Riot Fest 2018 Preview

Riot Fest returns! The biggest punk festival in the country had its doubters, but has once again put together a killer line-up of punk & more, Friday-Sunday, September 14th-16th....

Riot Fest 2018 Preview

Riot Fest returns! The biggest punk festival in the country had its doubters, but has once again put together a killer line-up of punk & more, Friday-Sunday, September 14th-16th:



Riot Stage

Weezer, 8:45 PM – 10:00 PM

For a long time, the new output from Weezer (QRO photos at a festival) like 2010’s Hurley (QRO review) and Death To False Metal (QRO review) or the previous year’s Raditude (QRO review) wasn’t up to their nineties classics (and 2008’s red album-covered self-titled – QRO review – couldn’t hold a candle to the blue- and green-covered earlier Weezers – QRO blue Weezer live review – or PinkertonQRO deluxe edition review), but they still played those nineties classics like “My Name Is Jonas” (QRO video), “Say It Ain’t So” (QRO video), “Buddy Holly” (QRO video), “No One Else” (QRO video), “Surf Wax America” (QRO video), “Falling For You” (QRO video), and “Dope Nose” (QRO video), which can even lift later pieces like “Islands In the Sun” (QRO video) and “Beverly Hills” (QRO video). And their live show (QRO live review) – especially outdoors (QRO live review outdoors) headlining a festival (QRO photos headlining a festival) – has stayed great, like at Riot ‘14 (QRO photos headlining Riot Fest ‘14).

2014 also came Everything Will Be Alright In the End (QRO review), their best record in years & years (QRO Everything live review), then another Weezer, 2016’s white one (QRO review), another good one (QRO White Album live review), and last year’s Pacific Daydream (QRO review) – plus dude, Hurley (QRO photo). And their live show encompasses it all & more – even “Africa” (QRO live review).

A last-minute fill-in headliner after Blink-182 had to cancel due to health concerns (making all the thirty-somethings pissed, but the forty- and twenty-somethings happy), Everything Will Be Alright In the End.
Bleachers, 6:35 PM – 7:35 PM

Jack Antonoff of fun. (QRO live review) launched his own indie-pop side-project, Bleachers (QRO photos at a festival) only a few years ago, but it has quickly become as well known as his ‘main’ gig. He plays behind last year’s Gone Now (QRO review).
The Front Bottoms, 4:40 PM – 5:25 PM

New Jersey punks The Front Bottoms have only been growing since their 2011 self-titled debut full-length (QRO review), and play their second Riot Fest.
The Front Bottoms

flor, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Direct Hit!, 1:35 PM – 2:05 PM


Roots Stage

Young The Giant, 7:40 PM – 8:40 PM

These Irvine natives toiled for years as The Jakes, but when they changed their name to Young the Giant (QRO photos at a festival), things finally took off (QRO photos at a festival), with their self-(new) titled album & TV performances, including at MTV’s Video Music Awards. They’ve since been gracing bigger (QRO photos) and bigger (QRO photos) stages & shows (QRO live review), including festivals (QRO photos at a festival). YtG (QRO photos) come after the release of 2016’s Home of the Strange (QRO review), following 2014’s Mind over Matter (QRO review).
Young the Giant
Matt & Kim, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Serious, long-time ‘Friends of the Q’ (QRO spotlight on), it’s been great watching Matt & Kim (QRO photos at a festival) blow up so seriously – without losing their infectious cheer (QRO live review). Singer/keyboardist Matt Johnson (QRO interview) and drummer Kim Schifino (QRO interview) bring a self-described ‘onstage pizza party’ with their sugar-filled hyper-pop/rock on stage (QRO live review). Known for spreading their giant, ever-present grins (QRO photos) to every crowd they play for (QRO live review), large, outdoor stages (QRO live review outdoors) don’t faze them, and neither do massive festivals (QRO photos at a festival), nor even foreign crowds (QRO live review overseas) or playing on holidays like New Year’s Eve (QRO live review on New Year’s Eve) or Halloween (QRO live review on Halloween). They also stepped up their musical game on 2009’s Grand (QRO review), with Sidewalks (QRO review) the following year, 2012’s Lightning (QRO review), 2015’s New Glow (QRO review), 2016’s We Were the Weirdoes EP (QRO review), and this year’s Almost Everyday (QRO review) . So expect them to rock the crowd (QRO photos), from old tracks like “Silver Tiles” (QRO video) and “Yea Yeah” (QRO video) to Grand ones like “Good Old-Fashioned Nightmare” (QRO video) and “Daylight” (QRO video) to Sidewalks’ “Good For Great” (QRO video), Lightning‘s “Let’s Go” (QRO video) and even a cover of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” (QRO video) – as the kids go nuts (QRO photos at a festival), and so do Matt & Kim (QRO live review).

