More like RAGE FEST, am I RIOT?

This weekend was Riot Fest – or RAGE Fest, as I like to call it, because I spent two days dancing/screaming/flailing (“raging”) in the mud.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been steadily chanting “Ri-ot Fest, Ri-ot Fest” since May when this glorious line-up was announced. I’ve never been to Riot Fest before (it’s celebrating 10 years in Chicago this year, but only started crossing the border in 2012), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Like Warped, it was a day (well, two days) full of music and merch, but since there was a smaller selection of bands to see per day (compared to Warped’s 80+ bands), it was a bit easier to navigate. Of course, bands still manage to conflict with each other (in terms of stage times), but it seemed more balanced. The one downside is that it was held at Downsview Park (essentially a very large field), and, since there had been an intense thunderstorm Friday night, there was less grass and more mud. I don’t think my shoes will ever be the same.

Highlights from SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 6:

After the daily line-up was released, we discovered that 99% of the bands we wanted to see were playing on Saturday. Since we had already purchased two-day passes, we naturally went on Sunday too, but Saturday was definitely better. Here are the bands we saw along with the song I had most wanted to hear:

New Found Glory:

Taking Back Sunday:

Bring Me the Horizon:

Brand New:

Rise Against: (sidenote: I haven’t listened to them in at least a year, but their set reminded me of how good they really are. Gonna have to start listening to them again.)

The Cure:

We also saw parts of GlassjawCirca SurviveManchester Orchestra/Citizen (because they were playing on stages that were close to each other, so we could technically hear both), Death From Above 1979, and The Flaming Lips, but I cannot tell you what songs they played because I had never listened to them before. I quite liked Circa Survive, though, and will probably look  up them and Manchester Orchestra.

Highlights from Sunday September 7:

Tokyo Police Club:

Dropkick Murphys:

Death Cab for Cutie:

As you can tell, there were less bands that we wanted to see on Sunday compared to Saturday (ironically, Sunday was also warmer and less muddy than Saturday, so it would have been the better day to be running back and forth between stages). While wandering the grounds, we also caught parts of other sets including The HotelierDie Antwoord (definitely not for everyone *grimaces*), Social Distortion, and Stars. Of the three bands we saw in full, we’ve only listened to Death Cab on occasion (I recognized a surprising amount of songs), but I really enjoyed Tokyo Police Club (I must have heard “Hot Tonight” before because it sounded very familiar) and Dropkick Murphys were a lot of fun.

Final verdict: I loved Riot Fest. It was a new adventure, but one I would love to experience again. Here’s hoping next year’s line-up will be even crazier!

I’m sorry I don’t laugh at the right times

This Wednesday (the 16th) was my birthday and I celebrated in the best way possible: a new tattoo (Ro FINALLY agreed to get matching tattoos!), a new piercing, and a concert. We saw The Wonder Years on what can only be described as the most pop-punk tour of the year (I’d say it’s rivalled only by the Man Overboard/Transit tour next month, but I’m probably not going to it, so it doesn’t count).

I don’t know who’s who except the singer (the bearded on in the middle) is Dan “Soupy” Campbell.

I decided to give TWY a chance a few months ago – partially because I found out they were playing Toronto on my birthday, but also because they’ve toured/worked with a lot of other bands that I listen to. I describe them as “All Time Low meets Blink 182 with a dash of New Found Glory and a hint of seriousness”. In other words, they’re great! Not one of my favourite bands ever, but their four-album catalogue is pretty solid.

The first band to go on was Modern Baseball. We missed part of their set due to standing in line, but they were okay. Very young though – like, they literally had to take a semester off from college to do this tour.

Next was Citizen. All the opening bands had a similar vibe: college-kid pop-punk, is what I’d call it (that’s mainly a compliment).

RealFriends came on after Citizen. I’ve heard a lot about RealFriends and was interested in seeing them. I liked what I heard, but all their songs seemed to end very abruptly. Like, just as I was getting into it, they crashed to a halt and paused to chat. They’re on my list of “bands to see if we have time” for this summer’s Warped Tour, which means I’ll check them out again in a few months.

Fireworks was the last opening band. I’ve seen them before (opening for All Time Low in January 2013), and they were pretty much the same as I remembered them. They seemed a little more upbeat this time, and I know they just released an album, so I’ll probably give them another listen.

Finally, The Wonder Years came out. As I mentioned, they aren’t my most favourite band in the whole world (not even my most favourite pop-punk band), but they are enjoyable. They sound the same live as they do recorded (in a good way). The crowd lost their minds when TWY came out, so it was fun watching how other people reacted to them – you kinda feel excited just from association. I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite that many crowd surfers/stage divers in my life.

If I’m in an airport and you’re in a hospital bed, well that what kind of man does that make me?

All in all, it was a fun show (and the perfect way to celebrate my birthday!) and it only served to increase my overall enjoyment and appreciation of The Wonder Years.