Good morning friends!
People say I'm a good writer, but half the time, I have no idea how to start a post. So, let's just cut through the bullshit:
Day 2 of Riot Fest Was amazing!!!
Holy crap! I felt like I was 20-years-old again, and let me assure you, I'm closer to 40 than I am to 20. But hot damn, I got so motivated by the music, I was in the pit for 2 solid hours! I literally haven't been in well over a decade! Riot Fest, what have you done to me?
As I chronicled yesterday, Day 1 of Riot Fest for me was super busy. I was doing a lot of ripping and running, covering a lot of musical acts and such. Day 2, I didn't even enter the festival until 6pm.
In a perfect world, I would've checked out 3 full sets yesterday, Jerry Lee Lewis (a living legend), GWAR (the interplanetary scumdogs come to be our masters and overlords) and Andrew W.K. (Mr. Party and positivity himself), but unfortunately, 2 of those acts were performing head to head. Why would you do this to me Riot Fest? So I had to make tough decisions. I decided I would just play it by hear and go with my gut. Here's how it all went down:
GWAR didn't start playing until 7:30, so I had time to kill. I wandered a little bit, grabbed a drink. One of my friends on Facebook suggested I check out the band Killing Joke, so I noticed they were into their set time, so I wandered over.
My initial reaction was "Huh? Why would Patrick (Yes Patrick, I'm calling you out!) suggest I listen to these guys, they're not very good. In all fairness, festival playing has to be the hardest kind of playing. Open air, tons of space...hard to be "tight" as a musical unit. But, I just wasn't feeling it. So I headed to the bathroom. After a bathroom break, I wandered back past their stage, and at this point, I was definitely enjoying the music a little more. So, I want to restate, "It's not that they weren't good, it's just not quite my style." I'm not exactly sure what kind of band they are, and I will probably check out a couple of tracks on Spotify to see what that sounds like, but not really up my alley.
On the contrary, I immediately slowed down and started bobbing my head when I wandered over towards The Voidz on my way to the Rebel Stage to see GWAR. I was digging it. They had a good sound. I can't really go into much more detail than that. Unfortunately, the combination of GWAR and Andrew W.K. eviscerated my brain, so the only thing I can really remember are their sets....and the great conversations and laughs I had with friends after, but yeah, let's talk about them...
I have not missed GWAR or Andrew W.K. since I started going to Riot Fest, and I discovered them both the exact same way. Back when Riot Fest was in Humboldt Park, I was strolling along (I'm a total festival stroller, I hardly ever rush to get anywhere, and I give myself ample time to get from point A to B) and I saw large groups of kids running. In each case, I yelled to them,
"Guys, where you going?"
"To see GWAR!!! You can't miss them!"
"Guys, where are you going?"
"To see Andrew W.K.! You can't miss him!"
I'd "heard" of each group at that point, but that was it, so I changed my plans. I followed those groups of kids, and 5 years later, those are my 2 will not miss groups of Riot Fest.
- GWAR - I normally stand well towards the back of the crowd for GWAR. If you've never seen them, it's kind of like a Blue Man Group show. Shit is flying everywhere. I was lucky that I was wearing a dark t-shirt. We all got coated in blood, and green semen, and god knows what else. There was the decapitation of a priest, the gutting of Donald Trump, a large object in the anus of another individual...I can't even do GWAR justice. However, I don't know what got into me. As the crowd started filling in, I just made a split decision to move towards the front. Out comes the band in all of their Intergalactic splendor (if you've never seen GWAR, Google a picture. We're talking 6-foot-tall space aliens with lots of dicks and tits.), and the next thing I knew I was in the pit, being pushed to-and-fro, passing guys and gals like joints up over my head and over the barrier rail. I took several videos, which I will post over on my Instagram. What can I say about GWAR? They come to put on a show. You laugh, you rock out, my body is sore today, but damnit, I felt young again, and I had an amazing time. I wouldn't say I'm a huge GWAR fan, because I don't own any of their music, and I don't listen to them on the regular, but damnit, as long as they continue playing Riot Fest, I'm gonna continue being in that pit! Also, it's a great moment to recognize the fact that one of the great things about Riot Fest is the intergenerational quality of the event. I was not the oldest person in the pit. And everyone was just so cool. No fights, no punches, no bullshit, just everyone having a great time with a group of space traveling scumdogs...why can't every day be like that?
- Andrew W.K. - As I said on Twitter, following GWAR immediately with Andrew W.K. is almost too intense. Too much good music, too much pit time. But damnit, Riot Fest comes once a year, so what do you do, you rise to the fucking occasion. I am completely fascinated by Andrew W.K. He's more than just a rock star. Part Party God, part motivational speaker...there was legitimately a moment of his set that brought me to tears, part of which I captured on video. He said,
"Just in case tomorrow doesn't come, we party tonight. For those who couldn't join us, we party in their honor. For everyone we've lost, we party in their memory!"
That legitimately hit me in the feels. In all honesty, I'm tearing up as I think about it. This year has been rough, for so many. A friend who lives in downstate Illinois messaged me this morning; Much like me she is an anti-violence activist, and they are losing kids to gun violence weekly. Between violence, and cancer, and just life, so many familiar faces are no longer with us. I needed that moment. That's what Andrew W.K. does. He helps reveal greater truth in his music, things that I find myself saying with greater regularity, that tomorrow is not guaranteed. You have to have your fun, your experiences, today.
Thank you Andrew!
I would do just about anything to sit down with Andrew W.K., shake his hand, and have a coffee and just talk life perspective, how he evolved to this point he is, about his amazing band (3 guitars, one of them a bad ass lady, and Andrew's wife is also his hype person and backup singer...awesome!).
Following that, we literally counted down from 93 to the last song, and yes, we built it up! When Party Hard kicked in, I had tears on my cheeks, a smile on my face, and bliss in my heart. Yeah, I'm a big softy, and yeah, that is why Andrew W.K. is my favorite performer of this year, much like last.
Following his amazing set, I headed over to the Cobra Lounge bar, and talked with my friends bartending there. If you're drinking, definitely hit them up. Normally, I bartend with them at festivals. They're an amazing group of people, and don't forget to tip motherfuckers!
I'm already showered up and drinking Gatorade. Heading to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu this morning, and then lunch with a friend, and then Day 3 of Riot Fest. After those amazing sets last night, I'm just gonna take today as it comes.
How was your Day 2? Who did you see? Any surprises? Any suggestions for Day 3. Tell me all the good news below in the comment section.
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This post was created on my HP Pavilion x360.