It's that time of year again - the First Wave lineup announcement for my favorite music festival, Chicago's RIOT FEST! This morning, the crew behind the fest (taking place September 15-17 at Douglas Park) unveiled over 70 artists including Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, and the exclusive reunion of Jawbreaker. Additional highlights include New Order, Paramore, Prophets of Rage, M.I.A., Wu-Tang Clan, a DJ set from Beastie Boys’ Mike D, Bad Brains, Ministry and Vic Mensa. Check out the full First Wave lineup below, along with my personal "Rock Father Picks" for who I'm most looking forward to seeing, highlighted in bold.
This month, IGGY POP: LIVE IN BASEL 2015 comes to theaters around the U.S. for a limited engagement as part of a global screening even from Rising Alternative. Here in Illinois, just two theaters are screening it, with Chicago's Music Box Theatre hosting the film on June 16 & 18, and the Cinemark Century 12 Evanston/CineArts 6 AND XD playing it on June 22. Check out a very brief trailer below, along with a full setlist from the concert film. For cities and dates for a screening near you, click here.
I've said this many times, but allow me to say this again... when it comes to music festivals, there is currently only one that maintains my loyalty: Chicago's RIOT FEST. While there's many festival offerings here in Illinois and beyond, RIOT FEST is the one that folks should be paying attention to - a festival that's grown from a days-long event scattered through multiple venues in Chicago, into the three-day behemoth known as the RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL. But there's also Denver, too - with the RIOT FEST & RODEO, and for 2016 the first wave of announcements is absolutely stellar... and this is just the first wave! Check out the announcements below, along with some official "Rock Father Picks" on what I'll most be looking forward to seeing this year...
When it comes to music festivals, my "Old Crankypants" alter-ego tends to come out. The April arrival of the two-weekend Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is essentially the start of festival season here in the U.S., and for the most part, the most high-profile fest in the country holds little interest for me. Sure, they score a few sweet headliners like GUNS 'N ROSES this year, and the mighty FAITH NO MORE a few years back, but the running joke of the dozens of bands slapped on the poster in an increasingly smaller font is just that - a joke. Then we have Lollapalooza here in Chicago, a fest I still haven't attended since it planted its flag on Illinois soil for a permanent run - preferring to remember it as a traveling carnival of awesome from the 90s. In fact, the only fest locally that I've been known to support 100% is RIOT FEST, but I will say that the upcoming Chicago Open Air has my attention (needs some Product of Hate, though). Cranky business in lineups aside, the amount of press releases that I receive each year about the culture surrounding Coachella is fascinating. There's usually two things being pitched - "VIP" packages that would be unaffordable for most ($25K-$50K), and fashion. A lot of fashion. On the latter note, I really have no gripes, which is why it's actually sort of cool to see that MGA Entertainment has issued a new series of "Music Festival Vibes" BRATZ dolls... though "Old Crankypants" does come back when it comes to BRATZ.
While Chicago's Riot Fest & Carnival can take many shapes for many people, Day Two was all about the "legends" in my eyes. A genre-bending day filled with plenty of punk (THE DAMNED, CIV, THE DEAD MILKMEN, PENNYWISE, THE LAWRENCE ARMS+) tied to Riot Fest's roots, the biggest moments for me were stacked as night began to fall.
Ever since Woodstock '94, visions of mud-fueled mayhem have gone hand-in-hand with summer music festivals in America. In Chicago, that hasn't been far-off these past couple of years, as soggy weather has made for some challenging festival-going, turning once lush green grass into foot-deep bogs of sticky slop. As Chicago's Riot Fest & Carnival got underway in its new home at Douglas Park yesterday, the scene was much like last year on the weather front, though thankfully the skies opened early enough in the day that concertgoers were able to enjoy most of the festivities rain-free... despite the muck underfoot. Families were out in full-force for Riot Fest, with new generations experiencing some of their parents' favorite bands, likely for the very first time.