Riot Fest 2017 Saturday pics/recaps (Danzig, Dead Cross, Wu-Tang, more)
After a successful day one, Riot Fest 2017 continued in Chicago’s Douglas Park on Saturday (9/16). Due to such a stacked lineup, there were a few anticipated sets I didn’t get to see, like the Wu-Tang Clan playing 36 Chambers and Taking Back Sunday. But there was no shortage of great acts that I did get to catch. In addition to At the Drive In (review HERE) and Queens of the Stone Age (review HERE), here are some other Saturday highlights:
DEAD CROSS: It’s pretty common that “supergroups” don’t live up to the hype that their lineup creates, but this was not the case with Dead Cross. They’re fronted by Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle and a handful of other bands, and their lineup also includes original Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, The Locust and Retox frontman Justin Pearson on bass, and Retox’s Mike Crain on guitar. In Dead Cross, all of their styles are on full display and they come together brilliantly. Justin Pearson and Mike Crain’s playing really gives the band their driving hardcore sound, and the complete and utter weirdo Mike Patton takes it in all kinds of spastic directions. Meanwhile, Dave Lombardo just absolutely slaughters his drums, reminding you how crucial he is to those classic Slayer albums (and how they’ll never be the same without him). The songs off their self-titled debut album sounded even better live than they do recorded. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think these guys had been playing these songs together for years. They looked and sounded like a seasoned band, not like a new side project. Mike Patton did seem to acknowledge that he knew a lot of people were more there for the band’s lineup than their songs, though, and said “here’s one you might know” before ending their set with a circle-pit-inducing cover of Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” (not with Jello Biafra this time though). He also mentioned on stage that Danzig was going to play a song with them, but couldn’t make it (Danzig said this during his own set too). Considering Dave Lombardo drummed with Danzig in The Original Misfits at the last Riot Fest, would they have played a Misfits song?? I guess we’ll never know. Anyway, speaking of Danzig…
DANZIG: Before Glenn Danzig himself entered the stage, his three bandmates (who, like him, all sported long black hair and entirely black outfits) ran out on stage and hyped up the crowd, who erupted when the man of the hour finally appeared. They proceded to play their third album, Danzig III: How the Gods Kill, in full, except for “Sistinas” which Danzig said he would’ve needed an orchestra for. He also said on stage that it was his first time ever playing “Do You Wear the Mark” live. You could tell Danzig was a little hoarse during the softer parts (and during his stage banter), but he really belted most of the set with similar power to his early days, and he had the crowd in the palm of his hand. The band — which for a while has been Prong’s Tommy Victor, Type O Negative’s Johnny Kelly, and Danzig’s Samhain bandmate Steve Sing — isn’t the band who recorded How the Gods Kill, but they nailed the album’s songs, down to each drum fill and pinch harmonic. And their enthusiastic stage presence kept the energy on a high. After they played Danzig III, they did a song off the new album and three classics from the first-three-albums era, “Twist of Cain,” “Her Black Wings,” and of course, the set-closing “Mother.”
GOGOL BORDELLO: Somehow I had gone this long without seeing Gogol Bordello, and I knew it was gonna be fun but I didn’t anticipate it’d be that fun. There were about seven people on stage at various times, everyone running around and dancing, basically everyone singing, and all the individual parts coming together to create a whole that was always bigger than the sum of its parts. It’s kind of impressive how tight of a band they remain while getting so theatrical. And it didn’t even matter what song they were playing — popular ones like “Alcohol,” “Immigraniada,” and “Start Wearing Purple” got the crowd going nuts but even the new songs and deeper cuts had the whole audience dancing. It was a gigantic party, and at the core of it all was a great rock band.
Day two also had Bad Brains, Fishbone, GBH, Peaches, Shabazz Palaces, The Lawrence Arms and more. Pictures are in the gallery above.