All Words and Photos: Emily Sisson


©Anthony Linh Nguyen

©Timothy Hiatt


Joey Valence & Brae were here performing at lollapalooza earlier this year. Little known fact- Chicago’s Lollapalooza was the first time the duo had performed a festival show, Now back in Chicago after months of performing festival gigs all over the US and Uk; they were ready to “Crank It Up” with the Riot Fest bunch. That day fans and audience members heard a few songs that have yet to be released by the duo including “Street Pizza” “Club Sandwich” and “Fuck Me, Fuck You”. Joey Valence and Brea have primarily released new-aged rap that resembles a 90’s aesthetic sprinkled with the 2000s and 2020 pop culture references. “Fuck Me, Fuck You” introduces fans to a taste of the guy’s punk style, which only seems fitting for the Riot Fest scene. “I wish we had sponsors..” Brea states “ Heelys or Razor scooter, hit us up”. The two artists truly have so much to offer the music scene in the upcoming years, proven true by their diverse tastes in musical interests and very calculated detail in their projects. Joey Valence and Brae are naturals at hyping up the crowd and I could tell audience members were saving up energy for the band to play “Start A Fight”. “Woah yeah! Come on, let’s start a fight!” one audience member screamed as the song “Hooligang ” ended. The band was able to play almost all the songs they have released so far but that one in particular . However as the song “Start A Fight” was surely anticipated, stage production informed the two, their time was up and their set had to be over. “They’re cutting us off,” Joey Valence said “I’m so sorry” I sat down with the guys after the show to ask questions about their future in music and how they came to where they are today. A deep dive article and exclusive interview with the band can be found shortly.


Coolio won’t ever be forgotten. This performance proved to us all, some legends never lose their mojo. Though he was a late addition to the lineup fans and attendees were ecstatic. Unfortunately as many know, less than 2 weeks after his Riot Fest performance, the rapper Coolio was pronounced dead in a friend’s Los Angeles home, on Sep 28th. Visitors who attended the Coolio show at Riot Fest were lucky to have witnessed one of the rapper’s last-ever performances. I will long fully regret that I only caught and photographed the first 3 songs of the set. The performance “Fantastic Voyage” had us bumping and grinding in a cathartic state. Coolio who was an amazing rapper, was also his own best personal hype man. The show consisted of many saxophone solos and invitations to “put your hands in the air”.  Everyone surrounding the stage was surely there anticipating one song in particular. Once “Gangsters’ Paradise ” started, the crowd erupted into a roar. “Can you get a little bit louder? Come on Chicago, a little bit louder!!” 



Played one of the smallest stages on the Riot Fest grounds but worked it for all it was worth. Singer Cameron Boyer while performing proves to be extremely routy and unhinged. The band was very fun to watch perform, to say the least. One of the first songs played was one of their bigger hits “I’m Not Okay”. You can’t help but move to the song, the opening line “I can be a handful, that’s why you have two hands” is not only cheeky but topped with an overly catchy beat. The band performed an array of songs from multiple albums from the 2018 “Kids In The Night” to their most recent 2021 album “Pillows & Therapy”. The performance of “Alone Again” clearly a crowd favorite, brought upon a few crowd surfers who wanted to not only get closer to the action but maybe catch a high five or even just a smile from Cameron. Those who did won’t soon forget and I had hoped I wouldn’t either. Once the show ended I immediately knew I would want to go back and relive the performance. If you missed their set and want to see what it looked like on video, you’re out of luck. I tried to find a youtube clip of any of the songs performed at the riot fest show but to no avail. Maybe someday someone will come through but until then, there is always next year. 



Gave us a show we couldn’t help but love. From the moment singer, Lyndsey Gunnulfsen walked onto the stage the audience held onto every word sung by her angelic voice. Pvris is known for its indie rock and psychedelic sound but also for shifting the Alt scene dipping its toes into experimental electric beats and synthesized sounds. This show was not only a testament to the singer’s incredible vocal range and dynamics but also the band’s ability to create and perform fan favorites from every album. In august 2022 they were featured on a track off the Bad Suns album “Apocalypse Whenever” a song called “Maybe You Saved Me”, poppy and catchy tune about love and trust. The band’s performance of “You and I” brought not only tears to audience members’ eyes but also invited one another to dance, rejoice and release their emotional energy. Lyndsey would switch back and forth as she performs with and without her guitar making small banter with audience members. Her voice was so powerful and serenaded my ears, I couldn’t help but let go of all my worries and smile. They ended with the song “use me”, surely leaving the crowd wanting more. 

