October 15, 2014 Riot Fest Closes In Style 9-21-14 Denver, CO
The saying goes that all good things come in three’s and the final day of Riot Fest 2014 in Denver, CO on Sunday September 21st was no exception. Having witnessed bands from all over the world rock and groove for two days straight, Riot Fest’s finale had a record sold out crowd yet again With another twenty-seven acts scheduled to close the celebration out, including The National, Rise Against, Sublime with Rome, and Wu-tang Clan, it was prime to be another splendid day of music and fun.
After a variety of talented musicians began the day at around Noon, it wasn’t until 4:15 PM when Midwesterns Violent Femmes took on Mays Farms stage. If any band goes hand in hand with the philosophy of Riot Fest it would be none other than the Violent Femmes. Since the early ’80s they have remained true to their un-classifiable style, and their vast discography was on full display for all. Recently reunited in 2013 after a three year absence, they combed through their various hits during their set and it was remarkable to witness fans of all ages singing to every word from tracks such as “Kiss Off”, “Blister in the Sun”, and many more. One can only hope the band will conjure up some new material with their last album, Freak Magnet, over a decade ago.
Over at Byers Country Feed stage it was a home coming party at 5:15 PM for Colorado natives 3oh3!. No longer a group searching to be found, not a single body in attendance stood still during the heavy beats of their home town heroes. Coupling their sound and tongue -in-cheek lyrics with humor and fresh dance moves with songs like “Don’t Trust Me” and “Starstrukk,” 3oh3! made a bold statement of how they have not forgotten Denver and wanted everyone to have a blast. The electric duo’s fourth studio album Omens was released in 2013 and is worth picking up.
Moving into the evening at 6 PM back at Mays Farms stage it was time for Atlanta Georgia’s Manchester Orchestra. After rising to popularity with their second studio album Mean Everything to Nothing in 2009, each release thereafter has been more recognized, including their latest offering Hope. Taking the audience by surprise, Manchester Orchestra had to be one of the most hidden gems in all three days of Riot Fest. Providing the audience with one of the heaviest hitting sounds, they rattled everyone’s senses and beckoned full attention with songs like “I’ve Got Friends” and “Shake it Out.” Their blasting sound was borderline seismic in nature and pulsated through everyone’s skull. This is a band not to be missed and music lovers should brace themselves to be shaken in awe.
Meanwhile, at 6:45 PM at Byers General Store stage, the time came for New England Punk Rockers Dropkick Murphys. Take a moment to ask a Dropkick Murphy fan what gets them hot and bothered over this band, and they would surely testify that their shows are anything but dull. All who witnessed their set were sure to be converted to the cause, as a stage featuring everything from accordions to bagpipes topped with that in-the-face Boston Irish energy combined to bring down the house with favorites such as “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya” and “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” getting aired out. The Dropkick Murphy’s surely rocked the very foundation that everyone stood on. Their eighth studio album Signed and Sealed in Blood is out now.
Sublime With Rome
Moving back to Byers Country Feed stage, everyone gathered for ’90s SoCal legends Sublime with Rome. It has been almost twenty years since the unfortunate passing of Brad Nowell, and his memory is done justice by the stepping in of Rome Ramirez, who’s chops on guitar and almost identical vocals would make even Nowell proud. As they cruised through hits such as “Date Rape”, “Smoke Two Joints”, and much more it was hard to not be in awe over the fans’ dedication to every word. In doing so they are keeping the spirit of Sublime alive. Excitement is high as the band is gearing up for the release of their sophomore album with Rome, due out sometime in the near future.
As one of the final three acts to grace Riot Fest 2014, modern heavyweights Rise Against took over Byers Country Feed Stage at 8:45 PM. Hailing from Chicago, IL the band is now seven records into their career. 2014’s The Black Market has not seen their popularity falter. If anything, it is only still growing. When the skies opened with heavy rains, it only added to the intensity of their performance. This did not deter the band from kicking up the energy and giving the tired crowd a well needed second gasp of fury. Disregarding their own safety, they were all over the place as they gave everything they had to the audience with songs like “Ready to Fall,” “Give It All,””Behind Closed Doors,” and newer song “I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore.” among others. Charged up and passionate in his delivery, vocalist Tim McIlrath sounded spectacular and the idea of being totally drenched did not even phase this audience one bit.
Riotfest 2014 in Denver, CO was certainly three days of fun, music, freak shows, food, and rides that the whole family could enjoy. With already have completed three weekends in Toronto, ON and Chicago, IL prior, this final weekend was the perfect way to close out the summer and leave concert goers anxious for Riotfest 2015.