Riot Fest 2015 Preview: Friday

By Brad Bordyn

Riot Fest comes to the Lawndale neighborhood this Friday through Sunday, capping off what is shaping up to be another successful festival season in Chicago. While it remains to be seen how the predominantly punk rock festival will be received by its new neighbors, given the prior controversies in Humboldt Park and the last-minute lawsuit from that was dropped, the lineup is as strong as ever. Here’s a preview of some of the must-see performers set to take the stage on FRIDAY.

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Bands of note

DEATH are a fitting way to kick off Riot Fest. For most people, this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Detroit’s punk rock forefathers. Miss this set at your own peril. Coheed and Cambria’s prog-tinged pop punk never disappoints live, especially if virtuosic guitar solos and post-apocalyptic sci-fi themes are your bag. Thrice has flown just under the radar for most of their career, at least in comparison to some of their contemporaries. However they’re responsible for two of the most captivating emo/post-hardcore records of the 2000s – The Illusion of Safety and The Artist in the Ambulance. Packed with melodic hooks and absurdly technical guitar playing, they never fail to put on an intense, high-energy set. Buffalo hardcore outfit Every Time I Die’s set will be essential for anyone looking for to get into a good old fashioned circle pit (be careful out there, kids).

Local flavors:

Friday’s lineup offers several homegrown acts. You may have not yet enjoyed the indie punk stylings of Into It. Over It. or White Mystery’s blistering garage rock (and if not, catching them on Friday would be well worth your time). But emo-punk stalwarts Alkaline Trio, who hail from McHenry, need little introduction. See them before lead singer Matt Skiba returns to his role as Tom DeLonge’s replacement in Blink-182.


Speedy Ortiz have made a name for themselves recently, and seem poised for big things. Their endearing, upbeat indie rock breathes life into a genre that has largely grown stale.


Friday’s headliners No Doubt and Ice Cube (who will be performing Straight Outta Compton) are sure to be memorable. But the nod here goes to 90s funk rockers Faith No More. Mike Patton and co. could easily rest on their laurels, but 2015’s Sol Invictus is a strong offering in its own right.

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