The hard-working duo (QRO live review) recently had their longest hiatus ever, because Kim injured herself on stage (given how they perform, kind of a surprise it hadn’t happened earlier), but she’s healed & they’re back with Almost Everyday, and come to Riot Fest (QRO live review at a festival). And those up front better be ready for when Matt (QRO interview) sends Kim out to do her ‘booty shakin’ crowd surf’ (QRO photos at a festival)…
Matt & Kim
K.Flay, 3:50 PM – 4:35 PM

A musical aficionado, K.Flay (QRO photos at a festival) seems to know how to do it: producing beats, making rhymes, and playing guitar, piano, and drums. Her inexplicable catchy hooks, and beats are something least expected of a Stanford graduate but has already been deemed the ‘new best thing in hip-hop.’ Last year she’s put out her second record, Every Where Is Some Where.
Liz Phair, 2:10 PM – 2:55

The alt-songstress Liz Phair (QRO photos) came up in the early nineties alternative music boom with her classic Exile In Guyville – how can she come to Riot Fest (QRO photos at a festival) and not play it in full for its twenty-fifth anniversary?…
Liz Phair
Speedy Ortiz, 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM

There’s been a ton of buzz around Brooklyn’s Speedy Ortiz (QRO photos at a festival), who come to Riot Fest behind Twerp Verse.

Speedy Ortiz

Rise Stage

Dropkick Murphys, 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Just as no town in America is as Irish as Boston, there’s no band more associated with today’s ‘Celtic Punk’ movement than Dropkick Murphys (QRO photos). They play regular St. Patrick’s Day shows in Beantown – 2013’s (QRO review) featured a guest appearance by Seal Team Six! Of course the Irish-American experience stretches across the country (QRO live review), so expect it to work at Riot Fest as the band (QRO photos) returns (QRO photos at Riot Fest ’14) to play behind last year’s 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory (QRO review) – just don’t wear a Yankees cap (or do a Nazi salute – the bassist clocked a guy doing that at their NYC stop in 2013…).
Dropkick Murphys
Taking Back Sunday, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

It’s all come full circle. Though the line-up for Amityville’s emo-rockers Taking Back Sunday (QRO photos) has changed since 2002 debut Tell All Your Friends, it returned to the original line-up for 2011’s self-titled album – as well as 2012’s tenth anniversary tour Tell All Your Friends (QRO live review). They play Riot Fest for their fifth time in six years, behind 2016’s Tidal Wave.
Taking Back Sunday
Flogging Molly, 5:45 PM – 6:30 PM

Flogging Molly (QRO live review) is on the leading edge of today’s workingman’s punk rock. The Celtic tinge to this Los Angeles act (QRO photos) has only grown, with 2008’s produced-in-Eire Float and 2011’s Speed of Darkness reaching new heights in popularity for the genre, as well as bringing it to the wide open air (QRO photos outdoors). They have become a strong presence on the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival), including Riot Fest ’15 (QRO photos at Riot Fest ’15), as well as their own headlining shows (QRO live review).
Flogging Molly
Sum 41, 4:30 PM – 5:15 PM

