Concert Reviews

A Day to Remember, Vic Mensa, Ministry, Action Bronson, & more at Riot Fest Day1

Photos by Katrina Lat

Day 1 of adult warp tour, Chicago. We made our way down to Douglas Park in the Lower West Side.   Despite the rather uncomfortable heat there was a great crowd of people lining up for entrance. We made our own way through the widest array of happy angry people I’ve seen since the last time I went to Warp Tour.

We started our day with some seriously vintage punk in the form of the Buzzcocks, who were as suited to the stage as they ever were, giving us a straight shot of 70s old school punk rock with no apologies made and no holds barred it was like a needle of pure angry 70s. They stayed true to their roots, simple two and three chord arrangements, asinine but angry lyrics and maybe fewer broken bottles, but otherwise, a pure vintage punk performance top to bottom.

If the Buzzcocks were a needle of pure 70s angst then The State Champs were like a refreshing glass of Kool-Aide reminiscent of the glory days of pop punk when the All American Rejects ruled the airwaves and painfully bright green was always matched with purple. Despite some technical difficulties that were quickly solved The State Champs gave a happy, upbeat incredibly engaging (even for an audience that was less familiar with their body of work) performance that stands them in good stead.

And now time for some Canadian content featuring Death From Above. Their hard driving sound, distinct vocal flavorings and aggressive percussion-istic writing would give them a distinctive voice in any genre, even Riot fest they we’re hard to miss. Despite the heat they played as if theirs was the last set. The only real draw back is the absolute inability of Grainger (The singer) to engage the crowd banter wise. Fortunately his music does that without his help.

As the afternoon heat came to a head so did The Story So Far. Coming onto the stage like they were a teenage rock band at their first show. Their boyish exuberance came across as charming at first and the simplicity of the instrumental parts complimented the gritty voice of Parker Cannon. However as the set wore on it seamed that he really was the only one on stage who was really there to engage with the audience. Whether due to technical difficulties or what not the rest of the band seamed to be performing by wrote putting a dampener on things.

Mayday Parade gave a crowd-pleasing performance. They really catered to the fans. Performing the entirety of their first album. The die-hard fans were very happy and the rest of the audience was sober but appreciative. There was, towards the end a very touching solo performance of Miserable at Best ,which created a sea of calm in the midst of the organized chaos that is riot fest.

We snapped back to the hard-hitting performances with a Chicago Native, Vic Mensa. An old school rapper with style, bravado and poetic genius. He speaks of his youth; he speaks to the violence yet he does so in a way that reminds us he is as human as the rest of us. Forcing us to examine the truths of his words and remember that all the social issues that he lived through are not yet solved, that there is much still to confront, and the best way to do that was together.

The final band, for me that night was A Day To Remember. The anticipation was palpable, you could taste the excitement, and then as Flight of the Valkyries bled out of the speakers the band took the stage and launching straight into the All I Want. They performed with both power and honesty. Seasoned stage veterans, they gave the audience what they came for while achieving their own artistic ends. Blending tracks from all across their musical canon the wove an enticing net and pulled us (willingly) into their world for an evening. Never for a moment did they let our attention flag, as they carried the audience through highs and lows, including a touching performance of If It Means A lot to You echoed back to them by the entire audience. It was a truly special performance by a band that has both earned their stripes and truly come into their own.