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!

Shot through the heart and you’re to blame…


I can’t start a Bon Jovi song without finishing at least the chorus.

David, Richie, Jon, and Tico.

I refuse to use a picture without Richie, even though he’s technically out of the band (until he gets his act together! C’mon, RIchie, it’s not the same without you!)

Ro and I had been lamenting our lack of concerts for November (until the end of the month, at least), and we were also a little sad about missing Bon Jovi (we’ve gone pretty much every time they’re in town, but we couldn’t justify paying for tickets when we just saw them in February).

But then Ro’s friend Carrie hooked us up with FREE TICKETS (if you’re reading this, Carrie, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU). And this show marked a very special occasion in Ro’s life: it was her 10th Bon Jovi show ever! (and it was my 8th!).

Luckily, having been fans since childhood, neither of us were worried about lack of pre-concert preparedness i.e. we knew that we could sing along to roughly 90% of the songs they sang without going on a Bon Jovi binge beforehand.

This is the first Bon Jovi video I remember watching…approximately 10 years ago.

Bon Jovi celebrated their 17th show at the ACC on Saturday! So while we missed the ceremony (we were at Friday’s show), we were still part of their record-breaking weekend.

As I mentioned, my love/appreciation for Bon Jovi reaches back to my earliest childhood. You can’t grow up with two older sisters (one born in the mid-seventies, the other in the early-eighties) without hearing Bon Jovi at some point in your life. I don’t think it’s possible. And they are one of the bands that stayed with us (or I guess, that we stayed with) for a very long time.

On Friday, they went onstage just after 8pm and played two hours straight before taking a less-than-five-minutes-long break and coming back out for the encore. Their set included classics like “Bad Medicine”, “It’s My Life”, and (one of my personal favourites) “Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night”, oldies that aren’t always played live (like the super 80s but still super good “Raise Your Hands”), and songs off their most recent album (i.e. “Because We Can”).

If you ever want to hear 19 000 people losing their minds in one shot, go to a Bon Jovi show and wait for “Livin’ on a Prayer”, preferably during the encore. The screaming-in-anticipation is enough to make you lose your hearing…if you still have any hearing to lose at that point.