The biggest early aughts emo-punk act this side of Blink-182 (QRO photos headlining Riot Fest ‘13), Sum 41 (QRO photos) was a young hit with All Killer No Filler and Does This Look Infected?. Of course, if you’re a little older you probably consider a band whose frontman once dated Paris Hilton and once married Avril Lavigne – maybe they need to be more metal…
Sum 41
The Aquabats, 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM

Crime-fighting superheroes The Aquabats are ready to defend the good citizens of Riot Fest.
The Aquabats
Lagwagon, 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM

It’s now been almost three decades for California punk outfit Lagwagon (QRO live review), and while they’ve never broken into the big-time, have developed a dedicated underground following. The play the twentieth anniversary of Let’s Talk About Feelings.


Radicals Stage

Cypress Hill, 8:15 PM – 9:15 PM

Having sold over twenty million albums worldwide, Cypress Hill (QRO photos at a festival) brings their unorthodox style and good-natured air of ‘reclaiming the glory days’ to Chicago as they return to Riot Fest (QRO photos at Riot Fest ’15). They were the first Latino outfit to achieve platinum success in hip-hop – they come to Chicago (QRO photos at a festival) with their brand-new Elephants on Acid, but for Riot Fest they perform the twenty-fifth anniversary of Black Sunday in full.
Cypress Hill
Atmosphere, 6:45 PM – 7:45 PM

The DJ/producer and rapper duo hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota (QRO photos at a festival) has already garnered themselves the reputation of one of hip hops most cacophonous and respected acts. Known for his aggressive and energetic performances, Atmosphere’s set is a definite must-see (QRO photos outdoors) as he comes back to Riot Fest (QRO photos at a festival).
Digable Planets, 5:15 PM – 6:15 PM

One of the most acclaimed alt-hip-hop outfits from back when those were a new thing, early nineties trio Digable Planets (QRO photos at a festival) – Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, Mary Ann “Ladybug Mecca” Viera, and Craig “Doodlebug” Irving (QRO live review) – teased with one-offs and semi-reunions, but have since full-fledged reunited (QRO live review), and come to Riot Fest to play the twenty-fifth anniversary of Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space). They’re “Cool Like Dat”.
Digable Planets
Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers, 4:00 PM – 4:45 PM

After getting kicked out of his house at age nineteen, Frank Lopez lived in his car – and became Hobo Johnson.
Pussy Riot, 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Riot Fest welcomes Pussy Riot! Members of the famous Russian agit-punk act have been everywhere from Russian gulag to sharing a stage with Madonna (QRO photos) to even music festivals like Riot Fest (QRO photos at Riot Fest ‘14), and have even been releasing actual music & playing actual shows (including with Chelsea Manning – QRO photos with Manning).
Pussy Riot

Rebel Stage

Face To Face, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Arkells, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

The Bombpops, 4:50 PM – 5:30 PM

Archie Powell & The Exports, 3:40 PM – 4:20 PM

Typesetter, 2:30 PM – 3:10 PM

Blood People, 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Face To Face





Riot Stage

Beck, 8:45 PM – 10:00 PM

Beck (QRO photos at a festival) is back! Your favorite musical non-conformist (QRO photos at a festival) broke through in the mid-nineties thanks to songs like “Loser”, “Where It’s At”, and “Devil’s Haircut” off of early records Mellow Gold and Odelay (QRO deluxe edition review), mixing white boy funk with indie-rock and experimental – as well also delivering a stripped, soulful folk side to boot. After full-lengths 2008’s Modern Guilt (QRO review) and 2006’s The Information (QRO review), he took off time to work as a producer (such as on Thurston Moore’s Demolished ThoughtsQRO review – and Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks’ Mirror TrafficQRO review), only releasing a few soundtrack tracks (like writing for the fictional band Sex Bob-omb in Scott Pilgrim vs. The WorldQRO soundtrack review) and a ‘song reader’. But he finally delivered a new studio album in 2014 with Morning Phase (QRO review) – and of course it was great. A perfect headliner at Riot Fest (QRO headlining a festival), he comes after last fall’s release of Colors (QRO review), with his entire impressive career in tow (QRO live review).
Elvis Costello & The Imposters, 6:35 PM – 7:35 PM