Jimmy Eat World

hit the stage at just about the hottest time of the day. Though my exhaustion was high, I could not wait to see the set. Like many others the song ‘The middle’ was one of my favorites to listen to while walking through the halls of my middle school. The band continues to have a loyal fan base and continues to tour frequently even holding a lineup spot on the soon-to-be iconic When We Were Young music festival in Las Vegas. I had never seen their show before but I was all too ready to join the sea of other long-time fans and first-time viewers. The group opened with the song ‘features’ and Just minutes after facing the glaring sun, the group broke into a heavy sweat just as noticeable as the crowd. In the 2019 release of their most recent album, ‘Surviving’ singer James Adkins shared that “ ‘Surviving’ feels like an album that’s making up for lost time” and “building a new foundation from scratch”. Surprisingly, we did not hear any songs from that most recent album. We did however hear the song ‘Something Loud’ the band’s most recent single. Adkins jumped and wandered the stage showing off his model guitar model, a crimson red fender telecaster. Their well-rounded set closed with the song ‘sweetness’ followed by their number-one hit ‘The Middle’. 


The Maine

Has released two singles in 2022, both accompanied by other artists. The song “Box in a Heart” was released back in September and features artist  RENforshort a Canadian singer/songwriter. The other single released this year “Loved You A Little” features both Taking Back Sunday & Charlotte Sands, two other artists on this year’s Riot Fest lineup. When the song “Loved You A Little” was performed the band invited Charlotte Sands to join the stage. The crowd ecstatic and excited as ever, welcomed her with open arms and admiration. Charlotte Sands joining the performance of course made it so much better, seeing as she adds so much dynamic to the track her force was beckoning. It was very interesting to see that all three bands featured in the song had performed at this year’s festival, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that Taking Back Sunday didn’t join them on stage! By the time they played “Am I Pretty” the sun in the sky was just barely visible and the sky soon became black. As audience members crowd surfed and piled over each other, singer John O’Callaghan encouraged audience members “ don’t think just go” summoning up the rebels in all of us. The song “Bad Behavior” off the 2017 album  Lovely Little Lonely made an appearance halfway through the set once again calling out others to dance and share their joy. When it was time for their set to end, the band closed out with the song “Black Butterflies and Deja Vu” and thanked us for our company. 


The Academy Is

Performed the last set on the Radical Stage. As a younger you, you might have found it a bit hard to see one of their shows or performances. In 2011 the Chicago-native band announced their split. A hard hit for all of us who cared deeply as long-standing fans of the band. Then in 2015, singer William Beckett announced the band’s return to Riot Fest 2015 lineup and later held a farewell tour with some of the original members. Finally and remarkably after 7 years, it was shared on Twitter that the band would once again be reuniting for Riot Fest to perform together once again. Surely this show was a historic performance to witness for anyone in the crowd. Of course, the real die-hard fans of the band saw their show at Concord Music Hall on Sep 17th. Those audience members ironically enough ended up seeing the same show and setlist as the night before. How would you feel about that? The Academy Is started their set off electrifying the ground with their song “The Phrase that Pays”, a song released back in 2005. When the second song “About A Girl” begin to play and the lights turned pink, the crowd became powerless and began to pour their hearts out exclaiming “I’m not in looooveee”.  Beckett exclaims “We got day three at Riot Fest here, and it’s incredible. Incredible.” He sighs “I don’t want to cry yet, I was close when we came out”. For the performance of “Attention” Former members AJ LaTrace (guitar) and Mike DelPrincipe (drums), who played on the original recording of this song joined the group on stage. Singer William Beckett was so excited of course he couldn’t help but welcome them twice. “ I haven’t rehearsed my banter, we’re just chilling tonight.” When it was time to perform their last song you could tell emotions were high for both the band and the crowd. A thoughtful and deep performance of “After The Last Midtown Show” left the audience thankful and joyous to have witnessed their favorite hometown band back together again. While leaving the show I could feel the joy as others around me talked about all their favorite sets and artists throughout the three-day festival. Myself and other Riot Fest goers left the festival bewildered and amazed thanks to all the sensational acts during this memorable Riot Fest season here at Douglass park. This year’s festival was one for the books and will not soon be forgotten. Thank you to all that came out and made it possible!

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