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Saturday, September 12 2015 15:11

Chicago's Riot Fest: Day One - Adventures in Mud & Music

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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. 

This weekend, Chicago's Riot Fest & Carnival returns, this time taking place in a new location, Douglas Park (St. Anthony Hospital, be damned!). Having attended and covered the festival off-and-on over the years, it's still incredible to see what was once a week-long, multi-venue, sorta "underground" affair having expanded into a massive, three-day event that no longer simply happens in Chicago - but also Denver and Toronto. While there's certainly plenty of other festivals in Chicago (and the U.S.), this is the only one that I look forward to - the only one that truly speaks to my interests. The only issue for me with the size is, well, size - and that creates logistics issues no matter which festival you attend, particularly one with dozens of bands spread over seven stages. Conveniently, Riot Fest has an App (available for iOS & Android) to help with scheduling and music discovery, and from that App I was able to narrow my list to around 27 artists to check out, toplined by my favorite band of all-time, FAITH NO MORE. Still, there's some overlap, but I'll get it figured out. Accompanied by a highlight reel from last year, here's THE ROCK FATHER's picks for Riot Fest Chicago 2015 as exported and emailed via the Riot Fest App.

It should come as no surprise that I'm a big supporter of music and arts programs in our schools, and music education overall. For those with children in band or thinking about getting started in band, Music & Arts is the largest retailer of Band and Orchestra Instruments in the U.S., and this Wednesday they're kicking off the Back-to-School music season with a special #MusicArtsBTS Twitter Party hosted by The Network (@TheNetworkNiche) and Co-Hosted by yours truly (@TheRockFather) along with @Optimistic_Mama@EileenCCampos & @PragmaticMom. RSVP on our facebook event for a chance to win musical instruments or gift cards to Music & Arts!

The folks behind Sock Puppet Parody are back, and this time they're keeping the Texas vibe alive with a send-up of PANTERA's "Walk." Performed by HAMPTERA (of "Folding Hostile" fame), this one's got the seal of approval from PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul himself! Check out the new clip below, and watch for Vinnie (currently busy with HELLYEAH) at the end. Bonus Fact: Back in the early 90s, my friends and I used to call Dime & Vinnie's house to hear their "PANTERA Hotline!" answering machine messages. Sometimes we'd leave a message as a goof.

Earlier this year, AEROSMITH ROCKS DONINGTON 2014 premiered theatrically, and after gaining audience and critical acclaim, Eagle Rock Entertainment is bringing the film home on September 4th.  Filmed at Donington Park during the band's appearance at the DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL last year, the new film captures the band performing a career-spanning set featuring 20 of their biggest hits, among them, "Walk This Way." With the release coming up this week, a full performance clip of that track has emerged, which you can check out below!

Back in 2011, just days before I officially launched this site, I wrote a news item for my old gig about a documentary film called ALL THINGS MUST PASS. A documentary about the rise and fall of TOWER RECORDS, the film by Colin Hanks, ALL THINGS MUST PASS was one of the first Kickstarter projects that I'd ever written about, and it achieved its goal practically overnight. And then we all waited... for over four years. Now, Gravitas Ventures will release ALL THINGS MUST PASS in limited theatrical release on October 16th (there's some festival appearances in September), and my friends at Fandango have the trailer (and you can get tickets, too). This is an important film for all music lovers to see, especially since there's already a generation coming of age that arrived after the music industry collapse...

Friday, August 28 2015 09:05

Play an 8-Bit IRON MAIDEN Video Game Right Now...

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Earlier this month, metal legends IRON MAIDEN unleashed the music video for their new single, "Speed of Light." Taken from their forthcoming album, THE BOOK OF SOULS, the video is pure 80s glory - the type of video you would've seen on MTV's HEADBANGERS BALL during the midnight hour. In the video, IRON MAIDEN's mascot Eddie is seen in 8-bit form - the subject of a Nintendo-style video game. As of today, you can actually play that game online! It's a little DONKEY KONG-esque, with Eddie racing to rescue a woman from the top of a building. I made it to level four (you only get one life), but maybe you can do better?

Are the members of COHEED and CAMBRIA a little old to be in High School? Yes, but that doesn't matter in the new video for "You've Got Spirit, Kid" - a short that finds them taking on some bullies in true 80s teen movie fashion. I do need to point out that this one isn't for the kids, because while the song is super-catchy, there is a language thing happening - so beware of that. Check out the new video below, along with some comments from the band. The new COHEED and CAMBRIA record, THE COLOR BEFORE THE SUN, is out October 16.

While their first record in 18 years, SOL INVICTUS, was released back in May, FAITH NO MORE have maintained a constant touring schedule and have not yet released a music video that's been filmed as "a music video." Instead, the band has been releasing performance footage, most recently "Superhero" earlier this month, and now FNM is back with "Sunny Side Up," taken from the same May 8th concert at Detroit's Fillmore Auditorium, video of which can be seen below. Additionally, FAITH NO MORE will be the musical guest on the September 3 installment of JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! on ABC...

GHOST is doing what most bands can never do - they get better with each album. They spread their blackened wings and broaden their sonic horizons. They've become perhaps my favorite current band, their third album set for release this Friday, but streaming in full below. MELIORA is exactly what I'd hoped for and more - a breathtakingly majestic collection of songs layered with beauty and weight... and placing the sinister delight in plain sight. Crank MELIORA below, and get your pre-orders in now via Amazon.

On October 16, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE - LIVE AT FINSBURY PARK, a full performance available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital formats. Previously available only in the RATM box set, this set includes a dozen RAGE classics performed live in the UK back in 2010. While pre-orders won't go up until September 11, check out "Killing in the Name" below!

If you live here in the 'States, there's a pretty solid chance that if you're familiar with the band SPACE, you know them from one song only - their 1996 single, "Female of the Species." The retro vibe of that song tapped into the moment - a time when audiences were embracing the 60's, and nothing solidified that more than its remixed inclusion on the soundtrack for AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY in 1997. SPIDERS, the album from which that single came, became one of my favorite albums of the 90s, and while SPACE became popular in their UK home (and elsewhere in the world), like many great bands, their audience in the U.S. just never materialized in the way that it should have. Eager for the release of their next album, TIN PLANET, I was disappointed when it didn't receive a proper Stateside release (it since has), and SPACE became a mystery whose music was hard to track down in those early days of the internet boom, with the geographic availability paired with a hard-to-search name making less-savory outlets the only place to dig for treasure until the 2005 release of a 2-Disc GREATEST HITS collection that paired songs from their first two albums with remixes and b-sides. You can imagine my surprise when an email arrived at Rock Father HQ this morning with a simple message: "SPACE are back!"

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