Riot Fest recap: Day Three

Phil Collins - September 24, 2013

The third and final day of Riot Fest included intermittent rain for most of the day. As a result, I have significantly fewer pictures from Sunday. I still saw plenty of bands and had a great time while trying to keep my glasses on, which were still bent up and loose from the day before. I tried to retain some degree of dryness by wearing a poncho. That lasted exactly four bands, but I will get to that later. Chuck Ragan started his set as I was walking up to the festival grounds on Sunday, hardly more than 12 hours after leaving the previous evening. He played with a full band, wrapping the crowd in the shroud of folk punk. The comprehensive greyness of the sky made it clear that it would rain all day and perhaps because of that, the crowd was lighter in the early part of the day. It certainly filled out by the evening, when Pixies and The Replacements would play, but for the first part of the day it was easier to get up close. Some in the crowd wore ponchos or held umbrellas, some did not. It was not long before areas of the ground became muddy slop heaps. It would be a dirty day, but the music made it more than worth it.

I caught Pet Symmetry's set at the Rebel stage. They are a local pop punk band that has seen some success. They recently released a 7 inch on Asian Man Records. They played the excellent song from the A side of that release, "A Detailed and Poetic Physical Threat to the Person Who Intentionally Vandalized my 1994 Dodge Intrepid Behind Kate's Apartment." The actual song is a lot catchier than the title.

Mission of Burma

I walked the short distance to the Roots stage and saw that there were not too many people waiting for Mission of Burma to start yet. There was still about half an hour until their start time, but I was surprised there were not more people getting in position. The crowd was still a little lighter at this point in the day. I took my spot front and center and waited for Mission of Burma to come on. The Roots stage is set up on a baseball field, which did not make much of a difference the previous two days. Sunday, the infield quickly turned into a mudpit. To get near the stage, I ended up standing in it for quite a while. Against Me! would play at the same stage after Mission of Burma, so I would continue to hold my spot through their set as well.

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma played a fun set, the best part of which was their 1981 hit "That's When I Reach For My Revolver." I was about three to five rows back for Mission of Burma's set.

Against Me!

Some people left after Mission of Burma and I moved forward into the second row. The people in front of me in the pictures of Against Me! are photographers who were between the stage and the barricade for the first couple songs. I am surprised I was able to get any pictures at all being up so close. The first song Against Me! played was a new one and people were not moving around yet, so that was the chance to get a picture or two. They played "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" second, so at that point through the rest of the set it would have been impossible to take any pictures without risking the camera. I was so pressed against the people around me that I do not know if I would have even been able to get in my pockets anyway.

Against Me!

I have seen Against Me! a few times before, but not since their performance at Lollapalooza a few years ago. This was my first time seeing them since the depature of bassist Andrew Seward and since Tom Gabel became Laura Jane Grace. This lineup looks full of energy and their new songs have bite. Their upcoming album looks to be a must have. They played a few more classics, including "Cliche Guevara," "Walking is Still Honest" and "Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists." They closed with "Thrash Unreal," during which at least half a dozen crowd surfers went right over my head to be caught by staff between the barricade and the stage. My poncho had gotten all twisted up during the set. To keep a crowd surfer from landing on my head, I shot my arms straight up and the poncho ripped in half. That was the end of any semblance of dryness I clung to. As more crowd surfers careened overhead, my glasses flew off my face twice. Both times I caught them several inches in front of my face with my right hand. somehow I made it through the set with my glasses still loosely and crookedly hanging on my face.

I walked to the Rise stage, sore and poncho-less yet, more than anything, excited about having been up so close for a great show. At the Rise stage, Best Coast had the task of playing sun-soaked songs about California to a bunch of wet punks. They put on a great show despite the elements. I might start listening to them more often on rainy days. They played my two favorite songs, "When I'm With You" and "The Only Place" as well as a few songs from their upcoming EP "Fade Away."

Suicidal Tendencies

The next slot was the most difficult decision of the festival. Suicidal Tendencies, Rocket From the Crypt and Off With Their Heads all played at the same time. There were other times during the weekend when two bands I wanted to see were playing at the same time, but the decision was always obvious. In this case, I went back and forth between who I wanted to see all the way up until it was time to decide. I have seen Off With Their Heads a couple times and will probably see them again next month, so I ruled them out although they are the band I know best out of the three. I just started listening to Rocket From the Crypt recently and I know I probably will not get a chance to see them again. Ultimately, Suicidal Tendencies won as the classic punk band that has been around forever. I had never seen them before and I do not know when I would get a chance to see them again. They put on a hugely energetic show. I am sure I would have been happy with any of the three bands, but I definitely left feeling I made the right choice. Seeing them play "Cyco Vision" made me geek out for my "Tony Hawk" N64 days.


I headed back to the baseball field/mudpit to claim a good spot for Pixies. When it comes to the last couple sets of the day, arriving early is a must. This was my first time seeing Pixies, so although it was the band minus Kim Deal, I thought they put on a great show. Of course, another Kim who I am a fan of filled the open spot in the band. Kim Shattuck of The Muffs and of one of my favorite NOFX songs, "Lori Meyers," filled in. Pixies played with a thick fog covering them most of the set. "Debaser," "Where Is My Mind?" and "Bone Machine" were highlights.

Following Pixies' set I walked across to the Riot stage for the festival's final act, The Replacements. I was pretty far back because I had stayed for the entire Pixies set, but I could see that they were killing it. After the band had been apart for such a long time, this was a great chance to see them perform together. Seeing them play "Wake Up" was definitely a high point. I always liked the song "Androgynous" as well and was happy to see them play that. It will be interesting to see if they play more shows and remain active as a band. Another Riot Fest has come and gone and I am sure it will not be long before speculation begins about next year's lineup begins.