Out of all of the days of Riot Fest, Day 2 was the shortest. Since Sunday was our busy day, we decided to take it easy. We slept in; relaxed and focused on enjoying the few acts we wanted to see.
The first band we saw was Against Me! This was a band I listened to when I was younger, and they were definitely how I remembered them! All around, seeing them live was a lot of fun. Out of all of the bands who played, their set was one of the most mesmerizing. These guys are technically hometowners; I’m from Tampa and they were formed in Gainesville, which is only a few hours from me. I always say Florida births some of the best bands! I was especially impressed with vocalist Laura Jane Grace. When a vocalist plays another instrument at the same time of doing vocals, they sometimes lose their stage presence. But Grace was just as energetic as the rest of the band, and gave a passionate performance. They just overall had a really good sound. It’s always refreshing to watch a band that sounds exactly like their recordings, so I was pleased that this was the case with Against Me! We watched a few songs, and then walked around because I wanted to buy sunglasses. But we went back and finished the last of their set.
Along with Leftover Crack, what I wanted to do was see the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue. A friend of mine manages them, and she has been talking about the troupe for as long as I knew her. She highly recommended I watched them, and from her hype I knew I had to see these freaks in action! Well, you’ll never see their acts at a family friendly circus. Or anywhere, really. How often do you see grown men deep throating machetes, swords, and balloons? Well these guys were truly an act to behold! Hellzapoppin promotes themselves as “the world’s ONLY rock-n-roll circus freak show” so they fit in quite well with the musical interests and theme of Riot Fest. My favorites were The Govna Bryce Graves and Donny Vomit who shoved power drills up their noses, the burlesque show featuring Frankie Sin, Short E. Dangerously when he jumped onto a pool of glass, and Hermee’s very sexual balloon toys! And on top of that, they played enough Pantera to make me happy. Overall, Hellzapoppin was by far one of the highlights for Riot Fest!
After an hour of watching Hellzapoppin, it was time for me to wait in line to shoot Leftover Crack. Even though this band surrounds themselves with lyrical themes that are all too true and pessimistic, their live set was a lot of fun. This is one of the many iconic bands that prove punk is still alive and well. Their whole set was raw and energetic; even though this was taken place at a huge festival, it felt intimate as if it were at a dive bar. This is such a unique punk band as it is, so take it upon Leftover Crack to have one of the most unique sets at Riot Fest!
After Leftover Crack I walked over and watched Julian Marley. Julian was paying homage to his father, performing the entirety of the album Exodus by Bob Marley and the Wailers. From what I wrote in Day 1, Julian was performing on the Nicole Hoffman stage which was inside of the stadium. My friends and I were sitting on the stadium seating, able to see the stage from above. As well as seeing the stage, we could see the crowd…and the puffs of smoke that were coming up from the crowd! We all pointed it out and started laughing. Since I’m a Bob Marley fan from a young age, I had to watch as much of Julian as I could. I left right after one of my favorite songs “Jammin’” so I could shoot Glassjaw. Glassjaw was one of the best sounding bands of the whole festival. Right when they went on stage they encompassed all of the energy. And since they were such an energetic band, they were a lot of fun to shoot! Everything about their set sounded perfect: from the vocals all of the way to the drums. I generally am a fan of vocalist Daryl Palumbo, especially since I discovered him with the band Head Automatica when I was younger. I didn’t finish their whole set because I wanted to watch the rest of Julian Marley’s set, but I would definitely see the rest of Glassjaw’s set next time!
After Julian Marley we ended up leaving. Like I mentioned before, Sunday was our busy day so we wanted to get plenty of rest! But Saturday was still a lot of fun. But I was definitely anticipating the excitement on Sunday!