Riot Fest 2019: Full-Album Performances
Riot Fest returns to Chicago for their 15th anniversary September 13-15 at Douglas Park. Headliners include Rise Against, Die Antwoord, Ween and 2018’s last-minute dropout, Blink 182. Others include Bikini Kill, The Raconteurs, Avail, and Jawbreaker, as bands reuniting specifically to headline the festival. On top of a star-studded lineup, several acts will perform full-album performances.
AGAINST ME! – Reinventing Axl Rose
Against Me! will perform two album performances featuring their debut LP, Reinventing Axl Rose, and an album that was produced nearly a decade later, Transgender Dysphoria Blues.
Reinventing Axl Rose was the band’s debut LP released on March 5, 2002, with No Idea Records. The cover art features Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose. It was the group’s first release as a full band, produced by Rob McGregor. McGregor also produced the band’s second album, Eternal Cowboy, a year later.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Transgender Dysphoria Blues is the sixth album from Against Me! It was a three-year project for the group that was released on January 21, 2014, by Total Treble Music and Xtra Mile Recordings. The record made an impact as it came out shortly after the gender transition and coming out of the lead singer, Laura Jane Grace. In addition, it discusses her own struggles with gender dysphoria. The album ranked in the Top 50 charts for 2014 with many major media outlets such as Spin, Rolling Stone, and Consequence of Sound and ranked in The Top 25 chart of 2014 with Noisey.
AVAIL – Over The James
Last year marked the twentieth birthday of Over The James. Avail returns to the stage for the first time in over a decade for a few specialty shows to perform OTJ at Riot Fest and a reunion celebration show in their hometown. The punk group, hailing from Richmond, Virginia, have never officially broken up, but they have not played together since October 2007.
The album is just as revolutionary today as it was then. By the late ’90s, hardcore music was fractured into many sub-genres; OTJ never fell into a single genre but still made waves in the hardcore scene. Heavy metal magazine Decibel inducted Over the James into their Hall of Fame on May 2019, stating “the band just consistently plowing along on their own path, which is why they’re universally respected among scenes from underground emo hardcore to metal, the band’s totally sincere take on punk was nothing if not honest and totally admirable to anyone who loves it loud in any capacity”.
BLINK-182 – Enema of the State
Enema of the State is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. In 1999 the album sold over 15 million copies worldwide, making the American rock band one of the biggest rock bands of the 2000s. The album features hit singles “What’s My Age Again?,” “All the Small Things,” and “Adam’s Song” that took off on recording charts, defining a new sub-genre of pop-punk as well as putting them on the Top 40 map.
The album took only three months to record with producer Jerry Finn. Finn was known for producing with legendary rock acts such as Morrissey, Pennywise, Rancid and Green Day. Finn made a direct impact on the group as they continued to work with him for the next three albums. Tragically, Finn died in 2008 from a brain hemorrhage. He was only 39.
This album thrust Blink into the radio airwaves. After that, you couldn’t escape it. Blink-182 was everywhere, and pop-punk had become a real thing, birthing bands like Yellowcard, New Found Glory and Sum 41. It is everything that being an adolescent in the ’90s was about and then some. To this day Enema of the State is a nostalgia-filled party staple.
BLOC PARTY – Silent Alarm
Earlier this year, BLOC PARTY announced they would tour in observance of the fifteenth anniversary of their debut studio album Silent Alarm. The album was produced by Paul Epworth and released on Wichita Recordings. Bloc Party performed Silent Alarm in entirety for the first time at six European shows in October 2018. The show was recorded as a special live edition of the album that was released in April. As well, the record peaked at #3 on the UK albums chart, entered the US Billboard 200 at #114 and #7 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums.
DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL – The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most
The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most is the sophomore studio album from Dashboard Confessional. The album was released in 2001 on the Vagrant Records label. The album features one of the most popular DC tracks to date: “Screaming Infidelities.”
Chris Carrabba is a powerhouse vocalist; his lyrics are romantic and full of passion. As a result, his songs can be considered cheesy at times but definitely catchy and extremely heartfelt.
