Riot Fest Erupts Opening Day 9-19-14 Denver, CO

Riot Fest Erupts Opening Day 9-19-14 Denver, CO

Navigating through downtown Denver during rush hour is not always an easy feat, but as commuters cross a bridge and spotted a Ferris wheel, tents and stages off to the side, the excitement begins to build. It was day one of Riot Fest dressed with beautiful weather at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. Three days of carnival rides, food, and of course lots and lots of music! Riot Fest originated in Chicago, IL in 2005, and as a result, Chicago still houses at least double the amount of bands as any of the other locations that have embraced this festival. The festival is known to embrace all types of Alternative music, promising a little something for everyone, but focusing on Metal, Punk, Alternative Rock, Indie and Emo; often giving fans a long awaited reunion here and there as well. For those which have attended Riot Fest in the past, it is easy to see why the festival has become a musical staple, celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2014; it is obvious that it will not be coming to an end anytime soon.

The Buzzcocks

With the football stadium as a backdrop, UK Punk Rock band The Buzzcocks took the stage, and not unlike a fine wine, they have only gotten better with age. Rocking people’s socks off since 1976 and playing songs such as “What Do I Get,” “Ever Fallen in Love,” “Promises” and “Orgasm Addict,” they are still driving people to pogo from the ages of seven to sixty.  Releasing their ninth studio album The Way back in May, The Buzzcocks still have plenty left to offer.


Across the lot, Los Angeles, CA’s Failure prepared to take the stage.  Recently reuniting after a seventeen year hiatus, Failure still produces that awesome mid-nineties sound. Carefully planned guitar riffs, incredible drumming and effects make their return to the stage as a very easily embraceable and welcomed one.  Upon their return they self-released their new EP Tree of Stars this past May and are exciting their fanbase.

The Sideshow – Hellzapoppin

Heading across the festival, passing by Machine Gun Alley, Chicken on a Stick and a plethora of merchandise booths, attendees came upon a sideshow stage to please the freakiness in anyone. Performances by veterans Hellzapoppin; fire breathing, beds of nails, and glass walking just begins the list of amazing entertainment brought to you by these extreme artists.

New Found Glory

As the crowd began to build quickly, popular Rock band New Found Glory were ready to take the stage. One would be hard spent to say that this band does not have its own extremely supportive and large following. The crowd and band were equally full of energy as they blast through enticing guitar licks and drum beats including favorites such as “All Downhill from Here,” “Understatement,” “Dressed to Kill,” “Hit or Miss,” and “My Friends Over You.”  Their latest album Resurrection is due October 7th via Hopeless Records.

Gogol Bordello

There is always those bands that are rumored to be a must see, Gogol Bordello is definitely one them. With their gypsy punk sound, incorporation of violin, accordion and sometimes saxophone, this band’s energy surely made the audience move, in fact not a single person was standing still on the stage as well.  Playing through songs like “Ultimate,” “Wonderlust King,” “Trans-Continental Hustle,” among others, the band put on a spectacular show from start to finish.  Their obvious joy for what they are doing entices concert goes to the stage because when Gogol Bordello performs it is not just a concert, it is theatrical and one walks away from their performance smiling and thoroughly energized.


Next on the agenda was NOFX who has been a Punk staple since the early ’80s. With twelve records to their name, it is far-fetched to find a punker that has not ever heard of them or owned at least one of their albums in their youth. The crowd, adorned with mohawks, liberty spikes, and a rainbow of color, could not help but move and mosh to sounds of pure Punk Rock.  Extremely familiar with all the material, the biggest highlight for most was when NOFX played 1994’s Punk in Drublic almost in its entirety.  Celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2013 with a great box set, many fans wonder when they will be treated to a new NOFX album in the future.

The Flaming Lips

Speaking of bands rumored to be a must see, Q Magazine named The Flaming Lips as one of the “50 bands to see before you die” and for a very, very good reason! Talk about a theatrical and energizing performance. Their amazing ode to Psychedelic Rock most definitely made everyone feel like they were on a sixty minute acid trip through songs like “Race for the Prize,” “Vein of Stars,” and hit “Do You Realize,” before closing out with The Beatles “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.”  Their beautiful and enticing light show illuminates everything in its path, combined with the dancing rainbows and mushrooms; this band leaves no room for one to say their performance is not life altering.  Keep a look out for their latest album With a Little Help from My Fwends due out October 28th.


Then there was Primus! Taking a bit more of a dark stance on the stage, being glorified by blue lights, Les Claypool amazed all with his genius bass riffs, making any inspiring bass player question whether or not they should even attempt the instrument in the first place. With elements of Metal, Funk and Rock, Primus’ sound is unmistakable and has remained so since the early ’80s. Pleasing their fans, as well as enlisting some new ones by playing “My Name is Mud” and “Too Many Puppies,” they will forever be held on a pedestal.  Thankfully for fans, their first album in three years titled Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble is due out October 21st.


Capping off the night was obvious favorite Weezer.  Perhaps one of the most adored Alternative Rock bands to grace the scene with their musical presence for over twenty years, the crowd was reeling to see them perform.   Led by vocalist/guitarist Rivers Cuomo, drummer Patrick Wilson, guitarist Brian Bell, and bassist Scott Shriner; cheers came pouring down as they took the stage and began with new song “Back to the Shack” from their forthcoming album Everything Will Be Alright in the End.  This followed with one fun song after another with “Pork and Beans,” “Perfect Situation,” “Beverly Hills,” “Island in the Sun,” “Hash Pipe,” and “El Scorcho.”  Proving they only have gotten better with age, their stage presence was undeniable while their on-point playing and vocals were amazing.

After their wonderful opening set, they then went into something fans have wanted to see for years and that was hearing the entire debut ” The Blue Album” from start to finish.  What better time to give fans what they wanted than on the twentieth anniversary of the record.  It was like being transported back in time to when Weezer was just catching on in the mainstream, hearing favorites like “My Name is Jonas,” “Buddy Holly,” “Say It Ain’t So,” “Holiday,” “Only in Dreams,” along with everything else.  Weezer’s ability to generate energy and make the audience move was incredible. It was a perfect way to cap off a night filled with music and fun, leaving everyone eagerly awaiting day two’s shenanigans in all its glory.

 Check out coverage Riot Fest Day Two & Three:

riot fest day 2 slide

 riot fest day 3 slide


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Selina Shlosman
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