Riot Fest – Day 3
The Menzingers (Philadelphia, PA), Passafire (Savannah, GA), The Bouncing Souls (New Brunswick, NJ), Violent Femmes (Milwaukee, WI), Touché Amoré (Los Angeles, CA), Radkey (St. Joseph, MO), Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (San Francisco, CA), Manchester Orchestra (Atlanta, GA), Dropkick Murphys (Boston, MA), TV on the Radio (Brooklyn, NY), Rise Against (Chicago, IL), The National (Brooklyn, NY), Wu-Tang Clan (Shaolin, NY)
September 21st, 2014
Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, CO
Of course, I would have everything down pat on the final day of Riot Fest, of course. Before I even hit Sports Authority Field, I had numbered my daily list of bands so I wouldn’t have to analyze every single stage for times. I even scheduled in my time to eat so that my day would go smoothly and smoothly it pretty much went.
My first band of the day was The Menzingers. I can’t say enough good things about these guys. Their high energy, good vibes, posi jumps, and great jams make them super fun to watch. On my way to find some friends I caught a bit of Passafire‘s set. I had never heard of these guys before today but they reminded me a lot of IAmDynamite, I couldn’t pinpoint why. The Bouncing Souls were crazy good live. They were so lively and not a single person in the crowd could resist being in motion throughout the set. This was my first time seeing the band and I hope it’s not the last. I was totally stoked to catch the Violent Femmes‘ set. The band had a much older crowd but everyone was super enthusiastic to sing along to songs that are pretty unenthusiastic. The setlist catered to their cult hits, we heard “Blister in the Sun,” “Kiss Off,” and “Add it Up” among others. I loved everything about it.
I never miss a Touché Amoré show in Los Angeles and I sure as hell wasn’t going to do it in Denver. The guys are energy personified. They ripped through their setlist and the crowd loved every second of it. Frontman Jeremy Bolm is scary good at riling up a crowd so it didn’t surprise me to see such an active one going ham during the show. Their tour mates Radkey were scheduled to play immediately after their set at the stage across the way so the entire crowd practically turned and walked over after the set. If you haven’t heard of Radkey yet I’d advise you remedy that immediately. These three brothers are a band you will want to keep your eyes on. Even though these guys are young, they play like seasoned punk veterans. They play: fast, loud, and awesome. If you’ve been worried about the state of punk rock these days, Radkey is the band that will assure you that all is well.
The supergroup cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes were a definite highlight. These guys are way too much and so were their matching outfits. Even if you had no previous knowledge about this band, their set will bring a smile to your face. Any band that wants to play ska infused covers of classic songs that features Fat Mike of NOFX is okay in my book. They kicked their set off making Gloria Gaynor proud with “I Will Survive” and the jams didn’t stop there. My personal favorite was the cover of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” though the Boyz II Men cover of “End of the Road” was a very very close second.
I made my way across the lot to catch Manchester Orchestra next. They’re a band I’ve followed from the beginning and am always floored by how great they are whenever I see them live. Their musicianship is excellent and the dimension they add to their songs in a live setting is inspiring. We need more bands like Manchester Orchestra in the world.
I kinda felt like I went full circle catching Dropkick Murphy‘s set. The first show I ever attended was Dropkick Murphy’s at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. The energy at that show was so amazing that I was totally hooked on live music from then on. Getting to shoot the band at a festival as awesome as Riot Fest was pretty rad for me, not gonna lie. The lineup has gone through quite a few changes since the first time I caught them but they still put on a hell of a show.