Rain Delays Did Not Derail Fans And The Final Day Of Riot Fest 2023 – Day 3 Highlights

Rain delays kept Riot Fest attendees waiting at the entrance an extra two hours during the start of day three due to Saturday rainfall leaving festival grounds a soppy...

All Words and Photos: Emily Sisson

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Rain delays kept Riot Fest attendees waiting at the entrance an extra two hours during the start of day three due to Saturday rainfall leaving festival grounds a soppy muddy mess. Fans lined up outside the gates piling over blocks of neighboring city streets. Thankfully all was fixed for fans to enter the gates at 2 pm. The band Thursday kicked off day three on the Radical stage just in time for clouds to clear up and brighten up everyone’s day.

 

Thursday (Setlist)

 

1)Signals Over the Air

2)Cross Out the Eyes

3)Understanding in a Car Crash

4)At This Velocity

5)War All the Time

 

L.S. Dunes performed their highly anticipated set late afternoon to a crowd excited to celebrate the anniversary of the band’s jarring debut that happened at Riot Fest just last year!  “It’s an honor to be celebrating our first anniversary as a band — a real band …It sucks when you have to specify that about your band…just a bunch of industry plants man,” says singer Anthony Green.  When the name L.S. Dunes first appeared on the Riot Fest lineup poster in 2022,  the band itself was still fully anonymous. It wasn’t until August of that same year that the band members had finally been announced alongside their debut single, “Permanent Rebellion”. These Luminaries Anthony Green (vocals/Circa Survive), Frank Iero (guitar/My Chemical Romance), Travis Stever (guitar/Coheed and Cambria), Tim Payne (bass guitar/Thursday), and Tucker Rule (drums/Thursday), all come together to take the next great leap in rock’s grand evolution, and it all launched here in front of us last year at Riot Fest. Opening up with the song “Bombsquad” Green wasted no time jumping into the crowd, letting fans carry him to the other side of the stage all while clenching his microphone cord between his teeth.  As security members help Green back onto the stage the microphone dangles in front of the speakers creating an abrupt noise  “A little constructive feedback never hurt nobody” The singer jokes. L.S. Dunes played songs exclusively off their first and currently only album “Past Lives”. The group remains on tour with Pierce the Veil, Destroy Boys, and  Dayseeker across the US until mid-December.

AFI took a chokehold of attention on the main stage early evening Sunday. Starting their set with their breakthrough song “Girl’s Not Grey ” off their sixth studio album “Sing the Sorrow”, the energy started high. Just recently this year, thousands of fans gathered at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album. Singer Davey Havok moves swiftly across the stage as he jumps off platforms kicking his legs and moving to the music. You begin to see the charisma work its way up his feet and then bellow out his chest.  AFI, traversing through countless adaptations and successes since its 1991 formation, has continued to innovate and ascend in creation. They’re catchy to listen to, and just plain fun to watch! One of the bands to inspire AFI’s original sound was that of the UK band The Cure, who would be headlining that same stage later in the night. Surely an honor for anyone to be so close in comparison to your long-standing idols.  During the song “Love Like Winter” Jade Puget and Davey Havok Stand side by side and embrace while Jade holds up and shows off his beautiful blue Gibson Les Paul Standard.  “We have a family in Chicago, I mean you guys have been with us since the early 90’s,”  he says as he takes a knee at the front of the stage. Halfway through the song “I Hope You Suffer”  singer Havok runs to the crowd to be lifted in the air where he finishes the song without missing a beat! Chicago can’t wait for AFI to return!

