By Narkis Anthony Garcia III (@narkisanthony)
Day 1: Arrived at around 4:00 to catch a little bit of Sum 41 before The Front Bottoms.
Unlike his appearance, frontman Deryck Whibley’s voice hasn’t changed much at all. I didn’t get to stay too long but they definitely drew one of the biggest crowds I saw the entire weekend.
The Front Bottoms:
The Front Bottoms were a great way to kick off the festival. The audience was filled with dedicated fans who knew every word. They played many fan favorites including ‘Au Revoir’ and ‘Twin Size Mattress,’ one of my favorite moments of the festival. Brian Sella’s voice sounds even better in person. One of my favorite performances of the weekend.
This performance gave me lots of mixed feelings. As an Atmosphere fan, I came into this set very excited; however, the set was quite underwhelming. Their music sort of translated to a weird live performance. Slug is definitely getting old and it’s not helping his on-stage image. However, his performance of ‘Yesterday’ put tears in my eyes and is still one of my favorite moments of the weekend.
“Slug is definitely getting old and it’s not helping his on-stage image”
Young the Giant:
Young the Giant was one of my most anticipated acts of the festival. Young the Giant frontman Sameer Gadhia put on an incredible show and played all of their biggest hits. They had great energy and their rendition of “All The Small Things” was my second favorite rendition of the song of the day.
As an entry level Weezer fan, I was very excited for their set. Rivers and crew did not disappoint, playing basically every hit in their discography including their covers of ‘Africa’ and ‘All The Small Things.’
Day 1 reflection: I somehow saw “All The Small Things” performed twice today but neither of them were by Blink 182
Day 2: Woke up at 1pm feeling like I had been hit by one of the trains I couldn’t catch the night before. I did not want to attend this day, so i ended up arriving around 6:15 to catch The Voidz’s set.
The Voidz were a great way to start out day 2. Julian Casablancas’ mullet was out to play so you already know he killed it. They played plenty of their material from their new album, ‘Virtue’. I was surprised they didn’t draw a bigger crowd given Julian Casablancas’ legendary status.
Their cartoonish yet graphic depictions of murder, fellatio and sodomy left me wondering why I wasn’t required to submit a parent permission slip prior to the performance. Although this was one of the most bizarre performances I have ever been to, it turned out to be one of the more entertaining performances of the weekend.
“Although this was one of the most bizarre performances I have ever been to, it turned out to be one of the more entertaining performances of the weekend.”
I caught Interpol for a few songs leading up to Beck’s set. They drew a very large crowd and played through much of their back catalog.
Opened his set with an absolute banger in ‘Devil’s Haircut.’ Even though his outfit made him virtually indistinguishable from the Walmart yodeling kid, he absolutely killed his performance with an incredible live band and some slick guitar playing.
Day 3: Woke up somewhat thankful that this was my final day of Riot Fest. Went early to catch Beach Goons and was subsequently punished by the sun.
Three young kids from San Diego playing great surf rock music. They had the pits going crazy. They played a very surf version of La Bamba that absolutely slapped. More on them in the upcoming interview.
Their somewhat cute appeal in their music doesn’t quite translate to a live performance. They aren’t great musicians at the moment; however, i’m sure they will be great one day. I found it funny that Finn Wolfhard was up there cursing on stage like he doesn’t still have a bedtime.
Wasn’t at their set specifically, but heard it from halfway across the festival. Sounded very high energy and from what I heard from festival goers, they were a crowd favorite.
Came into Blondie cautiously optimistic, as its been decades since Blondie were in their prime. I left fairly disappointed as Debbie Harry’s voice is not what it used to be and lacked the energy to command the very large crowd at Roots Stage.
Day 3 reflection: I was upset at myself for not having the energy to stay for Father John Misty and Run the Jewels but I ultimately felt like I made the right decision.
Full Festival Reflection: RiotFest was very poorly planned but it was fun. I don’t know how people survive festivals on lots of drugs.
Image credits: Jason Pendleton (@jsonpen)