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Riot Fest 2014: Preview Guide

Another year, another Riot Fest. It’s the 10th anniversary of this unique festival, which started as a bunch of punk bands playing at a handful of Chicago venues. Since then, it’s moved outdoors to one central location, added a carnival, and expanded its lineup significantly. This year is the biggest Riot Fest ever, with 130+ bands across 7 stages being held in a new section of Humboldt Park that’s better equipped to accommodate everything. Coincidentally this is also the first year I’ll be covering Riot Fest on the site, though be forewarned it’s going to be in a very quick and dirty fashion. This festival was built on punk spirit, and I’m going to maintain that by not writing too much and taking more time to truly enjoy myself. With other festivals like Pitchfork and Lollapalooza I get a bit more in depth and run everywhere to see as much as possible. Now that the weather is starting to turn colder and the general excitement of summer has all but worn off, I’m going to take in everything as it comes my way. Hopefully it will be a blast.

The lineup for this year’s Riot Fest is the best one yet, and points towards a bright future if they want to continue in this same vein. When it was first announced, I claimed it was the best festival lineup I’d seen in 2014, and I’m willing to stand by that assertion. There’s going to be plenty of things to see and do, so here’s a quick look at the bands and time slots you should make a priority this weekend when you’re not playing carnival games and such:

Pick Your Poison: Wednesday 5-14-14

When you really think about it, Chicago is incredibly blessed when it comes to music festivals. It’s the third largest city in the country, but first when it comes to fests. L.A. doesn’t really have a major festival unless you count Coachella which is out in the desert a couple hours away. New York has things like Governor’s Ball and The Roots Picnic, but they’re not necessarily massive spectacles. The city has plenty of shows, most are just spread out all over the place instead of concentrated at a big festival. And while other major cities like Seattle, San Francisco and Austin all have multiple music festivals, none are quite the collection that Chicago has, which includes Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, Wavefront, and North Coast, just to name a few. But the one I really want to talk about right now is Riot Fest & Carnival. They just announced a majority of their lineup, and suddenly have established themselves as a major player in the music festival world. This marks the 10th anniversary of Riot Fest, and I guess they wanted to pull out all the stops. Originally started as a punk rock festival in line with the Warped Tour (minus the tour part), the last couple of years they’ve moved away from that theme a bit to incorporate different types of bands, ideally to bring in a greater collection of people. Last year they orchestrated a big “get” in having The Replacements headline in what were their first reunion shows (and pretty much the only ones they did in 2013 I think). That, plus bands like The Dismemberment Plan and Pixies were enough to get me out to Humboldt Park for a day that was a little rainy but also delightful. This year I’m automatically in for all three days thanks to a stacked bill that includes The Cure, Jane’s Addiction, The National, Rise Against, Weezer, The Flaming Lips, Slayer, The Offspring, Wu-Tang Clan, Samhain, Descendents, Tegan and Sara, Metric, Cheap Trick, Patti Smith, Mastodon, Afghan Whigs, Pussy Riot, Superchunk, Naked Raygun, Failure, The Dandy Warhols, Andrew W.K., Kurt Vile, The Get Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack, Hot Snakes, Thurston Moore, The Pizza Underground, The Hotelier and a whole lot more. There’s plenty I want to see, and you should come out September 12-14 if you can make it. Three day passes are on sale now and can be purchased here. There are also smaller Riot Fests in Denver and Toronto during different weekends in September if you’d prefer, but Chicago is the big one. It might be my favorite festival lineup for 2014, though Pitchfork is fighting hard for that honor, as it does every year. Okay, let’s get to today’s Pick Your Poison. Good tracks in this set come from Champagne Jerry (ft. Kathleen Hanna), Flagship, Fur Cough, The Landing, Malibu Shark Attack and TOTEM. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Cheerleader, Greys, Joan As Police Woman, LCTRISC, and Sharon van Etten.

