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Stage Buzz: Riot Fest 2017 Undercard Preview

| September 12, 2017

Riot Fest returns to Douglas Park for its 13th year this September. Based on that number, palm–readers may think it’ll be an unlucky year for the festival. But this year’s lineup is arguably the best ever put together by the organizers. With so many great bands and artists performing you might feel overwhelmed. That’s where IE comes in. Yes, we’re all going to scream and cry during Jawbreaker’s set but what about everything else? Here is our 2017 Riot Fest Undercard Preview:

Friday Sept 15th

Four Year Strong

Four Year Strong
Four Year Strong alienated some fans back in 2011 after the release of their fourth album, In Some Way, Shape, or Form. This album saw the band leave behind catchy anthems and breakdowns to a more – dare we say – “radio rock” sound. The band made a strong comeback with their 2015 self-titled album, seemingly tailor-made for lifelong fans of the band. Recently the band announced a new album that again may have some fans scratching their heads. The album, aptly titled, Some of You Will Like This, Some of You Won’t, will feature a mix of new and old songs, rarities, and stripped down versions of classics. Four Year Strong’s set is sure to have all the aggression and energy the band has become known for. If you’re looking to mosh and crowd surf on Friday this is the set for you.

The Hotelier
If you’re looking to get emotional at Riot Fest, look no further than neo emo-pioneers Hotelier’s set. During their performance you’ll dance, cry and scream. Expect to hear favorites “Your Deep Reset” and “Dendron” as well as newer songs from their 2016 album, Goodness.

Grayscale is relatively young for Riot Fest’s undercard, forming in 2011. Taking some time to develop, the band released their debut album Adornment this year. With catchy songs like “Let It Rain” and “Atlantic” Grayscale is poised to explode as they transition to music veterans. Catch their set if you love a good pop punk jam.

Saturday Sept 16th

Streetlight Manifesto
Back in April a long court battle between Streetlight Manifesto and Victory Records was settled. In a joint statement, it was announced that both parties would part ways and Victory Records would sell any master recordings back to the band. Due to concerns about payments during the dispute, the band asked fans not to purchase Streetlight Manifesto music or swag from the label. Now the self-imposed boycott has been lifted, and the band seems reinvigorated and ready to steal the show wherever they play. This is a can’t miss performance at this year’s Riot Fest. Bring your dancing shoes!

The Lawrence Arms

The Lawrence Arms
Chicago punk rock legends, and Riot Fest staff favorites, the Lawrence Arms will play their fifth album, Oh! Calcutta! from front to back in Douglas Park. For young Chicago punks, the Lawrence Arms and more specifically Oh! Calcutta! was required listening a decade ago. It’s almost like you weren’t a real punk until you knew every word to “Are You There Margaret? It’s Me, God.” This is going to be a memorable set filled with a lot of reminiscing and that’s a good thing.

The Smith Street Band
Melbourne’s own The Smith Street Band released More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me earlier this year, solidifying and perfecting their anthemic emo/pop punk sound. Despite song titles like “It Kills Me to Have to Be Alive” and “Laughing (Or Pretending to Laugh)” the band’s sound is still uplifting – more or less. Their set is one of our must-see moments on Saturday.

Sunday Sept 17th

The Menzingers
Here’s a hot take, The Menzingers are the best punk band making music today. Earlier this year they released their fifth album After the Party. It’s filled with strong melodies, heart-wrenching lyrics and plenty of sing-along moments. The Menzingers solidified their sound with the release of On the Impossible Past in 2012, a record that’s arguably one of the best punk records ever. With every release, we expect The Menzingers to break through into the mainstream because they’re just that good. You can expect their Riot Fest performance to be intense and filled with passionate fans who sing along to every song.

Real Friends

Real Friends
Real Friends have been carrying the pop punk banner for Chicago (Yes, they’re actually from Tinley Park) ever since their breakout release, Everyone That Dragged You Here. Since then, the band has grown into a pop punk powerhouse inspiring countless other suburban teenagers to form bands. Hometown shows are always special and their Riot Fest return is in the category of “extra special.” The band is currently working on new music, so we’re hoping to hear a new song or two during their set.

Beach Slang
In an interview with Riot Fest’s website, Beach Slang frontman James Alex described his favorite memory of performing in Chicago, which included playing an acoustic after-show that Alex described as “the drunkest, sweatiest sing-along I’ve ever been in the middle of.” If there’s a better description of a great punk show, we haven’t seen it. Be prepared to sweat and sing-along (of course) to “Punks in a Disco Bar” and “Future Mixtape for the Art Kids.”

-Michael Obrecki

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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