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Stage Buzz Preview: Riot Fest Chicago 2015 – The Undercard

| September 10, 2015
RiotFest_Pano3_EmilyBurnhamwebPhoto by Emily Burnham

Riot Fest returns for its 11th year to a new and improved location in historic Douglas Park. Humboldt Park eat your heart out. From its humble beginnings as a small club event 10 years ago to its current incarnation, it has a deep connection to Chicago like no other festival. We’re sure you’ve read about headliners at this year’s festival, but what about the bands performing earlier in the day? We present the Riot Fest Undercard Preview:

Friday Sept 11th (Roots Stage – 5:00pm)
Lee “Scratch” Perry
Riot Fest’s reggae and ska friendly line-up is buoyed by the godfather of dub, Lee Perry. He’s recorded and remixed rock steady records going back to the ’70s for Bob Marley & The Wailers, while his modern output has seen him collaborate with EDM pioneers, The Orb. Respect is due.

Into it. Over it. (Rise Stage – 1:15pm)
The flagship project of local emo king Evan Weiss, Into it. Over it. is mostly Weiss writing dozens of nearly perfect indie rock tunes, spawned by a guy who lived in his van in his early years, while playing as many gigs as he could get. Those days are gone, and Weiss and Into It. Over It. sell out gigs most everywhere they go, worldwide.

White Mystery (Revolt Stage – 7:00pm)
This ginger-haired brother/sister duo mix punk rock, metal and mayhem. With all the touring as they’ve done since their formation, their longevity is a testament to their passion and their love of the game.

Alex Wiley (Radicals Stage – 6:30pm)
Nurtured by the West Town studio/label juggernaut Soundscape/Closed Sessions, Alex Wiley should be as famous as Chance The Rapper, but his time is coming. Club Wiley has stayed in heavy rotation on the office sound system, and it stands as one of the defining Chicago hip-hop projects of this decade.

Saturday Sept 12th

Echo & The Bunnymen (Riot Stage 5:15pm)
Liverpool’s Bunnymen made their name in the mid-’80s with the psychedelic new wave of “Lips Like Sugar” and the raw dissonant dance rock of “The Cutter.” Despite concerts that are heavy on the hits, they’re still making new music powered by Ian McCulloch’s nicotine-stained baritone and Will Sergeant’s subversive, psyche-guitar.

The Dead Milkmen (Rock Stage – 3:00pm)
When the second wave of punk rock got too serious in the mid-’80s The Dead Milkmen rescued it from destruction. This Philly punk band mixes tongue in cheek lyrics and killer melodies. They epitomize the festival with their fun loving mantras, including their signature anthem, “Punk Rock Girl.”

Swervedriver (Rock Stage – 1:30pm)
Look at our IE rock wiki under “shoegaze,” and Swervedriver are right up there with My Bloody Valentine. Signed to the same label, Creation Records, their 1991 debut album, Raise, is a benchmark of the shoegaze era. The band’s reunion commenced in 2008 and hasn’t stopped since, lucky for us.

Sleep On It  (Revolt Stage – 4:00pm)
Chicago indie-punks Sleep On It have been touring all summer, first on The Warped Tour and now Riot Fest Denver and Chicago. Their EP Safe Again mixes killer melodies with indie rock sensibilities. And they’re damn nice dudes, too.

Sunday Sept 13th

The Airborne Toxic Event (Riot Stage – 7:00pm)
These L.A.-based alt rockers yolk heavy guitars with dynamic orchestral nuances. Airborne Toxic Event’s Dope Machines released this past spring, shows the band adding electronic elements to the mix. For our money ATE was the best band at 2014 Lollapalooza, we can’t wait to see them again.

Jimmy Cliff (Roots Stage – 7:00pm)
Riot Fest keeps it’s reggae vibes strong with Cliff, who was the genre’s first break-out star on the the heels of “The Harder They Come,” a 1972 Kingston and U.S. underground bluebeat anthem. Though Jimmy’s voice has matured, he still kills it on his catalog of roots reggae.

Tommy Stinson (Radicals Stage – 7:30pm)
Two years after the Replacements reunion, Tommy Stinson is back on a Riot Fest stage, and that’s a good thing. We thought he was an awful mismatch for Guns N’ Roses when he toured and collaborated with Axl Rose. His new band is much more Replacements-like and THAT’s a great thing.

Souvenirs (Revolt Stage – 2:00pm)
We love Emo bands, and California’s Souvenirs blueprint ’90s emo stalwarts like Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral and Braid to great effect. Though their full-length You Fear And Me is a somewhat dour affair on vinyl, their dynamic live show promises to dramatically liven things up.

This preview has been updated to include corrected hometown for the Dead Milkmen.

– John Vernon

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Category: Stage Buzz

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  1. Jeanisdead says:

    The Dead Milkmen are from Philly, not California.

    Corrected thank you,

  2. Macyver says:

    Wow – never seen that video of The Cutter! Nice!