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.
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 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 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.