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Riot Fest 2017 day 3 pics (Paramore, MIA, Dino Jr, Built to Spill, Say Anything, more)

For many of us, the main attraction of Riot Fest 2017 was Jawbreaker, who closed the festival out with their first proper show in 21 years (review HERE). The third and final day, Sunday (9/17), had plenty of great stuff to offer before Jawbreaker took the stage, too. There was another highly anticipated emo/punk reunion, Cap’n Jazz (review HERE), Dinosaur Jr playing You’re Living All Over Me, Built to Spill playing Keep It Like A Secret, Rage Against the Machine/Public Enemy/Cypress Hill supergroup Prophets of Rage, M.I.A., TV on the Radio, GWAR, and still more. With a lineup that stacked, there are always tough decisions to make and it’s impossible to catch everything. I actually missed those six aforementioned sets (but our photographers didn’t and photos of them are in the gallery above). Here are some other highlights of day three that I did catch:

I started my final day at Riot Fest 2017 bright and early at Beach Slang‘s 12:40 PM set on the main Riot Stage, and ran over to catch Downtown Boys on the smaller Rise Stage about 20 minutes later. I had spent the majority of the weekend catching reunions and legacy acts, so it was nice to also catch two of the finest newer punk bands around. Beach Slang were as fun as ever, with frontman James Alex making sure he gave as drunken a performance at 12:40 PM that he usually gives at 12:40 AM. They did the Santana’s “Smooth” bit that they’ve been doing this year (and said it was the last time they’d be doing it), they had all the usual stage banter that was part awkward and funny, part life-affirming love for rock and roll, and their big-hearted songs were as loud and tight as always. In these tough political times, a band like Beach Slang make for pretty great escapism, but Downtown Boys confront today’s issues head-on, both in their stage banter and in their music. When they played highlights off their new album like “Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas)” and “A Wall,” and when Victoria Ruiz gave an impassioned speech about white supremacy, Downtown Boys were one of the more powerful bands I saw all weekend.

Alt-rock vets that dog. have been working on a long-awaited followup to 1997’s Retreat from the Sun, and at Riot Fest they performed that album in full for its 20th anniversary. Their current lineup is without violinist/vocalist Petra Haden (they had a guest fill in on violin), and that dog. didn’t exactly have the most exciting stage show to watch, but their vocal harmonies soared across the Riot Fest field and had a good amount of diehards up front singing along.

that dog. was followed by one of the most feel-good sets of the day, Say Anything. I haven’t loved the last few Say Anything albums, so the last tour I caught them on (which was heavy on new songs) didn’t really move me, but when they play the old favorites, they’re one of the most fun bands around. And their Riot Fest set was filled with favorites. They opened with the biggest song off …Is A Real Boy, “Alive with the Glory of Love,” and took that right into the album’s killer opening track, “Belt.” It’s hard to think of a higher note to start out on than that, and Say Anything kept the momentum (and huge crowd singalongs) going the whole time. Other highlights included “Little Girls,” Shiksa (Girlfriend),” and the penultimate song “I Want To Know Your Plans,” which had Max playing most of the song solo and adding a nice amount of intimacy to the otherwise high-energy set. After that, they turned things back up to 11 to close out with “Every Man Has A Molly.”

I saw a few Minus the Bear songs (great as always) before taking a much-needed breather, catching some of Best Coast (whose current five-piece band is the tightest version of Best Coast I’ve seen yet), and camping out for Paramore. I only caught the first eight songs of Paramore’s set because I had to book it over to Jawbreaker, but I had to see some of the band that released one of my favorite albums of the year so far. They opened with that album’s big single “Hard Times,” and instantly the entire crowd — which was packed in like sardines — started jumping up and down and screaming every single word. It was by far the loudest singalong I heard all weekend, and it happened on every single other song I heard during Paramore’s set. The current live band is great (especially with rock-solid drummer Zac Farro back in the fold), and Hayley is a total star. Her and the rest of the band’s transition from Warped Tour pop punk heroes to colorful ’80s dance-pop revivalists has been seamless, both sonically and visually. Hayley had some young Debbie Harry vibes going on, and the light show used vivid pastels of all colors. It’s my own fault for leaving early, and the loving crowd would never agree with me, but I do wish I heard more of the new material and less of the old. The pop punk stuff is cool — “That’s What You Get” was especially awesome — but this new version of Paramore feels so perfect for them right now and the Brand New Eyes and Paramore songs I heard fell a little flat in comparison.

Pictures of Riot Fest day three are in the gallery above. Day two pics HERE. Day three pics HERE and HERE. You can also check out separate reviews of Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, At the Drive In, Jawbreaker and Cap’n Jazz.

photos by James Richards IV and Aaron Peipert

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