Riot Fest 2017: Day Two in Review

  Another day, the same heat. Here’s a look at some of Saturday’s performances. Peaches Views from the front row: A medium-sized inflatable pink penis was definitely blocking someone's view of the stage. Peaches' midday performance at Riot Stage brought new meaning to the phrase: pussy power. In the scorching heat, the Canadian-born provocative artist bursted onto the scene in a hairy pink suit and vagina-shaped cap; this was not a gimmick. Peaches had one point to make: she was in control. Two dancers aided her in a nearly one-hour display of raunchiness. Crawling on all fours, twerking, lip-licking, bouncing and rubbing guided Peaches' lessons in anatomy and sexuality. While "Dick in the Air" ignited a call and response for "balls balls/dick dick/two balls and one dick," fans pumped their fists in the air for "Fuck the Pain Away." – F. Amanda Tugade The Lawrence Arms  Views from the front row: A fan, who was a few feet away from the barricades, decided to wear an inflatable T-Rex costume – head piece only.  The Lawrence Arms have the most loyal fans, and they wasted no time in taking every opportunity to crowd surf. Chicago's favorite punk trio performed their fifth-studio album "Oh! Calcutta!" – a perfect lead-in to the evening. – F. Amanda Tugade Taking Back Sunday Views from the front row: This woman with blue hair styled in pigtails secured her spot – she was dead center of the front row – of Rise Stage. Her red baseball cap read: "Make Brand New and TBS Friends Again." (Bonus: "You must really love me to stay and watch this with me," said a woman to her boyfriend.) It's been more than a decade since Taking Back Sunday has influenced a generation of pop-punks and emos. For those who know the Long Island, New York-based well enough know every screech, every pause and every guitar riff, and their love for frontman Adam Lazzara is not only unquestionable but unfathomable. And still to this day, time has still yet to cramp Lazzara's style and skill for swinging his mic. A mix of Tell All Your Friends (2002) and Louder Now (2006) brought waves of nostalgia for many. "What's It Feel Like to be a Ghost," "Timberwolves at New Jersey," "MakeDamnSure," "Cute Without the E (Cut from the Team) and "A Decade Under the Influence" set the stage for frontman Lazzara and his bandmates to feel a sense of gratitude for the fans who have supported their music throughout the years. Every now and then, a comfortable Lazzara took breaks in between songs and walked to the corner of the stage to see what the Queens were doing at Riot. "They're playing 'No One Knows!'" he exclaimed. Before diving into "Better Homes and Gardens" off of "Happiness Is: The Complete Recordings," Lazzara announced that he is a soon-to-be father to a baby girl and asked the crowd to send in suggestions for a name. That idea, his bandmates noted, could lead to something very interesting. – F. Amanda Tugade

Bad Brains

The Saturday crowd came to play. There was a buzz in the air in anticipation for Bad Brains in the afternoon over at the Radicals Stage. People were packed in, peering over mohawks for the group’s fortieth anniversary show.

Someone ran past with their friends and yelled, "Dude, this song is perfect right now!” which epitomized the overall feeling in the air as soon as “Attitude” began.

The first few songs included the more punk side of their discography before transitioning to some reggae that kept things chill (only metaphorically, of course) before launching into another onslaught of heavier songs.

Despite some difficult health issues, H.R. did well during the first half of the set with Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe relieving him for the second half who came out with a vicious growl and energetically jumped from one end of the stage to the other. – Jennifer Roger

Fishbone The afternoon’s highlight was South Central LA’s Fishbone on the Radicals Stage, fronted by original members, singer/saxophonist (and a little Theremin) Angelo Moore in a snappy, electric blue tartan suit, and bassist Norwood Fisher in a red jumpsuit. The band retains its wall of brass—horn and trombone in addition to the bass sax—buoyed by its fearless, frenetic, fun energy. The playlist was blissfully almost entirely their 1988 album Truth and Soul, starting with Curtis Mayfield’s powerhouse “Freddie’s Dead.”  Angelo’s energy held the crowd even as his removed his jacket to reveal his trademark short white shirtsleeves and suspenders. The chockfull hour-long set also featured “Ma and Pa,” “Question of Life,” “Pouring Rain,” “Deep Inside,” “Mighty Long Way,” “Bonin’ in the Boneyard,” and “One Day.”  They talked about taking the slow bus themselves before launching into “Slow Bus Moving,’” then addressed the current political climate when intro-ing “Subliminal Fascism.” Angelo said that, despite Trump, he still believes in change before embarking on a clarion version of that song.  The encore included the reggae-tinged “Alcoholic” and “Party at Ground Zero,” an appropriate statement about the fest’s ethos and today’s news. — Karin McKie

At the Drive-In

Continuing the theme of post-punk and post-hardcore nostalgia from the aughts, At the Drive-In took the stage just before Queens of the Stone Age.

Frontman, Cedric Bixler, maintained an incredible high level of energy throughout the show, jumping off the kick drum, throwing in some additional acrobatics and mic stand swinging for good measure.

Occasionally, he would saunter around the stage in a very Jaggeresque way, muttering like a madman into the mic between songs.

And yes - they played “One Armed Scissor.” – Jennifer Roger

Queens of the Stone Age

Queens of the Stone Age fans were not messing around.

Walls of people lined up at least an hour and a half beforehand in hopes of securing a prime spot. Fresh off the heels of their latest release, Villains, there was an electrifying buzz in the air as everyone waited for them to take the stage.

QOTSA’s amazing musicianship and chemistry are undeniable, and they definitely delivered with a fantastic set that was worth the wait. Jon Theodore (former drummer for The Mars Volta) kept everything solid while the sharply dressed Troy Van Leeuwen maintained an eerie focus as bassist Michael Shuman swarmed around him energetically.

Josh Homme’s vocals were on point all evening as he crooned and danced while everyone followed his lead. Homme is a huge proponent of having fun and living in the moment, and this way of thinking was certainly contagious, causing a chain reaction of dancing and crowd surfing.

He also let his carefree, playful side shine during “Make It Wit Chu” with a not-so-modest hand gesture implying his intentions with his object of affection in the song, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

The good vibes left the crowd chanting for one more song; but despite pleading for an encore, the night ended (slightly early) with fans standing amongst endless empty cans to close out day two of the fest. – Jennifer Roger

All photos by F. Amanda Tugade 
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F. Amanda Tugade