What a wild ride it’s been for Elvis Costello (QRO album review), who’ll be back at the helm of one of the greatest bands of a generation. Fronting the Imposters (QRO photos at a festival), the quirky-yet-enigmatic frontman will be capping off an illustrious career – one that took Costello and his oversized glasses on a punk rock tear that’s lasted over four decades; one that still continues to this day.

He’s kicked the Beastie Boys off the Saturday Night Live stage, drunkenly fought Stephen Stills, and survived a poorly reported racism scandal, all the while very publicly idolizing George Jones. He’s impossible to nail down, but one thing’s for sure: The world’s second-most famous Elvis embodies the phrase punk rock lives (QRO album review).

Although the ‘90s may have mellowed him out – see co-writing sessions with Paul McCartney and guest staring on Frasier – Costello’s punk rock stature is unquestionable (QRO live review), and it’s exactly that kind of reputation that he’ll be bringing to when he returns to Riot Fest (QRO photos at a festival).
Elvis Costello & The Imposters
Cat Power, 4:25 PM – 5:25 PM

There’s no one quite like Cat Power. Chan Marshall is this signature mix of punk, folk, blues, and more, with a memorable stage presence. An inspiration of many of today’s indie songstresses, she comes to Riot Fest behind this year’s Wanderer.
Cat Power
HEALTH, 2:45 PM – 3:30 PM

Los Angeles’ own HEALTH (QRO photos) not only bring the noise-rock to Riot Fest, but are also known for their mash-ups, though outdoors (QRO photos outdoors), they’re more ‘noise’ than ‘rock’.
The Districts, 1:05 PM – 1:50 PM

A high school band made good, Pennsylvania boys The Districts (QRO photos at a festival) bring their alt-roots to Riot Fest.

The Districts

Roots Stage

Interpol, 7:40 PM – 8:40 PM

When the Lower East Side music scene broke out at the beginning of this century/millennium, one of the biggest breakouts was neo-New Wave outfit Interpol (QRO live review) with Turn On the Bright Lights and Antics. Unfortunately, 2007 major label debut Our Love To Admire (QRO review) was a serious disappointment, leading to a hiatus (where singer/guitarist Paul Banks did his own solo thing as Julian Plenti – QRO European tour review). But 2010’s return to Matador Records Interpol (QRO review) was a return to form, and so was their live show (QRO photos), even on the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival). Of course, the following year saw another hiatus (with Paul Banks going solo again, this time under his own name – QRO album review), but the band returned once more (QRO photos at a festival), with 2015’s El Pintor (QRO review), and now this year’s strong Marauder (QRO review) and live show (QRO live review of Marauder release party).
Twin Peaks, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Of course there’s a band named Twin Peaks (QRO spotlight on) – even before the recent revival on Showtime. Their power-pop and wild stage antics (QRO live review) bring to mind The Replacements, and they (QRO interview) come back to Riot Fest (QRO photos at a Chicago festival) behind last year’s Down In Heaven.
Twin Peaks
Gary Numan, 3:35 PM – 4:20 PM

Lots of electronic music pioneers are finally getting their due, and no one is more due than Gary Numan (QRO live review). His chart-topping 1979 hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Cars” virtually introduced the world to electronic music, paving the way for New Wave and much more. Of course, pioneers get passed by those who stood on their shoulders, and the eighties saw Numan lose the limelight, before a shift to a more industrial sound revived his career in the more alt-friendly nineties. This century/millennium has seen virtually every artist who ever put a keyboard through a guitar pedal name-check Numan (Bowie, Beck, Blur, Basement Jaxx – and that’s just the B’s…).

