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Riot Fest 2014, Day Three: Closing It Out With A Bang

By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 15, 2014 6:15PM

Everything aches. Luckily day three of Riot Fest 2014 had so much good music going on that I still ended up covering about 10 miles over the day, running from stage to stage. The final day of a music festival can kill some folks, but this line-up is such an embarrassment of riches that’s not an issue here. — Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

1 p.m. Everyone is dragging today and the fact that Humboldt Park’s grounds have the look, smell and texture of a well-worn horse stable isn’t helping. Like a moth to flame, I find the free Red Bull in the press area. Oh hey, there's Andrew W.K.! He’s up early after a late night of partying at Beauty Bar. — Katie Karpowicz

1:12 p.m. The Front Bottoms have the potential to be huge. Considering they drew this many people out at 1 p.m. on the final day of the fest just to hear songs about getting high and falling asleep in cars, they’re well on their way. The perfect poppiness and IDGAF lyrics of the band’s songs have everyone in the crowd, old and young, smiling and bobbing along. — KK

1:30 p.m. Starting the day off with some ćevapi. The spicy sausage vendors even gave me some Croatia travel tips! — Jessica Mlinaric

2 p.m. Kurt Vile unwinds “Wakin on a Pretty Day” for the sun-soaked crowd. It’s early enough that we can pleasantly revel in Vile’s lingering guitar work and extended songs without rushing to the next set just yet.— JM

2:07 p.m. It’s a party at the Revolt Stage for Pup’s set. Beach balls are bouncing around, people are crowd surfing and the young Canadian band is playing well beyond its years. They sound poppier than expected live—like a mix of Anti-Flag, The Lawrence Arms and Gob (Does anyone remember Gob?!)—but the final ten minutes get really rowdy with “Yukon” and “Reservoir.” — KK

2:14 p.m. We can hear The Hold Steady from the press area and don’t even need to see the band to get an early second wind from their energy and party vibe. The best bar band in the universe is emanating positive vibes to anyone within earshot and it’s totally making my day. — Jim Kopeny / Tankboy

2:20 p.m. A security guard near The Hold Steady just forced me to chug my full beer rather than setting it down to photograph. After having fun watching me down a Wonder Beer he refused to let me in to shoot. Dick move!— JM

2:42 p.m. Netherfriends yells out “Give it up! Kendrick Lamar’s gonna come out on stage!” Yeah, that was a joke, but it’s just the kind of lighthearted energy that Shawn Rosenblatt brought to the Radical Red Bull stage as he looped samples solo. — Michelle Meywes

2:43 p.m. Billy Bragg is talking about taking shits at the Cubby Bear. Go home, Billy, you’re drunk off American tea. — KK

2:57 p.m. The amount of energy contained within the small frame of Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan is astounding. The band electrifies the large audience assembled before them and, after years of seeing them play to fervid but small crowds, I am so excited to see them get such recognition from so many people. Everyone around me is dancing and I keep hopping from foot to foot like a fool and don’t care if anyone sees me. — JK/ Tankboy

3:07 p.m. Tiny Moving Parts’ set is not quite as composed as I’d hoped but it can’t be an easy task bringing those ridiculous time signatures and unclassifiable energy to life on stage. However, I’m a sucker for some good finger tapping and right now Dylan Mattheisen is playing his guitar neck like a piano. There seems to be a lot buzz behind this band lately and hopefully that keeps up. — KK

3:28 p.m. Andrew W.K. thanks everyone for “swirling” in the sizable mosh pit. AWK & Co. are owning it as usual with the most visceral and energetic set of the weekend. I find a group of friends and there are a few ripped shirts among them. “I was on the edge of being trampled,” said one pal of the pit. “It was so fun!” Shoot, I’m having so much fun at Andrew W.K. I forgot Naked Raygun is about to go on!— JM

3:30 p.m. Watching security pull crowd surfers from the front of Andrew W.K.’s party set. They all come out looking like the happiest people in the world. — MM

3:42 p.m. I’ve been singing La Dispute’s praises to anyone willing to listen for the last five years and am so happy to see them able to play to this many people at Riot Fest. Their frantic, brooding tunes don’t exactly translate well to a warm, sunny outdoor stage but by mid-set my calves are sore from rocking along on the balls of my feet. — KK

4:00 p.m.Corn dog break! Time for a quick ride on The Orbiter. — JM

4:07 p.m.I never outgrew Motion City Soundtrack and, judging by the size of this crowd, neither did a lot of people. — KK

4:30 p.m. Sometimes I just can’t help dancing in the photo pit. It’s all business up there for the flash of three songs, but there’s no way I’m not bopping along to Tegan And Sara’s “Back in Your Head” and “The Con.” The sisters have an endearing stage presence, bantering with the crowd and crediting the Violent Femmes for their high school efforts in acoustic punk. Tegan and Sara are a welcome serving of power pop amid a weekend of grit.— JM

4:50 p.m. Someone left an entire beer in the port-o-potty! If I was five years younger and ten beers drunker ... nah, not even then. — KK

5:22 p.m. Hot Snakes dive into “Suicide Invoice” and I’m seriously regretting skipping out on their Empty Bottle aftershow last night. They’re all smiles onstage, but the quartet’s sound is still unwaveringly raw. This is one set I didn’t want to leave.— JM

