It’s always easy to get up for Day 2, especially when I’m taking it easy and pacing myself for three days. If I was just attending Saturday (which it sounds like a lot of people did, just attend the one day), I might have busted my ass to be there when the gates opened, but we took our time. One of my favorite bands of all time was playing at 2:30, so I would at least be there for that. That band? Swervedriver.
We got there a little bit before 2pm and posted up in front of the Riot stage (where Swervedriver would be playing) and watched some of Meat Wave‘s set on the Roots stage. It was really fucking hot and they were facing the sun, but they were making the most of it.
|Meat Wave – Chris Sutter|
I dug their sound, took a few pictures, and then listened to the rest from the front of the Riot stage. I didn’t want to miss one bit of Swervedriver. Neither did this guy, a fellow sibling in shoegaze:
|Swervedriver – Steve George, Mikey Jones, Adam Franklin, Jimmy Hartridge|
I loved their set and was happy to have seen them, even if it was only a short 30 minute set. I had joked on Twitter that they should play 5 minutes of “Rave Down,” 10 minutes of “Last Train to Satansville,” and 15 minutes of “Never Lose That Feeling/Never Learn.” They didn’t take my advice, and instead played one song off their new record I Wasn’t Born To Lose You, and two each off Raise and Mezcal Head.
Finally hearing “Rave Down” live and fucking loud was transcendent for me. I could have stood there for another couple of hours, even in that searing heat.
The schedule then called for Dead Milkmen to play on the same stage that Meat Wave had played. We walked around the dividing partition to watch.
|The Dead Milkmen – Joe Jack Talcum, Dean Clean, Dandrew, Rodney Anonymous|
I’ve tried to be a good father, and part of that has been giving my kids the musical education they need. This means that they know Dead Milkmen, and “Bitchin’ Camaro.”
I’m a longtime Dead Milkmen fan but we bailed after about 2/3rds of the set to go catch some Gwar. As we got close to the stage, we saw the crowd walking away from the stage, many covered in red goo. I was surprised that the band cut the set about 15 minutes short from the allotted time, but considering the heat and the costumes they wear, it was understandable.
So we hung around for the Vandals. Now, at this point in my life, I’m a little ambivalent about The Vandals. On the one hand, their Peace Thru Vandalism EP was one of my early introductions to punk (thanks to my friend Pete’s older brother Dan). On the other hand, they (or more specifically, Joe) helped Blink-182 hose my friend Pat out of thousands of dollars, at the very least. But, whatever. Stevo is dead, and he was my favorite Vandals singer on those first two records, and I haven’t listened to anything The Vandals ever did after those first two albums. Boo hoo, right? I’m sure they give a shit at all.
|The Vandals – Dave Quackenbush & Warren Fitzgerald|
We watched a couple of songs and went inside to cool off again, watching some of the Sleep On It set.
|Sleep On It – Riot Fest Denver 2015|
I came back outside to get a spot for The Damned and heard The Vandals do “Anarchy Burger (Hold The Government),” so that was good for 14-year-old me.
I made sure to take Rodney Anonymous‘ advice and see The Damned. I was going to watch them anyway, but when Rodney talks, people listen.
I think I knew of Captain Sensible from his song “Wot” before I knew of The Damned as a band. I’m pretty sure my intro to The Damned was their cover of “Alone Again Or” from the Anything album in 1986. I was pretty pleased and surprised that the band really brought it, again, considering the heat, and the fact that Dave Vanian was clad in black leather.
|The Damned – Dave Vanian|
We watched most of their set, but it was overlapping with The Joy Formidable, and I wanted to see their set as well, so we bailed, missing “Eloise,” “New Rose,” and “Smash It Up.” C’est la vie. But I got a picture of the band and this pink mohawk guy.
|The Damned – Captain Sensible & Dave Vanian flanking a brilliant pink mohawk.|
|The Joy Formidable – Rhydian Dafydd, Ritzy Bryan, Matthew James Thomas|
I was glad to be able to see The Joy Formidable, finally. I’ve loved their music for a long time and they just generally kick ass.
|The Joy Formidable – Ritzy|
We watched the whole set, which meant we missed the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but we were a little tired of walking back & forth by then. Covered moving walkways for 2016, Riot Fest. That’s my big suggestion.
Eagles of Death Metal played on the adjoining stage, so we walked over to catch their set after Joy Formidable.
|Eagles of Death Metal – Dave, Julian, Jesse|
I think we went and got dinner after that, because I don’t recall seeing any of the bands that played between Eagles of Death Metal and Drive Like Jehu.
|Drive Like Jehu – John Reis|
|Drive Like Jehu – Rick Froberg|
I’ll be honest – DLJ was not my cuppa back in that there day. But, my tastes in music have evolved (luckily, right?) over the ensuing decades, and I find plenty to like here in the second decade of the 21st century. I’m a huge fan of a lot of the music that Mark Trombino has produced over the years (fluf, Jimmy Eat World, Inch, No Knife, aMiniature), so there’s that connection as well. Fantastic set. Check out their Balboa Park reunion video with Dr. Carol Williams on organ. (I’ll link it below in the extra pics & vids section)
After Drive Like Jehu, we walked back over to the other side of the National Western Stock Show grounds (not kidding about them moving sidewalks) to catch some of Alkaline Trio, who had also played day 1 at the first Riot Fest in Denver, back in 2013.
|Run-DMC – DMC & Run|
|Pixies – Joey Santiago, Frank Black, David Lovering|
I saw Pixies on their 2004 reunion tour here in Denver at the Magness Auditorium, but…it’s Pixies. One of my favorite bands of all time. This band changed the face of music in the late ’80s/early ’90s. I was not going to miss another chance to see them.
|Pixies – Frank Black|
I’ve been a huge fan since 1988 when I heard “Gigantic” on 91X after I had moved to San Diego. Bought the Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim combo CD and was hooked on the weirdness and the power and the catchiness. Truly like nothing I’d heard before.
|Pixies – Joey Santiago, Frank Black, David Lovering|
We strolled by the Rancid stage for a few songs after Pixies, but we were burnt, physically and mentally.
|Pretty sure it’s Rancid. Really.|
And that was it. Yes, we skipped out on Modest Mouse. You make sacrifices sometimes. Day 3 was coming fast. We opted for rest. We left the grounds & drove home.
MORE PHOTOS (click to see full size):
|The Damned – Captain Sensible|
|The Damned – Monty Oxymoron & Dave Vanian|
|Riot Fest Photo Pit Punk|
|Dead Milkmen – Rodney Anonymous side boob|
|Dead Milkmen – Joe Jack Talcum|
|Some dude at the festival|
|Riot Fest Ferris|
|Joy Formidable – Ritzy fucking rocks|
|One of my favorite dudes of the weekend|
|Saved by Steuben’s once again|
|That ferris wheel tho|
|Swervedriver – Adam Franklin|
|Swervedriver – Adam & Mikey|
|Swervedriver – Mikey & Adam|
|Swervedriver – Marshall & Me.|
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