The Capsules – Super Symmetry

Champagne Jerry ft. Kathleen Hanna – CJ Flow

Flagship – Waste Them All

Fur Cough – Bye My Myopia

Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood (Unlike Pluto Remix)

The Landing – Pale Blue

Malibu Shark Attack – Moment of Truth

Noosa – Begin Again

The Provincial Archive – Son of Sam (Elliott Smith cover)

RKZ – A Song To Drink Tea To

Toshes – Smoker Man

TOTEM – Rich Girl

Pick Your Poison: Friday 9-13-13

It’s Friday the 13th! (thunderclap) Try not to be too spooked or superstitious on a day like today. To me, it’s just another Friday and just another start to the weekend. If you don’t have any grand plans already set in place and are hanging out in Chicago, let me recommend checking out Riot Fest for all of your live music needs. Single day passes are still available, and I will wholeheartedly recommend going on Sunday to see the Pixies and The Replacements. Speaking of The Replacements, while they’ve had a reunion gig or two already, I suspect Chicago will be a big deal for them since it’s the city where they broke up. Ironically enough, they were performng at a festival (Taste of Chicago, to be exact) and mid-set walked off the stage to never return. Their roadies came out and played the rest of the show. With only two of the original members alive and healthy enough to play shows, I guess burying the hatchet wasn’t so difficult. You may be disappointed that it’s not all the guys, but in this situation you take what you can get. Same with the Pixies, because Kim Deal has left that band to focus on The Breeders. Overall I expect Riot Fest to be a fun time and a fun weekend on the whole, so come on out and we’ll have some early fall music festival fun. If you won’t be in town or simply have other plans, that’s cool too. Maybe you’ll like today’s edition of Pick Your Poison. There’s some good stuff in this batch from Anamanaguchi, Deadbear, Fronds, FUZZ (Ty Segall side project), iNCH., Pascal Barbare and Taffy. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Bottomless Pit, High Highs (covering College’s song from the movie Drive), Jacco Gardner and Geoffrey O’Connor.

Aimes – Give It to Me

Anamanaguchi – Endless Fantasy

Bear Scout – Two Moons
Bear Scout – Let It Go

Deadbear – Wabi Sabi

The Difference Machine – Futuristic Blast

Fronds – Crush

FUZZ – What’s in My Head

iNCH. – Dear Paramour

Pascal Barbare – House of Mirrors

Saint Max & The Fanatics – Soul Surrender

Taffy – No Endings But Only The Beginnings

Taka Perry – Lunar

Temporary Pharaohs – The Smoked Mirror

Vintage Moon – Tyro

Pick Your Poison: Wednesday 9-4-13

Just because Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer doesn’t mean you need to start bundling up and staying indoors. September is a fine month for a lot of things, live shows being one of them. Even outdoor live shows. Surprisingly, with the Pitchfork Music Festival in July and Lollapalooza in August, September has become something of a safe haven for some smaller music festivals in Chicago that boast remarkably strong lineups. Among them is the A.V. Fest/Hideout Block Party, which takes place this Friday and Saturday night outside of The Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia). Among the artists performing are Neko Case, Mavis Staples, Trampled By Turtles, Young the Giant, The Hold Steady, Superchunk, The Walkmen and The Both (Ted Leo + Aimee Mann). If you’d like to buy tickets to this fun, family-friendly festival, they’re $35 for Friday, $40 for Saturday and $70 for a two day. Go here to learn more. Next weekend, what I like to call the last big music festival of 2013 arrives in Chicago with Riot Fest. It’s remarkably 90’s and early 00’s heavy this year, which some might argue is a good thing. Headliners include Fall Out Boy, Blink 182 and the big one, The Replacements. Other acts performing over the three-day weekend include Pixies, Violent Femmes, Rancid, Blondie, Danzig, Guided By Voices, Brand New, Public Enemy, Taking Back Sunday, Bad Religion, The Dismemberment Plan, Dinosaur Jr., Andrew W.K., Against Me!, Best Coast, Mission of Burma and Stars. Check out the full lineup here. Three day passes are sold out, but you can still buy individual passes for each day here. So the grand lesson we learned from all this is that while we hold on for dear life for whatever shreds of warm weather we have left, there’s no reason to be bored or have a lack of something exciting to do in Chicago these next couple weeks. Of course for the many non-Chicagoans reading this, I hope today’s Pick Your Poison will keep you entertained for awhile too. Don’t miss tracks from Chalk, Hey Champ, Kramies, Pig Destroyer, Signals Midwest and Victory. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream tracks from The Hudson Branch, The Internet, Kevin Morby (of Woods/The Babies), Ryan Hemsworth and Son Lux.