The breakout single “Screaming Infidelities” won Best Video at the 2002 MTV VMA’s and the album peaked on the Billboard Independent Album charts at #5 in its release. Too, the album sold over 500,000 copies in the U.S., certifying it Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
THE FLAMING LIPS – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Though The Flaming Lips had been around since the early ’80s, it was Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots that really thrust them into the mainstream waves. “Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon (Utopia Planitia)” won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
In 2012, the album was made into a Broadway musical by “The West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin and director Des McAnuff. As well, Flaming Lips re-wrote the song “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” into “Phoebe Battles the Pink Robots” for the hit show, Friends. In addition, several publications have given the album a top recognition. Rolling Stone ranked the album #27 on its list of the 100 Best Albums of the 2000s and #30 on its list of The 40 Greatest Stoner Albums.
SENSES FAIL – From the Depths of Dreams
From the Depths of Dreams is a post-hardcore and screamo EP released by ECA Records in 2002. The EP was only manufactured for 300 copies. It was released again with new artwork and two bonus tracks the following year with Drive-Thru Records.
In 2018, sixteen years after its release, the band announced that they would be re-recording songs from their back catalog to remove vulgar lyrics from them to be considerate to women. Many fans jumped on the tweet seeking to discourage them from doing so. Some even expressed that they felt the band was being “soft” and too politically correct. In response, Senses Fail explained that they’ve grown in their decades as a band and expressed that using sexist language doesn’t make anyone look tough.
Let It Enfold You
Let It Enfold You was the band’s eponymous debut album released through Vagrant Records in 2004. This album debuted in the prime time of the early 2000s, when angst and emo were all the rage. This record is what made the young band stand apart from heavy-hitters like My Chemical Romance, The Used and New Found Glory. The lyrics are emotional but catchy, the hooks are unique, and the melodies are ardent.
In its release, the album sold over 300,000 copies. It climbed the Billboard rankings, peaking at #34 in the Top 200 and #2 in the Top Independent Albums of 2004. All songs on the record were written by the band, and all the lyrics were written by frontman Buddy Nielsen.
WEEN – The Mollusk
The Mollusk is the sixth studio album by Ween, released by Elektra Records on 1997. It is a psychedelic and progressive rock album. In the beginning, the album was not received very well. There were a lot of changes internally with Elektra Records.
During the recording process, the majority of Elektra staff was fired and replaced. Even the guy who signed Ween was on the outs. The new staff didn’t understand the album. In fact, Gene Ween even admitted in an exclusive interview with Stereogum their team hadn’t even listened to the album until they pressed the agency weeks after submitting. To which he then felt “the record was doomed.”
Fun fact: The Mollusk was the inspiration behind the hit Nickelodeon cartoon Spongebob. After the death of the cartoon’s creator, Stephen Hillenberg, the band got nostalgic in a Facebook post.
“I got a call a long time ago from a marine biologist that said he wanted to start a cartoon inspired by Ween’s album The Mollusk. His name was Steve Hillenburg, and he his idea was to create a Bugs Bunny-type cartoon on the bottom of the ocean floor. Ween had been on tour for a long year, and we ended up recording and writing the song in one night at Greg Frey’s studio. It was to teach kids how to tie their shoes, and we wrote it really fast and mailed it back on X-mas eve, and for once they said ‘Don’t change anything about its, it’s perfect.’ It remains one of our proudest legacies and we went on to do a lot of work together with SpongeBob, and the show went on to be the best cartoon of 2 generations.”
GLASSJAW – Worship and Tribute
Worship and Tribute is the second studio album from the Long Island group. It was their first with Warner Bros. Records, released seventeen years ago. The album was released near the time of the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attack and is a mix of progressive and hardcore rock with an undertone of tragedy.
Critically, the album has done very well. The record remained on the Billboard 200 charts in the U.S. for three weeks during its release. Not only did the record peak those charts at 82, but it was also Grammy-nominated for Best Recording Package in 2003. NME declared Worship and Tribute to be “the greatest ‘underground breakthrough’ album since Deftones released
THE SELECTER – Too Much Pressure
Released in 1980 on 2 Tone Records, Too Much Pressure was the first album by The Selecter. The album is a heavy mix of reggae, ska, horns, and punk rock. The record took about two months to create while working with producer Errol Ross.
Majority of the tracks were composed and written by member Neol Davies. Specifically, he wrote their hit songs “On My Radio,” “Missing Words,” “Three Minute Hero,” and “The Whisper.” Too Much Pressure reached number 5 on the UK Album Chart. The opening track, “Three Minute Hero,” was well received and peaked at number 16 on the UK Single Charts.