UTG PREVIEW: Eight Reasons Riot Fest Is Booking Your Favorite Band Before You Know It

RF2 edit

Riot Fest Chicago is everything an alternative music lover of the past 3 decades wants in a festival. It is arguably the most buzzed about, tweeted at, liked and talked about festival of 2013. It has the potential to be legendary. 

Riot Fest Chicago will be a weekend full of unforgettable sets and unrealistic appearances. Here at UTG, we understand this is the festival of 2013. Over the next week and a half, we are going to be bringing you a multiple-part series dissecting the lineup of Riot Fest Chicago and telling you why we think this particular event in 2013 will be the festival everyone will still be talking about when Danzig has their 50th anniversary show. The third section of the series is titled Eight Reasons Riot Fest Is Booking Your Favorite Band Before You Know It and it highlights eight bands appearing at the festival that are playing early in the day but are still worth showing up when gates open and giving a listen. With our help, maybe you will find your next favorite band this weekend.


Interesting and vibrant, Twin Peaks is one of the hottest up-and-coming acts from the Chicago area. Mixing a concoction of all things garage and experimental, it appears Twin Peaks have created the perfect post-modern stew and Riot Fest attendees will surely be gulping down a full serving. The passive-aggressive vibe this band delivers simply oozes for a must-see performance.

Twin Peaks is the best kept secret in Chicago, for now. – Matthew Leimkuehler (@callinghomematt), Music Editor


Simply put, Direct Hit! is punk. Punk. Not Urban Outfitters punk. Not Hot Topic Punk. They’re not even Warped Tour punk. They’re not pop-punk, power-punk, indie-punk or any other genre combo you can spew out. They’re direct and to the point, refusing to clutter and cover their no bullshit, balls out sound with studio glitter and production polish. They’re rough, raw and as real as it gets.

Their guitars fly throughout the songs as floor toms send the songs tumbling forward frantically. Their lyrics are a clever combination of tongue in cheek humor and middle finger melodies. Fans of Blink-182 and early Green Day will be able to find their footing listening to the band, but the less rookie punk listener will find a lot of Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph in the mix.

The world could use more bands like Direct Hit! – Josh Hammond (@endless_rambles), Review Writer 


Whether or not they have pulled any influence from the Swedish punk-innovators in Refused, New Beat Fund are both a step ahead and a step behind today’s trend-influenced alternative pop scene. This self-proclaimed “G-Punk” band from LA sets themselves apart through laid-back melodies, 80s synths, Beck-like riffs, and spacey vocals.

These underdogs are currently turning heads en route to Riot Fest as they open for blink-182, and if that wasn’t enough to tell you something big is around the corner, you clearly haven’t heard their singles “Scare Me” or “Helena.” – Adrian Garza (@adriangarza_), News & Review Writer 


Los Angeles’ punk-rock saviors Touché Amore may not be flying under the radar to some, but there are still so many out there that have not been caught in the captivating culmination of cult-punk this band has created. Brutally honest and forthcoming, TA are taking steps to finally leave the basement shows they made their name in and stepping into much larger venues (such as this fall on their arena tour supporting AFI). TA will bring a certain kind of energy and transparency to their performance that will show so many unknowing why this band has so much positive buzz surrounding them.

TA has already done so much for so many people, yet it still feels like they are only getting started. – Matthew Leimkuehler (@callinghomematt), Music Editor


Margret Warner, simply known to the music industry as Dessa, is a clusterfuck of descriptions. She’s both indie and hip hop. She’s both rapper and poet, dabbling in spoken word. She is both a solo artist and a member of the Minnesota based hip hop group Doomtree. Basically, Dessa is all over the damn place.

She’s also overflowing with talent. With a brilliantly beautiful vibrato singing voice and a solid grasp of both rhythm and flow, Dessa is set to swiftly turn heads and tear down any wall standing between her and success. Should you find yourself locked inside the no re-entry Riot Fest early in the day, circle her set time on your daily itinerary in bright red marker. She is not one to be overlooked.

You will someday regret skipping her for an extra hour of sleep. – Josh Hammond (@endless_rambles), Review Writer 


Flatfoot 56 may be a little late to the party that is celtic punk in comparison to their contemporaries in much bigger bands like Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, but there’s just something else to be said about these Chicago natives that make them worth a few minutes of your time (or at least a glance). This band is great with balancing out genuine heart and soul in the studio and a love to have fun live at shows.

Picture it like this, how many times have you ever experienced gathering in a gigantic circle of strangers with your arms wrapped around somebody’s shoulders for the duration of a rousing gang-vocaled first verse of a cover of “Amazing Grace,” only to quickly transition into singing your heart out to a full band punk jam of the song from the inside of a subsequent circle pit?

If the answer is greater than or equal to none, you better make your way out to catch FF56’s set. – Adrian Garza, (@adriangarza_), News & Review Writer


Sometimes a fresh start is all a few dudes looking to play rock and roll need. Nativ, the band formerly known as Attack Attack! is back for a fresh start and Riot Fest-Chicago is where it all begins. Although there is a certain amount of baggage to be carried with this group’s past, they seem to have re-invented their sound in a unique way, or so it can be judged from the eerie, heavy single, “Lately.”

With the interesting path these guys have taken in the last year, all eyes will be on their much-awaited re-birth. – Matthew Leimkuehler (@callinghomematt), Music Editor


Indie-punk East Coast quartet Hostage Calm have made a name for themselves through an array of touring and DIY ethics. The band is both catchy and intriguing. Each of the records Hostage Calm has released since their formation in 2007 (3 LPs, 3 EPs and an impressive split with Anti-Flag) have been unique in their own respect. Hostage Calm is the type of band that does a little bit of something for everybody. There is no reason an attendee of Riot Fest wouldn’t be won over by their performance.

Hostage Calm has been flying under the radar, almost as though they are one of the best kept secrets in the pop punk scene, but one can only hope they grab some new attention after this weekend’s appearance. – Matthew Leimkuehler (@callinghomematt), Music Editor 

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.