Saturday’s roster gave me a moment to embrace my angsty, teenage days. I started my day off with Motion City Soundtrack, and reveled in the emotions its music brought back to me. But I shortly realized that although I had mentally outgrown that genre, 30-somethings surrounding me were singing or mouthing the lyrics to every song, eyes closed and all.
I think Motion City Soundtrack made an effort Saturday to do its early followers justice.
Motion City Soundtrack neared the finale, and I headed straight for the Rise Stage, at which People Under the Stairs were set to hit the stage. I was most pumped for this one.
Double K and Thes One have an almost sibling-like dynamic. They balance one another, and mess with each other on stage. Thes One told the crowd, “If you don’t like beer, get outta here!” and the crowd was quite pleased in agreement. As Thes rapped, Double K spun the tracks to back the rapper, but when he decided he was over the beer chants, he cut the music.
I was relieved as I wanted to get back into the hip-hop that had me and everyone around me dancing in circles and waving their hands up and down. The duo went on to play what they claimed to be Obama’s favorite rap song, “San Francisco Knights,” off the 1999 album, The Next Step, a sentimental goodbye to the ’90s. People Under the Stairs closed its set with “Acid Raindrops,” my personal favorite. I got the chills hearing this one live.
As soon as this set finished, and my work with Rise Stage for the moment had come to an end, I was ready to get back into a soul and pop mix at the Roots Stage where Fitz and the Tantrums was prepping for performance. It was a strange transition going from strictly rap and hip-hop, then back over to a poppy and happy sound, but my energy was high, and only got higher with “Out Of My League.”
I was lucky to have grabbed the spot I found after maneuvering through the crowd for a solid five minutes, because I even had a comedy show to enjoy. A man in front of me transformed from calmly enjoying the sounds, to jumping up and down, arms to his side and dancing like a Sim. I was laughing so hard that I cried, and two younger girls next to me had caught the hilarity, too. Though he was distracting, I was able to slip back into my musical trance when Michael Fitzpatrick prefaced “Complicated” with a monologue about on-and-off relationships.
I wondered if anyone in the audience was in one when he suggested its likelihood.
After once again sauntering through Douglas Park for awhile and having a drink with my best friend, we caught our second wind for a Riot Fest headliner, Death Cab for Cutie. The band opened with “I Will Possess Your Heart,” from 2008 album, Narrow Stairs. This was just the right build into the band so many Riot Fest goers had been anticipating Saturday.
Saturday was a romantic midpoint to Riot Fest, with 30-somethings reminiscing about their high school days and teens and 40-somethings alike looking to jump around.
The second day of Riot Fest was a nod to nostalgic bands and acts. The Smoking Popes, The Hold Steady, Bob Mould, Motion City Soundtrack, The Descendents, People Under the Stairs, GZA, Death Cab for Cutie, and Nas.
While most of the focus was on Morrissey – who had food tents that served meat completely stop around 8 p.m. and stepped on stage fashionably late and handpicked – the Saturday affair called for its attendees to be patient and persistent, especially those who made their way to the front by crowd surfing to their favorite songs.The Currency Exchange at the intersection of Ogden and Kedzie became a hub for Uber riders. They tried to piece together their day and talked about highlights. They swiped left and right to see which selfies made the best Instagram post.
A woman showed off her tattoos to a man that she borrowed a lighter from. She said she made it to the front row for The Descendents and complained about a younger fan who had accidentally hit her right side due to excitement.
“This is my band,” she said, as she recalled the show and her determination to stay at her prized spot. “I have all The Descendents’ songs tattooed on my body.”