All Words and Photos: Emily Sisson
Very early into Saturday’s lineup, the lead singer of Drain demonstrated the true roots of Hardcore Punk with a stunt that shocked many when he disregarded all rules and encouraged attendees to jump the barricade and fight their way to the stage. Before ending the set with their song “California Cursed”, singer Sammy Ciaramitaro eagerly riled the crowd into a frenzy stating “Your job is to jump the barricade, get on stage, and get this microphone.” The band’s latest album Living Proof was released May 5, 2023, and is their second full-length album. The singer later spoke in an interview with Q101 “Maybe the first and last Riot Fest for Drain, I hope not though”. He goes on to say “If we’re getting kids wild we’re doing our job.” stating “Whoever didn’t know saw, and now they’re just like “That’s what hardcore looks like”, that’s awesome”.
Bowling For Soup played their first-ever Riot Fest this year! Bassist Rob Felicetti speaks in an interview with Car Con Carne “When Jaret texted the group we Got Riot Fest this year, we were like really? Awesome. Because we always kinda felt like we weren’t the cool kids.” During this year’s Riot Fest the band played a great compilation of many of their most popular songs Including High School Never Ends, Punk Rock 101, and Ohio (Come Back to Texas). Possibly the funniest band to see perform at the festival given their crowd banter and slightest of self-deprecation. Though give and take would also require the crowd to endure being unironically “Rick Rolled” for the band’s selfish enjoyment. The crowd would also help the band sing through the “Phineas and Ferb” theme song, bringing out everyone’s true inner child. Unfortunately, the weather would make us muster through the cumbersome rain throughout the entire set making it slippery to move. However, when the band closed with their song “1985” there was no shortage of bodies being passed to the front of the stage.
Enter Shikari played the Rise stage early in the evening with Rou Reynolds joking “We’re going to ease you in gently with 140 beats per minute. And then we’ll scoot upwards from there … .So loosen up people this is Shakari.” Surely the crowd was excited for the band’s more intense compositions, but for now, the mood was set with a calm sway. The band recently wrapped up their USA and Mexico tour after releasing their new album “A Kiss For the Whole World”. The Song “Bloodshot” off their most recent album was performed to a sea of fans excited to be a part of the joy. The song “Live Outside” was released back in 2017 and performances live still bring fans into such a heightened sensation. Finishing up the set with their song “Sorry Your Not a Winner” off their breakthrough album the band brought a performance that showed longevity and an apparent emotional energy.
Viagra Boys Setlist
1)Ain’t No Thief
3)Punk Rock Loser
Nothing, nowhere Setlist
6)Pieces of You
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls Setlist
5)Try This at Home
9)I Still Believe
10)Four Simple Words
100 Gecs was the last band to perform on the radical stage on Saturday night. Upon arrival, it was apparent that 100 Gecs had been a main ticket item for many attending Riot Fest this year. Many wore merch and unlike audiences across the other sets, you could tell the majority were youths. Starting their show with their song “Dumbest Girl Alive” off their 2023 album “10,000 Gecs” the duo jumped on stage and did what they do best, blasting the crowd’s ears with digital mixing and melodic hyper-tuned vocals. The crowd couldn’t get enough of the hyperpop adrenaline Dylan and Laura were pumping through the speakers. Lots of colorful lights and all the crowd banter was in auto-tune.
Sleep Token took the stage to a crowd of fans who had waited patiently to see the band despite their performance being given a relatively small stage this year. One might be surprised to not see this band already playing the main stages for every show they attend, after their recent sold-out tour and all their music award nominations, Sleep Token has continued making quite the name in the alternative music scene, and we can see why. Recently the band had announced a standalone headline show at Wembley Arena, which completely sold out within 10 minutes! “Take Me Back to Eden”, their most recent album released in May this year has caught the attention of many in the industry including Corey Taylor who has continued to publicly praise the band’s image and artistry. As their Riot Fest show began the mood shifted and the Masked singer known as “Vessel” appeared on the stage surrounded by blue lighting. While singing acapella he began the intro of the song “Chokehold” and the crowd soon joined after. The first half of the show was set to slow-paced songs matched with passionate vocals and deep heavy bass. When the band finally changed pace to play the song “Vore ” the crowd easily broke out of their calm trance and replaced the previous energy with chaos. The band played mostly songs from their most recent album including “Granite”, “Rain”, and “The Summoning”. Sleep Token closed the show with their song “The Offering” from their 2019 album “Sundowning”. Much about this band remains a mystery but everyone’s eyes appear to remain glued.
Insane Clown Posse has a fanbase like no other and after a 20-minute delay, things were starting to look grim as to whether there would be any show at all. Just last year Violent Jay was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation leaving his doctors to recommend that he attend fewer shows and tours. Last year Insane Clown Posse embarked on a farewell tour and now only performs shows for “special events”. The stage was set and scattered with giant buckets with bottles of Faygo soda filled to the brim packed and ready to go. There was an uneasy nerve throughout the air as the crowd drew more impatient with hundreds of Juggalos dressed in their best Saturday attire. People were starting to wonder if the show would go on. Thankfully soon after worrying, the show started with “The Show Must Go On” as the infamous ICP sign lit bright and revealed the pair on stage. Immediately crowd energy was high and while the first 30 seconds of the show was dry, the rest was comparable to a key West Faygo hurricane. During the first song, a deranged posse of clowns appeared from behind Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope to drench the absolute hell out of the crowd with the soda that had earlier been so taunting. The fans had plenty of time to party and rage with the group during their one-hour set time. ICP played many songs off of The 1997 album “Great Milenko” including “Down With the Clown,” “Hokus Pokus”, “Boogie Woogie Wu” and “The Neden Game”. During their closing song “Pass Me By” a song about the duality of life and death while being stuck on Earth; They invited fans on stage for one last round of drinks, you guessed it, Faygo.
Mr Bungle Brought metal fans together late Saturday evening for a killer set of eclectic, twisted pieces of music, essentially highlighting their new era. The addition of Scott Ian and Dave Lombardo has only personified the heavier thrashier music following the release of “The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo”. This kind of sound is almost unrecognizable from what the band was once originally known for in its youngish years, with Funk and avant-garde taking somewhat of a spotlight. Most of the set covered songs from this newest album release such as “Grizzly Adams”, “Hypocrites / Habla español o muere” and “Anarchy Up Your Anus”. This set was incredible, getting to see Scott Ian shred his neon jackson san dimas guitar, crowd surfing to “My Ass Is on Fire” and watching a set free of phone screens was a breath of fresh air. Of course, the band did share their fair share of chaotic calm during the set… chaotic calm, is that a thing? During a cover of the song “True,” Mike Patton surprised the crowd Pulling a squealing pig toy on stage to accompany him for assisting backing vocals. It was a well-received gift to receive so many unique cover songs, not only ironically because of the pig, but for the variety and the novelty alike.
Death Cab for Cutie (Setlist)
1)The New Year
3)Title and Registration
5)The Sound of Settling
9)Death of an Interior Decorator
10)We Looked Like Giants
11)A Lack of Color
Queens Of The Stone Age (Setlist)
1) No One Knows
2)My God Is the Sun
3) Smooth Sailing Emotion Sickness
4)If I Had a Tail
7)Make It Wit Chu
9)Go With the Flow
10) A Song for the Dead