UTG PREVIEW: Eight Reasons Riot Fest Is The Most Unique Festival Of The Year

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 first part of the series is titled Eight Reasons Riot Fest Is The Most Unique Festival Of The Year and it breaks down eight bands you wouldn’t expect to see on the bill, but make the show that much sweeter.


If you were a betting man, woman or interplant space traveler, the odds would be in favor to assume you would find Kitten as the supporting act for Passion Pit, Best Coast or MGMT rather than shoved into the mix of Rancid, Bad Religion and Danzig. With extremely infectious electronic instrumentation there is no denying an aspect of the act being a fish in a tank of sharks. However, anyone who has seen Kitten live knows there is no fucking around when it comes to energy. I mean, take a glance at the band’s shitmess of an appearance from last year’s Middle of the Map Fest in Kansas City, in which a super drunk Chloe Chaidez preformed chin ups from the roof of the bar before being fit “too drunk to continue.”

That sounds pretty punk rock to me, regardless of the genre. – Josh Hammond (@endless_rambles), Review Writer


Let’s be real, GWAR would be out of place in damn near ANY lineup. Don’t get me wrong. Musically, they’ll have no problem hanging with anyone and everyone on stage. However, in what situation can you really claim that a group of demigods from various planets that have been exiled to this planet for hundreds of billions of centuries will fit in?

Checking them out is certainly worth your time. However, since this is a festival and the chances are good you might intend of seeing additional bands after, one should probably bring a change of clothes or intend to stay out of the splash zone. But seriously, what fun is that? – Josh Hammond (@endless_rambles), Review Writer


As it goes for most of the artists included in this countdown, do not mistake out of place for unwanted. Hatebreed is first class hardcore music and should never be considered anything less. These guys please the punk rock fans and give the hardcore kids one less reason to bitch about not enough hardcore in the lineup. You know you are at Riot Fest when you get to see Hatebreed, a band that has been playing since 1994, open up for Fall Out Boy, a band whose most fans were born (around) 1994.

Can’t wait to see how that dynamic plays out. – Matthew Leimkuehler (@callinghomematt), News & Review Writer 


Riff for riff and note for note, I would argue that no band in music is more structurally sound than Stars. Part of the long reaching Broken Social Scene fraternity from Canada (along with Feist, Metric and many, many others) the band is known more for clever and candid lyrics than their punk energies. This in no way is an indicator that I think Stars lack energy. I think anything but this actually. Having caught the band last year at The Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas shortly after their release of The North I can contest that the band possesses more emotion live in one set than most bands do in their entire career.

Out of place or not, I’m thrilled that Stars are in this lineup. – Josh Hammond (@endless_rambles), Review Writer


Musically, Radkey belongs at Riot Fest with the best of the rest. What sets this act apart from any other of the entire weekend is their age. This trio of brothers from Kansas City are 15, 18 and 20 years old, respectively, most of the bands headlining the festival have been playing music since these guys were born. Alas, do not mistake age for talent, this group will undoubtedly be one of the most buzzed about bands of the event.

Radkey just might be the only band good enough to hang with such experience at such a young age. – Matthew Leimkuehler (@callinghomematt), News & Review Writer 


Though at times the obvious influence of punk bleeds through in both Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra’s music, both bands tend to side more on the side of indie rock than punk. Andy Hull goes so far as to have created a full singer-songwriter concept series through Right Away, Great Captain. Both bands however are known for their extremely full-tilt stage manner and balls-to-the-wall renditions of sad bastard storytelling. Though Bad Books has its jaded moments, it also has been known to tip over into the alt-country and calmer side of things. Though the band might not appeal to both the Rancid and Sublime with Rome crowds, fans of The Replacements and The Pixies might find the group right up their alley.

Regardless, Brand New fans will show up in droves for this set. As the leader of this indie rock brotherhood, who knows if Jesse Lacey might show up and join the band’s set? Stranger things have happened. – Josh Hammond (@endless_rambles), Review Writer


The Devil Wears Prada somewhat fit into the bill of Riot Fest, given their former success with touring with Warped Tour-era bands, but something still seems off about their appearance. Playing alongside blink-182, Glassjaw, Say Anything and Rancid seems like quite the interesting afternoon for Saturday’s edition of the festival. TDWP, brandishing a full-octane live performance, will hold their own Saturday.

If nothing else, it will add to the intensity of what is bound to be an array of emotional performances. – Matthew Leimkuehler (@callinghomematt), News & Review Writer 


While it isn’t that far of a stretch to line Best Coast up with several of the festival’s headlining bands, the happy-go-lucky poppy feel of the band sticks out a little against the angst and curb stomp mentality of the punk movement. However, if you dig deep enough into the band’s structure, there is a pretty clear nod to the 1990s. Picture a hipster version of The Breeders with an extremely marketable cat named “Snacks” (who has more Twitter followers than you.)

Billed against a legend or classic icon band, Best Coast might find some trouble. Regardless, the band finds itself in a nice sleeper opportunity to sneak into a fanbase and open some ears they might otherwise never have been exposed to. – Josh Hammond (@endless_rambles), Review Writer

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