Callow – Strange

Chalk – Next to Useless

Clara May – Badlands

Hey Champ – On Holiday

Jadea Kelly – Lone Wolf

Kramies – The Wooden Heart

Monster Rally – Orchids

Pig Destroyer – The Octagonal Stairway

Pillar Point – Diamond Mine (Generationals Deep Dark Ocean Remix)

Prom Date – X My Heart (Matsy Remix)

Sacha Mullin – Whelm

Scary People – Dreams of Gold

Signals Midwest – In the Pauses

Son of Stan – Corsica (Hatchback Edit)

Victory – This, That or This

Pick Your Poison: Wednesday 6-12-13

Chicago is great. I love my city, probably in the same way that you’re passionate about a place that you’ve lived for the majority of your life. You probably wouldn’t have lived there for so long unless you liked it…or your parents forced you into it during your childhood. Anyways, What I was getting at about Chicago is how incredible it is when one of our sports teams does well and suddenly “fans” start to come out of the woodwork and claiming they’ve been supporting the team all along. Sure you have, just because you watched a part of that game that one time because the bar you were at had it on. But yes, it seems the fairweather fans have descended for the rest of the NHL season now that the Blackhawks are in the running for the Stanley Cup. Nevermind the fact that I’ve spent quite a bit of time cheering for the team this season straight from its abbreviated post-strike start at the beginning of 2013. But this also isn’t a sports blog, and I don’t like using this time to complain. But I bring this up because in the middle of one of the longest games in Stanley Cup history earlier tonight, something amazing was announced that relates to music in Chicago. Okay, and Denver and Toronto too. What is this amazingness I speak of? Well, it seems that The Replacements are officially back, and have announced three shows that will be among their first in 22 years. All three of the currently announced shows will be in the form of headlining slots at all three Riot Fests taking place in 2013 in the cities I’ve just mentioned. The Toronto Riot Fest takes place August 24-25, the Chicago version takes place September 13-15 and the Denver ones goes from September 21-22. As a life-long Chicagoan, of course I’m most excited about that show. Chicago is also a notable place in the history of The Replacements, because the band officially broke up on July 4, 1991 in the middle of a show at the Taste of Chicago. So now they’ll be making a grand return, and suddenly my Twitter feed deviated from hockey commentary for a bit to report the exciting news. As for the lineup of The Replacements, at this point it’s going to be Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson, and the rest of the band will be announced later. Want to hear something even better? Before the festival kicks off in mid-September, I’ll be giving away a pair of 3-day passes to this year’s Riot Fest in Chicago. Beyond The Replacements you’ll be able to see the Violent Femmes, Blondie, Rancid, Public Enemy, Guided By Voices, The Dismemberment Plan, Dinosaur Jr. and many more. Tickets can currently be purchased for either $150 for a regular 3-day pass or $250 for a VIP 3-day pass. It wouldn’t surprise me if the festival sold out this year, and rumor has it single day ticket sales are on the way too. But yes, if going to this festival for 3 days in mid-September in Chicago sounds like a great plan to you, keep an eye on this site for your chance to win some free passes. Now then, let’s get to today’s Pick Your Poison. There’s some strong tracks in the set today from Holley Maher, Inch Chua, Joey Bada$$, Leftover Cutues, Missing Monuments, Run the Jewels (Killer Mike + El-P) and Speedy Ortiz. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream new songs from Arp, Freddie Gibbs, Smith Westerns and Zero 7’s remix of Ultraista.

