fades” and Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra coming out to play “Play Crack the Sky”. While it wasn’t my favorite set of the weekend like I was hoping, he was a huge relief to have my faith in Brand New restored.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Vices
2. Sink
3. Gasoline
4. Sick Transit Gloria…Glory Fades
5. Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Doesn’t
6. Jaws Theme Swimming
7. The Quiet Things That No Ever Knows
8. Seventy Times 7
9. Jesus
10. Bought a Bride
11. Play Crack the Sky [featuring Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra]
12. Degausser
13. You Won’t Know

 

All Time Low:

I had to cut some of my time with Brand New short to catch a few songs of All Time Low (I mean, if you’re going to travel half way across the country why not check out the band that formed twenty minutes from where you live?). I enjoy a good amount of pop/punk, but for some reason All Time Low has always been pretty hit-or-miss for me. Some songs are fantastic and I love the band live, but their fans are so obnoxious.

Still, when hearing songs like “Damned If I Do Ya, Damned if I don’t” and “Lost in Stereo” it’s not hard to sing along or bob your head along with the music.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

 

AFI:

The first and only time I saw AFI was at some random MTV festival here in Maryland called MTV Ulalume. AFI vocalist Davey Havok was definitely different back then, sporting these bright silver sequined pants that pretty much blinded anyone watching the show. That wasn’t the case here. After a hiatus that felt way longer than it actually was, AFI triumphantly returned to the stage and started off like they had a never missed a beat thanks to “The Leaving Song, pt. 2” and “Girl’s Not Grey”. Davey sounded fantastic and seemed his normal energetic self that I recalled from my previous show. He did sound way better than he did back then, though. AFI was definitely one of the day’s best sets.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 9.5
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. The Leaving Song, Pt. 2
2. Girl’s Not Grey
3. I Hope You Suffer
4. A Single Second
5. Love Like Winter
6. Ever and a Day
7. 17 Crimes
8. Kill Caustic
9. Just Like Heaven [The Cure cover]
10. Bleed Black
11. Medicate
12. God Call in Sick Today
13. Miss Murder
14. The Days of the Phoenix
15. Silver and Cold
16. Dancing Through Sunday

 

The Pixies:

Like Blondie, Joan Jett, The Replacements and Violent Femmes, The Pixies were high on everyone’s lists to see. They sounded fantastic. Not energetic at all, but if you were just there to listen to some great tunes they were definitely good for that. I wasn’t a big fan of them before, but I will be going back to listen to some of their catalogue after their set.

Vocals: 8.5
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 8.5
Band Activity: 3
Overall rating: 8.5

Set list:

1. Big New Prinz [The Fall cover]
2. Head On [The Jesus and Mary Chain cover]
3. Indie Cindy
4. River Euphrates
5. Wave of Mutilation
6. Bone Machine
7. Subbacultcha
8. Distance Equals Rate Times Time
9. Money Gone to Heaven
10. Isla De Encanta
11. What Goes Boom
12. Bagboy
13. Debaser
14. Break My Body
15. Winterlong [Neil Young cover]
16. Here Comes Your Man
17. I’ve Been Tired
18. Caribou
19. Gouge Away
20. Tame
21. Hey
22. Andro Queen
23. Where Is My Mind?

Encore:

24. Planet of Sound

 

Pierce the Veil:

I think I’d quickly seen Pierce the Veil back at Warped Tour the year before last, but it was in passing and I didn’t really watch them so this was my first real time seeing them. Frankly, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Their fans acted like the band was some pop group with their horrible, soul-piercing screaming for them. Once Pierce the Veil finally started playing and their music slightly drowned out their fans, it was more tolerable. Some good riffs and bassist Jamie Preciado was a lot of fun to watch perform. Vocalist Vic Fuentes’ voice makes me want to jump in front of traffic though.

Vocals: 5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 6.5

 

The Replacements:

Before Sunday night, the last show The Replacements had played in the United States was in Chicago on July 4, 1991. After a twenty-two year hiatus, the band made their triumphant US debut (after their first show back was sadly stolen by Toronto’s Riot Fest two weeks prior). It was well worth the wait. Twenty-five songs later, fans were still begging to hear one more song from the reunited duo (plus hired gun Josh Freese on drums and guitarist Dave Minehan). Some had waited their entire lives without ever seeing the band perform. While people who go to shows are always happy to see their favorite bands, I can’t remember the last time I’d seen that much joy from fans in attendance of a show; young and old alike.

The Replacements played a relatively simliar set to what they performed in Torono in August, with the additions of “Hold My Life” and “Waitress in the Sky.” It was amazing. I just wish I’d been more of a fan of the band leading into the show so I could’ve enjoyed it as much as everyone else did.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Takin’ A Ride
2. I’m in Trouble
3. Favorite Thing
4. Hangin’ Downtown
5. I Don’t Know
6. Color Me Impressed
7. Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out
8. Achin’ to Be
9. Androgynous
10. I Will Dare
11. Love You Till Friday
12. Maybellene [Chuck Berry cover]
13. Merry Go Round
14. Wake Up
15. Borstal Breakout [Sham 69 cover]
16. Little Mascara
17. Left of Dial
18. Alex Chilton
19. Swingin’ Party
20. Kiss Me on the Bus
21. Waitress in the Sky
22. Can’t Hardly Wait
23. Bastards of Young

Encore:

24. Hold My Life
25. I.O.U.

Photos (Bands Listed in Alphabetical Order):

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