Co-written by All Punked Up writers John Aubert and Jina Bute

Riot Fest not only marks the end of summer festival season in Chicago, but it is also one of the best things about living in Chicago. The notorious punk rock festival was hosted in beautiful 80-degree weather during the day and a refreshing low 70s at dusk. However, it wasn’t the weather that made this festival so great, it was the tunes.

Friday, September 14th, 2018

On the first day of the festival, everyone who attended was blessed with punk rock bands and fantastic alternative tunes. Sum 41 absolutely rocked, with the band definitely picking the right songs to play live.

Later that evening, Taking Back Sunday played on the same stage. There is no doubt that their performance was the greatest of the weekend. The band played fan-favorite classics, as well as a few newer songs. The crowd went insane for a majority of the set and lead vocalist Adam Lazzara shared a handful of “good talks” with everyone. It was an obvious 10/10.

The last memorable part of the night was attending Young The Giant’s performance. Their sound could be compared to Maroon 5’s iconic Songs About Jane.  “Cough Syrup”, “Silvertongue”, and “Simplify” were the songs that stood out the most and they even sneaked in a cover of Blink 182’s hit “All The Small Things”.

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Saturday was an odd day for sure. Riot Fest seemed to have decided to crowd every great band on Friday and Sunday, where it was nearly impossible to see all of the bands on the list. The most memorable moment was seeing GWAR. If you have never heard of them, you’d be shocked when you saw them on stage in medieval Viking armor, decapitating a priest, and spewing fake blood all over the mosh pit. It was an odd experience to say the least, but it was a great experience too.

Saturday evening was revived by Emo Nite Brooklyn at the Metro in Chicago. Emo Nite Brooklyn is an outrageous party-themed adventure lead by a DJ on stage, who plays the best emo music from My Chemical Romance to Story of The Year. The tiny crowd went ballistic, singing along while pushing each other into mosh pits. The best part was going on stage and jumping right back into the crowd with all your friends. Not only that, but standing where countless talented musicians once stood was an awesome feeling.

Sunday, September 16th

One of the most convenient things about music festivals is that you have the opportunity to see a band that you would like to see play live, but do not like them enough to pay to see them at a regular concert. Bullet For My Valentine is one of those bands, but The Audition is another story. The Audition played a high energy show, jumping into the crowd, talking with fans, and getting involved in every way they could. Although they were playing at a smaller stage, that didn’t stop concert goers from stopping by and dancing along to some great tunes.

The night ended with Alkaline Trio. Unfortunately, the experience did not live up to expectations.  The music was phenomenal, hearing songs from Crimson, My Shame Is True, and Is This Thing Cursed? was one of the most creative set lists to ever be played. However, the crowd was just not feeling it. There was barely a mosh pit; everyone appeared to be standing still and barely singing along. Some people were even talking throughout the set. Although, while Matt Skiba doesn’t have his original raspy voice, he still proved that AK3 can perform like they did back in 2002.

When it was finally time to leave Riot Fest 2018, everyone was relieved, yet left with post-concert-grief. After all, there’s nothing better than jamming out to your favorite bands with your best friends.