Numan (QRO photos at a festival) comes to Riot Fest behind his latest, Savage (Songs From a Broken World), his twenty-first studio album!…
Gary Numan

The Frights, 1:55 PM – 2:40 PM

Beach Bunny, 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM

The Frights

Rise Stage

The Jesus Lizard, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Austin (with some Chicago thrown in) natives The Jesus Lizard were acclaimed punk-noise forebears who broke up in 2000. They reunited ten years later to positive reviews, only to break up again – and reunite again last year.
The Jesus Lizard
Killing Joke, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

One of the key founders of industrial music, Killing Joke (QRO live review) were a force in the punk scene of the late seventies & post-punk scene of the early eights, and influenced every act that has claimed the harder mantle. Though the line-up has changed, they’ve returned to their original core (QRO photos).
Killing Joke
Adolescents, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

A California punk rock act that’s reunited, The Adolescents are something of a supergroup, featuring members of Agent Orange and Social Distortion, but a sound all their own as the group nears thirty.
Bully, 3:45 PM – 4:30 PM

Nashville’s Bully (QRO photos at a festival) rock loudly and carry a big axe.
Mannequin Pussy, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM

Smash your body on the punk rock of Philadelphia’s Mannequin Pussy (QRO photos at a festival).

Mannequin Pussy

Radicals Stage

Jerry Lee Lewis, 7:45 PM – 8:45 PM

Riot Fest has welcomed many living icons over the years, but perhaps the most venerable is this year’s one-and-only Jerry Lee Lewis, “Rock & Roll’s first great wild man.” The Sun Records author of such hits as “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire” saw his career plummet after his failed marriage to his first cousin (it was a different time…), but he slowly recovered over the years in both rock and country. He was played by Dennis Quaid in his 1989 biopic Great Balls of Fire (way before any actor walked the line), and has kept putting out music, such as 2006’s Last Man Standing, 2010’s Mean Old Man, and 2014’s Rock and Roll Time. Good gracious!
Jerry Lee Lewis
The Voidz, 6:15 PM – 7:15 PM

When The Strokes broke out of the Lower East Side in 2001 and basically launched the alternative music revival, fronting the band was singer Julian Casablancas. When The Strokes began to feel like old hat later in the decade, they went into hiatus & solo projects. Casablancas released the lame electronic Phrazes For the Young (QRO review) to decent commercial success, but eventually found his way back to The Strokes for 2011’s Angles (QRO review) and 2014’s Comedown Machine (QRO review). But that record looks to be The Strokes last for a while again, as Casablancas is already looking to a new project, The Voidz (QRO live review), though the live word isn’t great (QRO photos at a festival).
The Voidz
Wolfmother, 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM

Remember when ‘wolf’ bands were all the rage? Well, AIDS Wolf may have killed that, but Sydney, Australia’s Wolfmother (QRO photos at a festival) are still here – despite the departure of two-thirds of the band in 2008, leaving singer/guitarist Andrew Stockdale the sole original ‘wolf’ (QRO photos). The reborn Wolfmother come to Riot Fest behind 2016’s Victorious.
Reignwolf, 3:45 PM – 4:30 PM

Check out the wild, one-man action of Reignwolf (QRO photos at a festival).
Piebald, 2:30 PM – 3:15 PM

Alt-hardcore artists Piebald were a staple of the Greater Boston area music scene in the prior two decades before breaking up in 2008. Of course they’ve reunited.


