Riot Fest makes emo dreams come true

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 2:30pm

A couple weeks ago on April 19th, my heart fell out of my chest. The organizers of Riot Fest had the audacity of informing the public that Jawbreaker — yes the Jawbreaker — was reuniting to headline this year’s event. I couldn’t breathe. I could barely think. I was actually about to see one of my first introductions to ‘90s punk perform after a 20 year absence.

The lineup announcement had me incredibly anxious. Riot 2016 was truthfully one of the best weekends of my life, and I was nervous to see how they’d follow up in 2017. Last year I had seen early influences of mine such as Misfits (who also reunited for the festival), Underoath and Motion City Soundtrack. On top of that, I saw some of the modern acts who I have grown to love like Basement, Tigers Jaw, Somos and — my actual favorite band of all time — The Wonder Years. The weekend was ridiculous, perfect and sweaty; it was everything I could have asked for in a music festival.

This coming September, Riot Fest will once again offer my fragile emo heart the same mix of feeling from old and new bands. In addition to Jawbreaker, Queens of the Stone Age (who I’ll admit to having almost every record on my PlayStation Portable in the seventh grade) and Buzzcocks are catering to my older tastes, while The Menzingers, A Day to Remember and countless other artists will be rounding out the modern side of the festival.

Have I mentioned M.I.A. yet? Because M.I.A. is literally playing Riot Fest this year. The festival not only appeases the punks — some of which are often crustier than imaginable to the entertainment of the attendees — but also its patrons with a wide musical palette. Vic Mensa and Wu-Tang Clan bring a dash of hip-hop to the lineup, although the crowds are sure to explode as violently as if it were one of the rock acts.

If any of the aforementioned has yet to sell you on this festival, the topic of Paramore might. With an arsenal like Paramore’s, it’s hard to imagine their set will be anything less than stellar. Having just armed themselves with two phenomenal pop bangers, the band is primed to deliver one of the most diverse sets the festival has seen. I also have a strong gut feeling that a RIOT! ten-year performance may be in the works — although this may just be the middle schooler in me reaching for a desperate desire for its truth.

Riot Fest is simply a heaven for music goers — a heaven filled with mosh pits and crowd surfers throwing it down to some killer riffs and beats, but a heaven nonetheless. It’s a visceral, unique experience to witness such impassioned artists deliver to equally passionate fans. If Riot’s 2017 lineup is any indication, they have no plans of disappointing this September.