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« Riot Fest 2014: Day 2 New Music for Solo Cello: Ian Maksin Returns to Chicago »

Riot Fest Tue Sep 16 2014

Riot Fest 2014: Day 3

Blue Meanies 1.jpg
Blue Meanies by Katie Hovland

This year's Riot Fest was an amalgam of sights, sounds, and even weather conditions. From a brutal freezing rain that left sopping muddy grounds, to a blazing sun shining down without a cloud in the sky, this 10th anniversary celebration was definitely bringing all of the elements out for its many, many attendees. Luckily, the musical offerings were absolutely top-notch as we got to watch sets from emerging hopefuls complemented by powerhouse performances by legendary rockers in an incredible environment. As the festival grounds shifted and became bigger and better, so did the experience, as we were invited to watch the festival grow together, and we look forward to where it will be taken in the next 10 years.
Sarah Brooks

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The Hold Steady by Katie Hovland

The Hold Steady

These Brooklyn rockers were ready to start a party as the sun shone down on us. As they played their deliberately crafted tunes from a decade past, lead vocalist Craig Finn emerged in a classic black t-shirt, pants and sunglasses ready to dictate his epic storytelling for the crowded field. Opening with "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You," the lead track off of their 2014 release, Teeth Dreams, they continued forth with songs from their expansive career. The crowd went wild during "Stuck Between Stations," as Finn utilized gestures as he spoke, deliberately engaging with the crowd. Their songs grapple with heartbreak, rebellion and redemption all at once, and somehow speak of these subjects in a completely energized format. They took the energy and crafted it into a delightfully enjoyable music environment, and kept us wanting more music after the last chords had faded away.
Sarah Brooks

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Hot Snakes by Katie Hovland

Motion City Soundtrack

Most people stood waiting for Motion City Soundtrack to hear "The Future Freaks Me Out," which, of course they played as their fantastic finale song. However, the remainder of the set brought just as much punk rock fervor. Opening with frenetic "Attractive Today" and continuing with crowd favorite "Everything is Alright" the energy was commanded right off the bat. They continued by playing songs off of each of their albums, however leaned heavily toward Commit This To Memory for their finale, which began with ballad "LGFUAD" and ended with what everyone had been waiting to hear. The set was able to indulge our identities of the past during a time when we sat listening to their records on repeat, and showed us their incredible talent in the present.
Sarah Brooks

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Tegan and Sara.jpg
Tegan and Sara by Katie Hovland

Tegan & Sara

Tegan & Sara drew one of the most insanely massive crowds I had seen during the entire weekend. It stretched all the way back to the festival walkway and blurred the line between the two stages in that direct vicinity. It was also the 10th anniversary of one of their most popular albums, So Jealous. Fans stood in the front row with posters celebrating the momentous occasion, and as Tegan & Sara played the distinct hit "Walking With A Ghost," I'm sure they were beaming. They spoke about their vast musical history, including forming their love for acoustic music as children, and having made music together for 15 years. They ended with indie pop hit "Closer," as the massive crowd could be seen dancing to the limits of the festival grounds.
Sarah Brooks

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Naked Raygun.jpg
Naked Raygun by Katie Hovland

My Gold Mask
Archie Powell & The Exports

Showyousuck reminds me a lot of Andrew W.K. Both are bursting with positive energy, they both appears to genuinely want to be one of your best friends and they both are the embodiment of an out-of-control house party in a direct-to-video '80s/'90s teen comedy. The main difference between the two is obviously genre. Andrew W.K. does big rock really well; Showyousuck is an excellent rapper. Showyousuck was kinetic, using the stage of Riot Fest to make new fans and to further establish himself as one of the prime rappers in the local scene. Set to leave on a tour in the U.K. with the Hood Internet and Psalm One, he remains someone to keep an eye out for. Someone recorded his full set and threw it up on Youtube, so check it out to see if you're into it.

I was also able to see My Gold Mask and Archie Powell & The Exports at the Radical Stage, where most of the local acts were spotlighted. Both bands sounded more muscular and dark compared to the last time I saw them. Archie Powell's Replacements-inspired college radio rock has always been impressive and was even more so this past Sunday.

Since I last saw My Gold Mask, they've expanded to a trio and have steadily released singles. They sound more fleshed out now with a drummer, and played an assortment of things from their collection of EPs as the crowd continued to grow around them. By the time they closed with their recent single "Dissipate," the small stage had turned into a frantic warehouse dance party. The future for them looks quite bright.
Justin Freeman

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Lucero by Katie Hovland


For some people in the crowd, Dads were likely disarmingly forceful and dense. A duo from Jersey, Dads are an emerging band from within the newest generation of the emo genre. I was introduced to their album American Radass (this is important) on Bandcamp a few years ago and have been into them ever since. Expanded to a trio live, I found myself stricken by the thunderous drums and ominous chords that makes up the opening of their single, "My Crass Patch." Suddenly, a solemn voice said in complete desperation, "Be my breathless scream" as everything was swallowed into drums.
Justin Freeman

Superchunk by Katie Hovland

The Cure

One of the songs The Cure opened with was an extended version of "Fascination Street," and with that Humboldt Park found itself transformed, full of ominous lighting and reverb. With an almost two-and-a-half-hour set, The Cure dug deep into their catalog and played some relatively obscure cuts alongside the things you'd probably expect to hear The Cure play. Being able to hear Q101 standards such as "Lovesong" and "Pictures of You" in contrast with songs that I'm quite honestly not as familiar with, such as "A Forest" and "Play For Today," helped reinforce the understanding I have of the importance and influence The Cure had on countless other bands and individuals. Judging from what I saw, that influence only continues to grow.
Justin Freeman

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sadie / September 16, 2014 3:41 PM

oh and weezer was there nbd

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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