Gorilla Biscuits performed their full album “Start Today” from start to finish, but not in that order. The band put on what I can describe as a thought-provoking, engaging, and good old-fashioned punk show. Perfected but completely natural. The mosh pits were great fun, especially as singer Anthony Civarelli hyped up the crowd pulling at our heartstrings, creating unrest, and insisting that we all “Hold Your Ground” while fighting for our place in the pit. A quartet of trumpets played Walter Schreifels onto the stage for his third and final Riot Fest performance this year.  Starting their set with their song “New Direction” Civarelli began to run across the stage singing, becoming more and more energetic yet erratic. He soon ran across the front speakers and made his way into the crowd, handing off the microphone and tussling with bodies pushing towards him.  Though he didn’t stay in the crowd the whole show, this energy was maintained throughout it. Civarelli urged the crowd to move forward and enjoy life, he spoke about death and encouraged the crowd to open up together and be present in the moment. “Please don’t just stay at home and smoke weed and eat junk and get fat. I know I’m not supposed to say fat but please.” During the closing song of start today the crowd banded together for the final song “If you have not danced today, if you have not jumped on somebody’s head today, if you have not sung like no one is listening to you. Get over yourself, and loosen up, this is the time to do it…..Everybody who plays music is so f—king fortunate. Don’t die with music inside you. Sing your life right now.”

The Used played the last slot on this year’s Radical stage sharing some songs from their most iconic and memorable albums. Many fans gathered once again to hear the band bring back their post-hardcore and pop-punk roots to this midwest city in need. Fans were ecstatic when they got even more than they bargained for. Before the band graced the stage decorated with flowers, they were played on by the intro of a computer-generated voice “My breath is dust, my bones are glass, there are scorpions inside of me. Devoid of soul and devoid of faith. THIS IS TOXIC POSITIVITY!”.  Starting their show with the song “Pretty Handsome Awkward“, Riot Fest goers were immediately transported back to 2007 to a time when life was more carefree, and our favorite clothing store ‘Hot Topic’ was still booming. The albums “In Love and Death”,  “Lies for the Liars”, and  “The Used” were offered a particular spotlight during this show. Songs like “All That I’ve Got” and “The Bird and the Worm” elicited ecstatic crowd reactions, though the ladder song was unfortunately cut short. All these years later The Used still brings an energetic and eye-catching performance that aims to resonate with all of us former emos. The band recently released their brand new album  “Toxic Positivity” released May of this year and are currently on tour outside of the US Following their recent tour with Sleeping With Sirens. The band all bantered with the audience through their full one-hour set. During the final song of “A Box Full of Sharp Objects’ singer Bert McCracken announced “This next song is the greatest f–king song ever written”. The band then remixed the song while splicing in the record-breaking song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” while enjoying the crowd reaction and chants.

 

The Mars Volta Setlist

1)Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)

2) L’Via L’Viaquez

3)Graveyard Love

4) The Widow

5)Cicatriz ESP

 

The Cure closed out this year’s festival to thousands of fans including many respective musicians who had also played Riot Fest days or even hours prior. The anticipation was set to a maximum of 11 come nightfall and fans couldn’t wait any longer. These performers put on a show that anyone could attest was just as sweet as they dreamed. Robert Smith came out sporting theatrical makeup and a black Amy Winehouse T-shirt. The first song “Alone” started to play and immediately you could see a mass of talent and artistry that The Cure has continued to master since its birth 44 years ago. Though there wasn’t too much crowd banter, fans appreciated all of the time dedicated to the music.  Their set expanded around 2hr 30 min and included songs across 12 different albums!  You can only imagine the amount of A-list tracks left out.

 

The Cure (Setlist)

1)Alone

2)Pictures of You

3)High

4)Lovesong

5)And Nothing Is Forever

6)Cold

7)Burn

8)Fascination Street

9)A Night Like This

10)Push

11)In Between Days

12)Just Like Heaven

13)At Night

14)Play for Today

15)A Forest

16)Shake Dog Shake

17)From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea

18)Endsong

 Encore:

19)Lullaby

20)The Walk

21)Friday I’m in Love

22)Close to Me

23)Why Can’t I Be You?

24)Boys Don’t Cry

 25)10:15 Saturday Night

 26)Killing an Arab

 

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