Words by Kimberly Eggleston
All Live Photos Credit: Jonathan Sippel
Saturday was definitely going to be a hot day, and things were getting extra hot over at the Riot stage where Chicago was about to get a lesson in the #TeachesofPeaches . She easily gave one of the best stage performances this weekend in terms of costume and all around fun times. There was everything from giant vagina hats and big pink furry yeti-like costumes to wearing almost nothing at all. Sometimes Peaches and her sexy burlesque dancers were actually dancing, and sometimes they were scissoring each other and faking orgasms. The set seemed to fly by while she performed some of her most sultry hits like “Rub”, “Vaginoplasty” and “How you like my Cut”, as well as some age-old classics like “Fuck the Pain Away” and “Boys Wanna be her”. Peaches showed us what bringing a little overly friendly Canadian hospitality across the border into Trumpland looks like.
As the first show of the day was pretty upbeat electronic music, I feel I mistakenly let my guard down, and wasn’t quite prepared for the hardcore punk, thrasher shit storm that Dead Cross was about to bring. This band is made up of guys who’ve come from other incredibly talented groups to form this supergroup, and it really shows in the way they play together. From Mike Patton’s screeching vocals to Dave Lombardo’s drumming, to Justin Pearson’s bass, to Michael Crain’s guitar, this band was here to make sure no one forgot why the words heavy and metal go together.
They were by far the loudest band that day, and even if you thought you were being smart by bringing earplugs, you could feel the drum bass from their songs such as “Idiopathic” like a mini earthquake in your chest just to remind you that they wouldn’t be ignored. Mike Patton was a good stage host, asking “Chi-town” how they were, and telling them how sexy they look. I guess as first time Riot Fest attendees they wanted to make a good impression on everyone, except for the guy they insulted in the straw hat- fuck that guy. He also graciously made sure we knew about Peaches who had just played the stage next to him “Did you guys come over here after seeing all those tits and shit?! Okay… just checking.” Don’t worry Patton, we came, we saw, and we came again, thanks. They played songs like “The Future has been canceled”, and “Obedience School”, as well as covered the very interesting tidbit “Suck my Ass it Smells” originally by GG Allin, and Dead Kennedy’s “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” It was an interesting set, to say the least, and I think like most people, I stuck around for the first bit of it, and then left after deciding I wanted to spare my eardrums.
For New Found Glory I decided to pick a different perspective to watch from and stood on a small hill overlooking the stage. Mostly it was just really fucking hot outside and the hill had trees that provided actual shade (I had previously been using big tall people as makeshift sun protection because I’m weird like that). They had a giant sign behind them patting themselves on the back for 20 years of being a pop-punk band, and to celebrate put on a show that pleased the masses. When lead singer Chad Gilbert yelled at the crowd to put their hands up, I could see from a distance a small circle of people front and center of the stage throw their hands in the air. He then yelled “circle pit!” to try and get his dedicated following to do just that and the people… well, they tried. It’s easier to put your hands in the air then it is to run in a circle and elbow your neighbor in the face, not that I’d actually know, growing up with glasses has made me fear things coming near my face, no pun intended.
Chad didn’t let this failure ruin his set, and played some hits like “All downhill from here” and “Hit or Miss”, as well as their own pop-punk rendition of Six Pence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me”. He also expressed to the crowd how genuinely grateful he was of all the people who had shown up to Riot Fest to see them, which I’m sure the people there appreciated hearing, especially the girls to my right who has literally been belting out the words to every song they had played like the existence of Riot Fest depended on it. It was sweet.
I went to the Radicals Stage a little early to get a good spot for The Wu-Tang Clan. When I got to the stage the incredible Chicago based youth poetry group, Example Setters, were doing a spoken word performance, talking about racism, poverty, and overcoming social issues. They were brought to the fest by The Wu Foundation in coalition with other peacemaker organizations spreading the word about, and working towards stopping, crime in Chicago. The Wu-Tang Clan themselves put on a solid performance for all the fans of their 1993 album ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)‘ as they played the entire thing. They shouted to the crowd to “Put (their) W’s in the air!”, and even shined a light into the audience to make sure the number of people obliging was to their liking, which it must have been as they dove right into Raekwon’s song “Incarcerated Scarfaces”, and the rest is 24 years of history.
Another band I made sure to show up early for to get a good spot at was emo group Taking Back Sunday, who apparently wasn’t able to snag the Sunday headlining slot (maybe next time guys). The thing about big shows like this is no matter how early you show up to get close, there’s always going to be that asshole who’s bigger than you that elbows you and the blind girl beside you in the face to get a little closer (true story). Don’t get me wrong, I love shoving and moshing as much as the next person- provided that person actually doesn’t like it much at all. I’m not really a crazy animal, I’m more of a domesticated dog; the golden retriever of riot festers; the corgi of concert goers. When drummer Mark O’Connell came running out on stage clapping his hands the crowd went nuts. The band went right into playing their hit “Tidal Wave”, and the crowd, just like the title of the song, became like a sea of people jumping and dancing and flowing together. Adam Lazzara gave a generous shout-out to Queens of the Stone Age, saying they were his favorite band and then thanked everyone for choosing to watch their show when they could be over watching QOTSA, or even riding the Zipper, one of the many carnival rides to make an appearance this year. They played some other great songs too like “Cute without the ‘E'” and “Makedamnsure” which gave me some pretty heavy nostalgic emotions from my emotional teen years.
Last up for our crazy and exciting day was watching Queens of the Stone Age killing it over on the Riot Stage. I came across something saying this band is classified under a genre called “stoner rock”. I’d never heard of this genre before, but when you listen to them play you just kind of get it, they’re definitely stoner rock, and they clearly own the genre by the way thousands of people gathered to see them perform, putting Taking Back Sunday’s crowd to shame. They played a few of their hits like “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire” and “No One Knows”. They also played 4 songs off their newest album ‘Villians’ including “The Way You Used to Do”, and “The Evil Has Landed” while crazy vertical lights circled them on stage creating whatever type of atmosphere they needed for their music.
Josh Homme played it pretty tame that night on stage, most likely due to an injury he had sustained about a month prior to Riot Fest that caused them to cancel a San Fran. the show, but they still put on an exciting setting for the crowd who didn’t seem to mind at all, and danced enough for 1000 Josh Hommes. They ended their set with the number “A Song for the Dead” which felt oddly appropriate considering how I felt after such a long day, and probably wasn’t by coincidence either. I couldn’t wait to get back to my hotel and literally (but like, not literally) die, so I could feel refreshed for my third and final day at the fest.