FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Riot Fest Chicago’s Best ‘Under The Radar’ Acts

Part of the beauty of going to a music festival is finding your next favorite band. You know, the next act that is going to truly change your life. This could happen to many who attend Riot Fest Chicago. Sure, the main stages are packed with fimilar and unforgettable names like Taking Back Sunday, The Cure, The Used, Rise Against, Slayer, Die Antwoord, and many, many more. But what about those bands playing earlier in the afternoon or on the smaller stages? Don’t those acts deserve some credit? They certainly do. And we’ve created the guide for you to follow this weekend as you try to find the next act destined to leave a positive mark on your soul.

Click the “Read More” button to check out our “under the radar” acts for this year’s Riot Fest Chicago and do your homework accordingly. Think we missed a band? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Haven’t heard about PUP? You’re missing out. This Canadian quintet could save modern punk rock music as we know it — if you do believe it needs saving. The melodies aren’t far from The Beach Boys and the musical progression matches some type of whiskey-infused early-days Say Anything…and yet the band still reeks of a punk rock essence. PUP is the type of band writing music that can change your life; don’t let that opportunity slip by you. — Matthew Leimkuehler, Music Editor & Feature Writer

The Hotelier

The Hotelier‘s set in NYC this past spring was probably one of the best ones I’ve had the pleasure of catching this year. The energy they brought, and the same energy their newly acquired crowd caught, was unbeatable. Putting out good music (Home, Like Noplace Is There) takes a lot of skill. Being able to seamlessly translate the same good music into a live rock show takes a lot of talent. Thankfully, The Hotelier has plenty of both. You’d be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t catch them playing “Discomfort Revisited” live at Riot Fest. — Dana Reandelar, News & Review Writer

Survay Says!

One of the most fun bands to see, ever. Go live in the ska revival and skank along to Survay Says! at Riot Fest Chicago. — Nick Karp, Staff Phtographer

Lucki Eck$

Lucki Eck$ is one of few up-and-coming artists that’s arriving just in time to save us from the monotony and the inundation of homogeneous hip-hop. Lucki makes wise choices when it comes to producers as his seemingly seasoned, confident flows faultlessly ride the chill and ofttimes unique beats. He may not be energetic in his delivery but it’s the poise in his alternative brand that’ll help him rise to the top. I’ve yet to see Lucki Eck$ live myself but if my predictions regarding his inevitable success are on point, I’d suggest taking advantage of this opportunity to see him now as a lower-billed act before you’re fighting tooth and nail to make your way to the front of the crowds for his future headlining sets. — Brian Lion, Co-owner / Editor / Head Beard In Charge

From Indian Lakes

This band is my new discovery of the year. I’ve been crushing on From Indian Lakes big time and I expect that if you take the time to see the band anytime this year, you will feel the same. Plus FIL are on the verge of releasing a new album, making Riot Fest Chicago the perfect time to get a taste. — Corey From (where?), News & Review Writer


It might be known that I have a soft spot for bands on Tiny Engines, but Somos is the only band I can imagine starting off my Riot Fest Chicago weekend with. Get there early because this is the last time you’ll see them this low on a bill. — Nick Karp, Staff Photographer


Dads is a band that unless you have seen them live already, or randomly ran across their music, you may have missed them. They’ve already been out with the likes of Reggie & the Full Effect. Get in the know before October as I expect them to turn many heads with their debut album. — Corey From, News & Review Writer


Coming straight out of the muck that is Kansas City, Radkey is a punk trio of brothers ready to kick you so hard in the teeth you’ll be eating your own ass. The band jams like no other up-and-comer in the scene. The band’s currently on tour with Rise Against, and you know the old adage- “you are the company you keep.” — Matthew Leimkuehler, Music Editor & Feature Writer

Check out the full Riot Fest Chicago lineup here.

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