Badflower, 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM


Rebel Stage

Andrew W.K., 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM

No artist in this millennium has done as many different things, worked with as many different people, while staying true to who he is, than Andrew W.K. (QRO photos). He started as a party-rock impresario with 2001’s I Get Wet and “Party Hard”, but has since built a wide list of accomplishments, from founding his own NYC venue, Santos Party House (QRO venue review), to doing self-help & motivational speaking, his own MTV series (and guest-appearing on Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force), playing with a classical string quartet (QRO photos), hosting the World Snowboarding Championship in Oslo in 2012 (QRO kick-off review), founding the ‘Party Party’, and even bringing I Get Wet back for its tenth anniversary (QRO live review of I Get Wet show). The hard-partying, hard-working man comes to Riot Fest for his seventh year in a row (QRO photos at Riot ’16QRO photos at Riot ‘15QRO photos at Riot ’14QRO photos at Riot Fest ’13) on his latest tour (QRO live review), behind his first new album in almost a decade, You’re Not Alone.
Andrew W.K.
GWAR, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

There is no band as unique as GWAR (QRO spotlight on). Somewhere between Motörhead, Tenacious D, George Romero, KISS, and Gallagher, GWAR combines thrash metal with sci-fi/horror spectacle, including massive costumes & massive amounts of stage gore (QRO photos), plus taking on about every taboo there is for one of the most amazing spectacles out there (QRO live review), including at Riot Fest the last four years (QRO photos at Riot Fest ’17QRO photos at Riot Fest ’16QRO photos at Riot ’15QRO photos at Riot Fest ’14QRO photos at Riot Fest ‘13).

The group (QRO live review) survived longtime member Flattus Maximus (Cory Smoot) departing to the intergalactic heavens in 2011, recruiting a new scumdog of the universe from the Maximus clan, putting out Battle Maximus in 2013 – only to lose singer/frontman extraordinaire Oderus Urungus (a.k.a. Dave Brockie – QRO interview) the following year. The band could have folded their tent, but instead have kept defiling the universe – and Riot Fest (QRO interview at Riot Fest) – with their first post-Brockie record, The Blood of the Gods, out last year.

Street Dogs, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Conflict, 4:45 PM – 5:30 PM

Cobra Skulls, 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM QRO photos

Lower Class Brats, 2:15 PM – 3:00 PM

Total Chaos, 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM
Cobra Skulls




Riot Stage

Run The Jewels, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM

El-P blew up the Brooklyn rap scene with 2013’s Cancer 4 Cure (QRO review of release party), and brought about his team-up with Killer Mike (QRO photos at a festival) for 2012’s ‘Into the Wild’ tour. Mike & P have deepened that connection (QRO photos at a festival), working together as Run the Jewels (QRO photos at a festival) for two critically acclaimed records, most recently 2015’s Run the Jewels 2 and last year’s critically- and commercially-acclaimed Run the Jewels 3. It’s been really enjoyable watching this duo just love life as they get bigger & bigger (QRO photos from this year), as they come to headline the final night of Riot Fest (QRO photos at a festival).
Run the Jewels
Alkaline Trio, 6:50 PM – 7:50 PM

Chicago’s own reliable punk rockers Alkaline Trio (QRO photos at a festival) return to Riot Fest for a third time, behind recent records This Addiction (QRO review), My Shame Is True, and this year’s Is This Thing Cursed? (not to mention anniversary release of Damnesia QRO review). Frontman Matt Skiba is also known for joining Blink-182, who would have been headlining this year (QRO photos headlining Riot Fest ‘13), if not for drummer Travis Barker’s illness.
Alkaline Trio
Suicidal Tendencies, 4:40 PM – 5:40 PM

One of the first successful hardcore acts, the line-up around Mike Muir that forms Suicidal Tendencies (QRO live review) has changed over the thirty years, but what hasn’t is the fury. The return to Riot Fest (QRO photos at Riot Fest ‘13) to play the thirty-fifth anniversary of Suicidal Tendencies – but I just want a Pepsi!
Suicidal Tendencies
SWMRS, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Oakland punks SWMRS (QRO photos) fashion their own brand of rock.


