Bands To See At Riot Fest

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Death Cab For Cutie

I mean, who are you to NOT want to see this band? They have been the reigning leaders of indie rock or years, having thousands of fans from everywhere. I remember the first time I heard this band (who have since changed sound since then). It was maybe 2002. I was in a public library. I was able to rent CD’s, remember those days? Well I picked up The Photo Album and put it on my computer. I fell in love from that moment. Since then, well I have never seen Death Cab For Cutielive, so I am beyond excited. – Sean

Listen To: TransatlanticismPlansThe Photo AlbumNarrow Stairs, Kintsugi, Keys And Codes


Again, who in their right mind would NOT see this band? Hey, the cool thing about my (Denver) Riot Fest Day (Friday) is that the BIG headliners are bands that have had command over their respective genres for years on end. The Deftones have reigned supreme in metal/hardcore/rock/industrial/whatever you want to call them since the 2000’s. To see them live is a must for anybody who enjoys heavy music. I am a little worried as to how much of Gore will be played, but even then, that album has some fantastic layers. – Sean

Listen To: “Heats / Wires” + “Rubicon” + Their Entire DIscography

Fucked Up

Arguably one of the most artistic hardcore bands to ever grace planet earth, Fucked Up provide emotionally strong songs that require attentive listeners. But that’s easy when their music provides so much depth it’s like walking into a force field that leaves you in a trance. I can’t wait to hear the piercing, bright guitars delivered under gut wrenching screams and sonic walls of euphoria striking a match through my ears and into my body. Just let it happen. – Sean

Listen To: “Queen Of Hearts” + “Sun Glass”


There’s just something about hardcore/punk bands from the 1970s, from the widely-recognized logos, patches, and merchandise, to the revolving performing lineups, to the clear divisions between said lineups forming separate off-shoot bands of the same root band, to the legal disputes.  As of right now, Danzig, Jerry Only, and Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, will be taking the stage together as the Misfits for the first time in over three decades.  There will certainly be some detractors questioning the motives behind the reunion, or just overall cynicism in how the set will actually play out.  There will always be those who criticize bands for resting on their laurels in their reunions or “anniversary tours”, often throwing around terms like “cash grab,” and voice that they will not support these time periods of bands’ legacies.  However, I am NOT one of those people.  If you want to make some money off of your old personal art, and there is still public interest, go for it.  “Nostalgia” has become a grossly overused word and idea.  If you really would prefer to keep your personal image of a band “pure”, by all means do so.  But if even a part of you is curious, there isn’t much to lose.  At the very least, regardless of the final outcome, this set is a chance to see three notable members of an iconic band together on stage.  The recent Misfits lineups have played setlists of close to FORTY songs, so an opportunity to see Danzig belt out old horror punk anthems like “Hybrid Moments”, “Bullet”, “We Are 138”, and “Halloween” (just to name a few), as a person in his 20s, you bet it has my attention.  For better or worse, it should be interesting. – Dan


With a rock n’ roll heart and an emo / indie soul, Microwave’s music is ever-evolving but always alluring. The bands song-writing style lends itself to detailed story telling that regardless of relevancy to your life, you’ll still find yourself screaming along to (and no, there is no baby). Their album Stovall lit a spark in 2014 but has since turned into a wildfire attracting the attention it so deserves. Between Brand New’s self-given expiration date and the last Motion City Soundtrack show; Saturday is going to leave you an emotional wreck so be sure to stop by Microwave for some lighthearted hope that music is still alive and well. – Hannah

Listen To: “Something Right” + “The Fever”

Plague Vendor

This high energy punk band out of California burn through their set with such a ferocious barbarism that it makes the entire world stop and watch. Being able to have seen them live at Riot Fest before, I am extremely excited to watch their set after releasing their sophomore recordBLOODSWEAT. Needless to say, if you like punk music, crazy live performances and watching live shows, well that’s all Plague Vendor will do, (maybe make you feel the heat on “Got It Bad”). Don’t miss Plague Vendor. – Sean

Listen To: “Got It Bad” + “Credentials”

Set Your Goals

 While I try not to project my personal music-preference trajectory onto others in the form of blanket statements, I can’t help but feel as though certain subgenres and scenes of punk music have not aged or progressed as gracefully as others- especially “easycore.”  Having said that, I also cannot deny how many “pop-punk”/”easycore” shows I went to in high school and the positive influences said shows had on my small group of friends.  This past July, Set Your GoalsMutiny! quietly eclipsed its 10 year mark, resulting in the band reconvening to celebrate the album.  Even today, I find it hard to just listen to one track off of this album without needing to start from the beginning.  The Friday date of Riot Fest (Chicago) offers a chance to turn back time to a not-too-distant past to help celebrate an essential album full of seamless transitions, catchy hooks and riffs, and dueling vocals that formed some anthemic songs. – Dan


This rock band might be backed by Hopeless Records, but their ethos are DIY through and through. Just recently Somos released two new songs (Eternal Yesterday and Downpour) while touring the US. Their discography is impressive with two albums and splits with both Sorority Noise and Have Mercy, but Somos is most refreshing because they have a lot of heart. On social media and at shows the band doesn’t hesitate to educate followers on police brutality, other social issues and give their support to Black Lives Matter. In 2015 the band dropped off a tour to make frontman’s Michael Fiorentino mental health a priority; an important example for the music community and a step towards ending stigma. If nothing else go see Somos on Friday because they’re an important group of people but I am sure you’ll want to stick around for their music. – Hannah

Listen To: “Dead Wrong” + “Thorn In The Side”


Alright, I have been known to not enjoy how many of the big emo bands have been announcing reunions, but I must say Thursday was a big influence on much of my listening pleasures in those days, with From Autumn To Ashes as well. They were one of those bands that I had not seen live (I think my list is getting to that point) and it will be a dream to see “War All The Time” in front of me, like my 2006 year old sad self always wanted. Huh, a decade later and not much has changed. – Sean

Geoff Rickly’s name has seemingly popped up several times in the past year or so, albeit surrounding some unfortunate events and circumstances.  Luckily, the past few months have produced some good news for Rickly.  He and the other members of New Jersey post-hardcore outfit Thursday have recently reconnected since their 2011 hiatus, ultimately deciding to play some shows together starting with Wrecking Ball in Atlanta.  While Thursday will grace the outdoor stages of Riot Fest on Sunday, it is the sold out after show that they will be playing at Double Door on Saturday night that has my attention.  While I don’t condemn outdoor stage setups, as I see it as a good thing to make certain bands more accessible to larger interested crowds, they do lack most of the intimacy that is offered by indoor venues.  The intensity of Thursday’s catalog is better suited to be witnessed in a space where the noise will be kept in the room via four walls and a ceiling, along with several hundred other people that went through various lengths to specifically see them play. Saturday September 17 at 10pm, Double Door’s… doors, will open to a raucous, sold out crowd ready to witness Thursday and the unannounced “Special guests.” – Dan

A Will Away

You may be surprised that a band from Connecticut with a couple EP’s is playing Riot Fest, but if you have ever listened to infectious emotional rock band that is A Will Away you’d understand their potential. Their last 5 track EP Bliss sounds as full as an album while demonstrating the band’s strengths in melodic vocals, demanding instrumentals, dreamy production, and unique songwriting. At festivals it’s easy to get caught up in seeing your favs, but make a new one and check out A Will Away on Sunday. Next time your hear about them it will hopefully (probably) involve an full length that’s going to blow them up. – Hannah

Listen To: Cheap Wine + The Masochist’s Daughter