All posts by Taija Anderson

[Seen. Chewed. Reviewed.] Front Rot at Riot Fest (day 2).

Sept 17th, 2022 – Mannequin Pussy performing during day 2 of Riot Fest in Chicago.

Day two of Riot Fest brought a new type of energy. The Misfits wouldn’t take the mainstage until 9 pm but that didn’t stop fans from showing love through clothing and makeup. By the time JXDN took the stage, it was clear  Misfit T-shirts were the trend of the day. 

JXDN, singer and TikTok personality, has gathered quite a dedicated fanbase since his entry into music back in 2020. Droves of fans braved the heatwave and planted themselves at the mainstage long before his set time to be as close as possible to their current fav. 

Luckily for them, Yungblud would take that same stage just hours after. With a new album released earlier that month, there was a new excitement to the performance. Of course, the UK rocker knows exactly how to give the crowd what they want. The staples, dancing, twirling, jumping and whatever else one could think of were most definitely present in Yungblud’s set. Amid the frenzy, he stopped the show to speak about the fight for women’s rights in Iran. 

The Joy Formidable has a way of building a moment you crave until it’s over…and then crave it more. Their music has always been perfect for capturing a feeling and turning it into a moment to be transported back to with each listen. Their live shows are a way to immerse yourself in that place and cling to that collective feeling only they can create with their sound. The band has a way of commanding attention. The sound pulls you in, their stage antics begin energetically and build until they are thrashing, seemingly lost in their own sound along with fans. 

Meanwhile, all the Canadians were piling into what felt like a secret Alexisonfire showcase. Of course, it wasn’t JUST Canadians, though the army of Pup T-shirts did add to that assumption. The St. Catherines band is more often seen playing venues like The Budweiser Stage, however, Riot Fest offered fans an intimate live show. Performing on one of the more modest stages gave an extra flicker of excitement. As the sun began to lower, the antics and trashing began. The band sang the sundown and fans moshed the evening into the night.  

[Seen. Chewed. Reviewed.] Front row at Riot Fest (Day 1)

September 14, 2022- My Chemical Romance plays Riot Fest in Chicago.

Riot fest returned to Chicago for another year of rowdy rock. This year’s headliners, The Misfits, and Nine Inch Nails drew quite the crowds, however. It was My Chemical Romance’s long-awaited return that made the weekend legendary.  

Of course, the three-day festival lineup was stacked. A great balance of nostalgia emo, Taking Back Sunday, The Joy Formidable and Alexisonfire coupled with the new generation of rockers YungBlud, Jxdn, and Renforshort to name a few caused a melding of worlds. No matter the generation, black clothing, coloured hair, and, despite the heat wave, leather were the common connectors. And well, of course, music. 

My Chemical Romance

There is no question My Chemical Romance was the show to see. The sea of overexcited fans (me) could hardly contain the momentous occasion we’ve all waited two years for. The four emo legends emerged with kind smiles, aside from frontman Gerard Way who appeared last dressed as a babushka. The faint laugh was drowned out by the first note and gasps of excitement as everyone’s inner 12-year-old self-lost their ever-loving mind. 

The first song was a blank, it wasn’t until “Na Na Na” began that the realization that my emo kinds were mere feet performing genuinely sunk in. Thankfully security was there to clear away the overheated folks. After a quick pause between songs, the band was sure to safely calm the crowd before riling them back up. 

Foxy Shazam

Foxy Shazam is known for wild shows and being an experience not to miss and their performance lived up to the hype. The wonderous energy didn’t end with frontman NAME. Each member had their moment to steal the show, perhaps the most memorable of which being NAME grabbing his keyboard and jumping into the crowd. Crowd surfing with a keyboard may have been the most memorable moment of the unforgettable set. 

Wargasm

Wargasm played at the same time, but they drew quite the crowd of their own. The UK rockers (Sam Matlock and Milkie Way) stopped by Riot Fest to show everyone exactly why they need to be on everyone’s radar. The duo braved the heatwave, Way in a bikini and bullet belt to showcase the perfect melding of rock and electro.