Calpurnia, 1:30 PM – 2:10 PM

Mom Jeans, 12:20 PM – 12:50 PM


Roots Stage

Father John Misty, 7:55 PM – 8:55 PM

While a member of overrated folk outfit Fleet Foxes, guitarist Joshua Tillman found time to do his own solo stuff (QRO album review), but in 2012 he moved to solo full-time as Father John Misty (QRO photos) with Fear Fun, and he comes to Riot Fest (QRO photos at a festival) behind last year’s Pure Comedy (QRO review). As Aziz Ansari said in Master of None (before his more recent issues), “That’s a hot ticket!”
Father John Misty
Blondie, 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

One of the most veteran acts out there is the one-and-only Blondie (QRO live review outdoors). Deborah Harry and Chris Stein helped found American New Wave in the seventies and early eighties, before Harry went solo. But in 1997 the group (QRO live review) reunited to great success – including induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, live shows (QRO live review), and new albums, most recently last year’s Pollinator. They return to Riot Fest (QRO photos at Riot Fest ‘13).
Johnny Marr, 3:50 PM – 4:35 PM

Venerable U.K. music mag NME broke the long dominance that the baby-boomers have had over the top echelon of music by naming The Queen Is Dead the greatest album of all time – Revolver was a mere second. The eighties auteurs to take that top spot was legendary Smiths, and while Morrissey will likely always get the lion’s share of attention (he’d throw a fit if he didn’t – he showed up a half-hour late to his headlining gig at Riot Fest ‘16, and that was a good day for him…), on guitar & pen was Johnny Marr (QRO photos).

Since then Marr has forged an impressive post-Smiths career, from session work with everyone from a Beatle to The The. More recently, he joined bands clearly influenced by The Smiths such as Modest Mouse (QRO review of album with Marr) to The Cribs (QRO live review with Marr), but he’s since finally set out fully on his own (QRO photos at a festival), including this year’s impressive Call the Comet (QRO review), and live show (QRO live review) that encompasses his whole long career.
Johnny Marr
JD McPherson, 2:15 PM – 2:55 PM

Oklahoma native JD McPherson (QRO photos) is best known for channeling the fifties rockabilly of Little Richard & Fats Domino, but actually draws from as wide as Wu-Tang Clan and Pixies.


Beach Goons, 12:55 PM – 1:25 PM

JD McPherson
Rise Stage

Incubus, 7:45 PM – 9:00 PM

A band that’s been more successful than you realize, for longer than you realize, is Incubus (QRO live review). Deftly balancing between styles and scenes, acceptable to the mainstream and the indiesphere, Incubus (QRO photos) come behind last year’s eighth studio album 8. So catch Incubus (QRO photos) at Riot Fest (QRO photos) – If Not Now, When? (QRO review).
Underøath, 6:15 PM – 7:15 PM

Of course a Christian hardcore band would have a name like “Underøath”. They broke up in 2013, but rose again in 2015, and play their second Riot Fest in three years.
Clutch, 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM

This hard rock act always performs well in the Clutch (QRO photos at a festival), who return to Riot Fest.
Bullet For My Valentine, 3:45 PM – 4:30 PM

The successful Welsh heavy metal act Bullet For My Valentine (QRO photos) shoot into Riot Fest.
Bullet For My Valentine
FEAR, 2:25 PM – 3:15 PM

Creating and defining California hardcore has been FEAR. Lee Ving’s outfit brought hardcore (and themselves) to national prominence in an infamous Saturday Night Live appearance with slamdancing John Belushi & Ian MacKaye, and are much more badass than any ‘No Fear’ t-shirt. For Riot Fest they play 1982’s The Record.


