Photos and Words by Matt Lief Anderson
The driving force behind Riot Fest is nostalgia. Your favorite band in high school probably has played a Riot Fest show at some point. Mine certainly did.
This year’s headliners were No Doubt, Modest Mouse, Snoop Dogg, Faith No More, System of A Down, Iggy Pop, The Prodigy, Rancid, Ice Cube, Gwar, Motorhead, Tenacious D, Anthrax, Gwar, and Cypress Hill. I’ve shot a lot of festivals and have to say that the typical age at those things is usually about 19. Riot Fest made me feel young at 32. You see a lot of dudes with receding hairlines, there isn’t a huge push to get to the front of the stage, and people are willing to bob their balding heads in the back row. Every band or artist that I saw had been around for at least 20 years. This festival is for the olds.
Drive Like Jehu
Drive Like Jehu
The main event for me was Drive Like Jehu. In fact they were the whole reason I flew from Austin to Chicago to see RiotFest. I grew up on 90’s punk. I was a product of skate culture and that’s the shit they played in skate videos. When I heard Yank Crime, I stopped writing ‘Fugazi’ on all my school textbooks and started writing ‘Drive Like Jehu’ when destroying school property. The mastermind of the band is John “Speedo” Reis, who ended the set by jamming his guitar through the hollow head of his amp while it hung from the neck of his guitar as he finished the song ‘Luau.’ I looked around and saw some tears on stranger’s faces that had waited decades to see these guys. Perfect.
Bootsy Collins Rubber Band
I hung back because I was told that Iggy Pop wasn’t allowing press in the photo pit. So I set up camp at the front of the stage and got to talking to some girls from NYC. One of them was wearing a skimpy bikini and was a huge Iggy Pop fan. She said she planned to show him her tits during the performance to try to get on stage with him. He started and things got hectic. The crowd pushed us all into the front of the gate and I started to panic about my camera being smashed. There was a lot of crowd surfing and girls trying to get on stage. Iggy kept grabbing the prosthetic dick he had in his pants and igniting the crowd to push harder and try to make their way onto the stage. I was starting to miss the comfort of the press pit and was concerned as to what would happen when he performed “Lust For Life.” It was an incredible show. The old man can really rock and if you get a chance to see him, you should definitely take it.