6 p.m. Tankboy made fun of me earlier today for always talking about food in our festival recaps, so here’s my daily dining check-in. This junk food junkie just finished challenging herself to a deep-fried PB&J sandwich. Oh God, give me death. — KK

6:20 p.m. Patti Smith dedicates “Because the Night” to her late husband Fred “Sonic” Smith on his birthday. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so awestruck photographing as I was standing feet away from the Godmother of Punk. Patti spent her early childhood living in Humboldt Park and she mentions playing in the park as a child. The sun is sinking in the sky and poetry is in the air.— JM

6:22 p.m. It’s been a couple of years since The Blue Meanies were last onstage in Chicago but their set shows no cobwebs. Their unique blend of ska, punk, funk and carnival madness is no less potent than when I used to see them play tiny college clubs in the 1990. There’s a sense of danger to their music that hasn’t dulled with age. Wow. — JK / Tankboy

7:04 p.m. Vinnie Caruana can do no wrong. From his time in The Movielife to his acoustic solo material to his ruff and tumble Brooklyn pop punk act I Am The Avalanche, he’s the kind of frontman you simultaneously want to mosh with and hug. IATA are graciously closing down the Revolt Stage with a hearty audience to accompany them. There’s good vibes all around and the band is on point as per usual. Hey Vinnie, if you read this, drinks are on me next time you’re in town. — KK

7:20 p.m. Wow, did anyone doubt Cheap Trick? Robin Zander is decked out in his Dream Police uniform and has total custody of the crowd.— JM

7:22 p.m. Rick Nielsen donning a Piece t-shirt (he’s co-owner of the Wicker Park pizza spot), and a different guitar for each song as Cheap Trick plows through their classic album, Heaven Tonight. — MM

7:30 p.m. Archie Powell and the Exports are absolutely killing it at the Radical stage. I may or may not have gotten on stage in an effort to see if I could freak them out but these pros don’t miss a beat while beating the audience into happy submission with their visceral, but super fun, new material. — JK / Tankboy

7:40 p.m. The Cure is playing and are surrounded by billowing clouds of fog that is almost amorphous as Robert Smith’s crazy cobweb of hair. The mood is delightfully dreary and Goth Nation is out in full effect. I’m enjoying what I’m seeing but the vibe isn’t all that different from when they played a particular other festival a year ago so I decide to cut out early and run over to see Weezer. — JK/ Tankboy

7:45 p.m. So Primus doesn’t light their stage. It’s a shame I can’t grab any decent photos, because watching Les Claypool’s guitarwork up close is a treat - what I can see of it in the dark anyways.— JM

7:47 p.m. Trying to find a good spot for Primus and the Rise/Rebel Stage’s field is a complete cluster. More than anything, I can understand wanting to distance oneself as far away from Bring Me The Horizon as humanly possible but the massive and uncluttered space surrounding the far Rock Stage seems underutilized tonight and, really, all weekend, hosting the smallest of the three headliners each night. — KK

8:13 p.m. Several bands this weekend have said things along the line of, “Let’s get weird.” If Les Claypool ever said that, it would just be redundant. — KK

8:40 p.m. If you were to tell me at this time last year that I would be rounding out my Riot Fest 2014 experience with Weezer, I probably would have replied, “Say it ain’t sooOOOOoooOOOooo...” I’ve never had the patience for Rivers Cuomo’s self-possessed oddities. But I’m all about giving credit where credit it due and The Blue Album is truly a classic. So, I decide to stick around and...UGH. They are not starting with Blue. The lead single (“Back To The Shack”) from their upcoming album is the opening song. — KK

8:55 p.m. I cannot believe I’m watching “Beverly Hills” live. And I don’t say that with awe and excitement. — KK

9:05 p.m. Just watched two girls sneak under the Weezer stage and get yanked out by security. Not sure what they thought they were gonna find under there but a broken leg. — MM

9:18 p.m. Finally, after an unexpectedly dramatic intermission and set change, we’re singing along to “My Name Is Jonas.” Everything is great again. — KK

9:20 p.m.Photographers were dumped out on the opposite side of the stage after shooting Weezer so I’m opposite my friends’ meeting point. This is the most solidly packed crowd I’ve seen in recent festival memory. Do I dare attempt the impossible and try to meet up? Of course, but I almost have a panic attack in the process. Closing out the weekend trading Blue Album memories and belting “Say It Ain’t So” arm-in-arm with my best pals is worth it all. Thank you Riot Fest!— JM

10:01 p.m. Don’t let my complicated feelings towards Weezer, exacerbated by fatigue, fool you. Today was perfect. I love you, Riot Fest. Don’t ever change! (Just make the walk from the Rock Stage to the Rise Stage a little less grueling next year.) — KK

10:34 p.m. Double Door is packed for the Mudhoney and Naked Raygun show. It’s the perfect end to the weekend and friends I haven’t seen in years all congregate here to close out Riot Fest properly. My only regret this weekend? I ran out of time to enjoy any of the carnival rides or the haunted house, So when can we start planning for 2015? — JK/ Tankboy