Beach Rats, 1:25 PM – 1:55 PM


Radical Stage

Bad Religion, 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Riot Fest has recruited a ton of veteran punk acts, and there might not be a more veteran punk act than Bad Religion (QRO photos outdoors). Born in the eighties punk scene of southern California, Bad Religion’s aggressive yet intellectual, and socially minded, punk has inspired/influenced so many bands that those bands are even influencing new acts today. While they peaked commercially in the early nineties with Recipe For Hate and Stranger Than Fiction, guitarist Brett Gurewitz’s 1994 departure only lasted until 2001, and even if they’ve basically been making the same record for years now (most recently 2013’s True North), it’s a good record, with singer Greg Graffin’s literate lyrics still on target. Oh, and they founded Epitaph Records, which has been home to big names like Riot Fest ‘18’s Alkaline Trio and even Weezer (see both above).

They play Riot Fest for a third time (QRO photos at Riot ’16QRO photos at Riot ’13), doing the thirtieth anniversary of Suffer.
Bad Religion
The Wonder Years, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

The Wonder Years (QRO photos at a festival) mix pop-punk with melodic hardcore, and are no strangers to festivals (QRO photos at a festival), like Riot Fest ’13 & ’16.
The Wonder Years
Superchunk, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

At this point, Superchunk (QRO live review) are better known for what they did when not playing – founding the little indie label-made-big Merge Records, home to artists such as The Arcade Fire. But the North Carolina natives started Merge for their work as influential nineties alt-punk act Superchunk (QRO photos at Merge showcase), and came back as good as ever, both on the road (QRO live review), including festivals (QRO photos at a festival), and with 2010’s Majesty Shredding (QRO review) & “Learned To Surf” (QRO video), not to mention oldies-and-goodies like “Slack Motherfucker” (QRO video), evoking the time when indie-rock could be fun & skilled, not either/or (QRO photos at a festival).

The band (QRO live review) returns to Riot Fest (QRO photos at Riot Fest ’14) behind 2013’s I Hate Music (QRO review) and this year’s What a Time To Be Alive (QRO review) – how’s everything at the “Front of the House” (QRO video)?

The Audition, 4:15 PM – 5:00 PM

Spitalfield, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM

Kevin Devine, 2:00 – 2:30 PMQRO photos at Riot Fest ’15

The Dangerous Summer, 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM

pronoun, 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM

Kevin Devine

Rebel Stage

Dillinger Four, 5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

Minneapolis has given the world a litany of great punk bands (plus Prince), but that’s still going strong is the influential Dillinger Four (QRO photos).
Dillinger Four
The Bouncing Souls, 4:30 PM – 5:15 PM

New Brunswick, NJ’s own icons were at the forefront of the punk revival in the early nineties, and have stuck around long enough to enjoy ‘elder statesman’ status among today’s young punks like The Gaslight Anthem. Not that ‘elder’ is a word one would associate with the hyper, kinetic act’s live show, especially outdoors amidst punk festival fans (QRO photos outdoors at a festival), as they return to Riot Fest.
The Bouncing Souls

The Avengers, 3:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Super Whatevr, 2:40 PM – 3:10 PM

Save Face, 1:50 PM – 2:20 PM

Just Friends, 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM

No Small Children, 12:15 PM – 12:45 PM
Super Whatevr



ScHoolboy QLate Night shows

Riot Fest continues into the night:

Thursday, 9/13/18

Direct Hit!, The Bombpops @ Chrome Hub (free)

Friday, 9/14/18

ScHoolboy Q, Black Dave, Pact, Tay Made @ House of Vans (RSVP)
State Champs, Sleep On It, Undesirable People @ Bottom Lounge
Hot Snakes, Mannequin Pussy @ Cobra Lounge
Sum 41 @ Concord Music Hall

Saturday, 9/15/18

Hot SnakesBad Religion, Bully @ Bottom Lounge
K.Flay, Lonas @ Concord Music Hall
Lagwagon, Lower Class Brats @ Cobra Lounge
‘Emo Night Brooklyn’ @ Metro
Face To Face, Austin Lucas @ Sleeping Village

Sunday, 9/16/18

Bouncing Souls, Sincere Engineer @ Cobra Lounge
Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties, Beachbunny @ Sleeping Village




For festival website, go here: