Riot Fest 2012 Day 1 Exceeds Expectations and Builds Anticipation For Day 2

Riot Fest started out as a haven for miscreants and punk fans seven years ago. Since then it has stayed true to its musical roots, but has grown into a widely anticipated festival attended by people from all over the world. The grounds themselves set the festival apart. Not only are there four stages, there is also a full carnival section with rides and games. The atmosphere inside the fest is laden with organized chaos. The acts of day one did not disappoint the combat boot wearing, tattooed, mohawk garnished fans one bit.

Frank Turner had one of the most memorable sets of the day. Despite being on at 2pm, he had a huge crowd dancing their hearts out. His energy on stage combined with the crowd encouragement made for a well rounded set. Playing a mixture of his new and older hits, the set list couldn’t have been more inclusive.

Probably the most memorable show of the entire day was GWAR. Not memorable as much for the music, but for the theatrics. They pushed the envelope further than any other band. They are well known for their costumes and shooting fake blood at people. They also included many pretty offensive skits, which made for hands down the craziest thing I’ve seen on any stage.

Hot Water Music drew quite the crowd as well. The set was well played and the musicians talented, however it seemed a bit repetitive. The crowd wained a bit towards the end of the set.

Andrew W.K. played shortly after. His line “this isn’t a concert it’s a party” is definitely something that reined true during his performance. Encouraging a circle mosh pit to form the crowd energy was one of the highest of the day.

The Gaslight Anthem played well, but some fans were upset they didn’t include more of their older songs. The performance, while being a good show, seemed to be more of a promotion for their recently released record.

Slapstick’s set may not have flowed very well, but with Brendan Kelly as the front man who needs flow? Even though they hadn’t played together in many years, they had loyal supportive fans who were simply glad to see them all together again.

Coheed and Cambria was the more memorable set of the day. They played a lot of crowd pleasing older hits. The guitar solos alone were phenomenal and showcased how much talent this group has. Claudio Sanchez’s live vocals blew people away. This band by far had the best live set of the day. They lived up to the reputation that they put on a fantastic live show.

Ending the day we had Dropkick Murphys, The Descendants, and Rise Against. Three very different bands all with great sets. Dropkick probably had the craziest crowd of the day with mosh pits galore. The energy was fuming throughout the entire crowds during that set. The Descendants put on a complete show. They showed us you are never too old to rock out, and to rock out hard. They include a part of the show where they brought out a bunch of kids, and had them recite the 10 commandments of the band. The Descendants extended beyond just the music, and really put forth a complete show.

After 8 hours had past since the doors to the first ever outdoor Riot Fest had opened in Humboldt Park, the final band was ready to go on. Cheers of Rise Against! Rise Against! could be heard throughout the grounds. At long last Chicago’s own Rise Against was home. The bands set was alive. The crowd of 30,000 sang along to every word, crowd surfed, and started one of the largest circle pits I have ever seen. The set list was eclectic and included some older songs from the band and even a few covers including an emotional acoustic tribute to the late Tony Sly of No Use For A Name and a special second encore performance of Black Flags Jealous Again with The Descendents. It was the perfect way to close out Day 1 of Riot Fest 2012.

Cursive Riot Fest Setlist:
A Gentleman Caller
Warmer, Warmer
The Casualty
This House Alive
Rise Up! Rise Up!
Art is Hard
The Cat and Mouse
From the Hips
Drunken Birds
Dorothy at Forty

Hot Water Music Riot Fest Setlist
Trusty Chords
Drown In It
Old Rules
Drag My Body
Paper Thin
Paid in Full
The Traps
Strong Reaction w/ Tim McIlrath of Rise Against
(Pegboy cover)
State Of Grace

Andrew WK Riot Fest Setlist
It’s Time to Party
Take It Off
Ready to Die
She Is Beautiful
You Will Remember Tonight
Long Live the Party
I Get Wet
Party Hard
Head Bang

Slapstick Riot Fest Setlist
Not Tonight
She Doesn’t Love Me
February One
My Way
There’s a Metal Head in the Parking Lot
What I Learned
Cheat to Win
Good Times Gone
The Park
Almost Punk Enough
Sick of This Place
74 Fullerton
Nate B.
Broken Down

Minus The Bear Riot Fest Selist
Steel and Blood
Lies and Eyes
The Game Needed Me
Throwin’ Shapes
Diamond Lightning
My Time
Lonely Gun
Pachuca Sunrise

Coheed and Cambria Riot Fest Setlist
No World for Tomorrow
Blood Red Summer
The Suffering
Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial)
Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute
Devil in Jersey City
Everything Evil
Sentry the Defiant
A Favor House Atlantic
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Welcome Home

The Descendents Riot Fest Setlist
I Wanna Be A Bear
Everything Sucks
I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
Rotting Out
When I Get Old
My Dad Sucks
I Like Food
Nothing With You
Clean Sheets
Get The Time
Thank You
Suburban Home

Rise Against Riot Fest Setlist
Help Is on the Way
Alive and Well
Re-Education (Through Labor)
Blood-Red, White & Blue
Ready to Fall
Wait for Me
Like the Angel
Prayer of the Refugee
Give It All
For Fiona
(No Use for a Name cover)
Encore 2:
Jealous Again (Black Flag cover with The Descendents)

Featured Photo Credit: Rebecca Reed

Additional Photos by: Brian Morgan and Thomas Mayer

Review by: Erin O’Connell (With contributions by Shawn Kellner)