Caged Animals – Cindy + Me (Billy Dub Remix)

Glitches – Only Time Will Tell (Tom of We Have Band Remix)

Havilah Tower – Out to Sea

Holley Maher – Whispered Words

Inch Chua – Artful Dodger

Joey Bada$$ – 95 Til Infinity

Kris Menace & Douze – Wall of Love

Leftover Cuties – One Heart

Maps – A.M.A. (Susanne Sundfor Remix)

Missing Monuments – Answer the Call

NOVI – Make A Scene

Run the Jewels – 36″ Chain

Shine 2009 – Eurozone (CFCF Remix)

Speedy Ortiz – No Below

Pick Your Poison: Wednesday 5-15-13

Because Chicago has so many more music festivals than just Lollapalooza and Pitchfork every summer, sometimes it’s nice to explore other options. If you don’t have anything going on the second weekend in September, specifically Sept. 13-15, perhaps you might want to find your way to Humboldt Park for Riot Fest 2013. The fest is in it’s 8th year and has grown exponentially in the last couple. It was never held outside before until last year, when two of the three days were in Humboldt Park and the other day was at the Congress Theatre. This year, all three days will be at Humboldt Park, and the lineup is set to be larger than ever. The first wave of bands was just announced, and oh my is it an eclectic mix that some will view as divisive. Then again, for a punk carnival like Riot Fest, their lineups have almost always been a bit split down the middle. Last year, one day featured Rise Against, The Offspring, Coheed & Cambria, Alkaline Trio and more, while another day featured Iggy Pop & the Stooges, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, The Jesus and Mary Chain and a bunch of legacy and indie acts. I suspect there will be a similar organization with how this year’s fest shakes out. Anyways, here’s a few of the acts at Riot Fest 2013 so far: Fall Out Boy, Blink 182, Violent Femmes, Motorhead, Rancid, AFI, Sublime with Rome, Blondie, Public Enemy, Brand New, FLAG (aka Black Flag), Guided By Voices, Bad Religion, Atmosphere, The Dismemberment Plan, Dinosaur Jr., DeVotchKa, Against Me!, Bob Mould, Best Coast, Bad Books, Mission of Burma, Stars, Peter Hook (performing Joy Division), Maps & Atlases, Surfer Blood, Saul Williams and many more. Have a full look at the acts announced so far. There’s one more headliner yet to be announced, which I’m betting will be a classic, legacy act to counter the Fall Out Boy and Blink 182 headlining sets on the other two days. A bunch more bands will be announced too in the coming weeks. Three day passes are on sale now at a very modest price of $99.98, but once that allotment sells out the price goes up by $10 (and later another $15), so if you like what you’re seeing with this lineup and can clear that time in September, maybe now’s a good time to buy. Just sayin. I’m pleased to say that I will be giving away a pair of three-day passes to Riot Fest coming up soon, so keep an eye on the site for your chance to win and go for free! Now then, let’s talk Pick Your Poison. I’m pleased to recommend tracks today from A Grave With No Name, Bad Cop, Blank Realm, English Singles, Lawnmower, Mirage, and G_Force’s remix of Radiation City. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream new stuff from Barbarossa, Big Deal, Movement, When Saints Go Machine and Baauer’s remix of Disclosure.

A Grave With No Name – Aurora

Bad Cop – Light On

Blank Realm – Working on Love

Building Pictures – Come of Age

Candace Bellamy – Johnny

Dillon Hodges – The Proof

English Singles – Ordinary Girls

Lawnmower – Team Spirit

Mirage – Let’s Kiss

Mordecai – Runner

Pharaoh Ivan – Relax Your Mind (ft. Murph Watkins)

Quasimo – We’ll Manage

Radiation City – Zombies (G_Force Remix ft. TxE)

Rotimi – Only Human

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