Well the long-awaited day was here. This was our busiest day of Riot Fest 2016. I got to the festival early to be able to photograph Juliette and the Licks. So early she wasn’t even playing by the time I got to the stage. As I waited for her I watched this band 3 Teeth. They were a really cool goth and industrial band. They stood out from the rest of the bands at the festivals, but even early in the day these goth guys have a great performance. What I love about attending festivals is you discover new bands, and this is one I’m going to keep paying attention to.
I always loved her as an actress, and I always loved her music but never saw her live. But she was one of the most energetic performances of the whole day! Juliette immediately took the stage by storm, and owned the whole entire set. Photographing her was a lot of fun as she was extremely expressive and passionate the whole set. And her cover of “Whole Lotta Love” was awesome! I hope I’ll get to see Juliette Lewis again because she gave an impressive performance.
I watched Converge and Murder by Death for a bit, but I quickly had to prepare to watch the legendary Hatebreed. I was a little worried about my camera because it started to rain, but this band controlled the storm since their power was strong enough to withhold it! This band is legendary in metal, and for my first time seeing them live it was amazing how they kept their performance so powerful even after all of these years. Devoted Hatebreed fans lined the stage to headbang and mosh to the most brutal troupe at Riot Fest. Vocalist Jamey Jasta is obviously the most notable figure in this band, and his stage presence is one every metal vocalist needs to study. After I was done photographing I continued to watch the rest of their set with my brother.
After Hatebreed’s set I prepared to shoot Chevy Metal. This is a supergroup cover band comprised of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins with his Birds of Satan members Wiley Hodgden and Mick Murphy. Dave Grohl also jams with these guys, but unfortunately did not join them for Riot Fest Denver.These guys busted out some familiar songs such as Black Sabbbath’s “The Wizard” and Van Halen’s “Runnin’ with the Devil.” I watched a few more songs after I was photographing them, and then I left to get something to eat.
As my brother and I were eating inside, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas were performing. When I was researching some of the artists at Riot Fest I wasn’t familiar with, Jessica Hernandez was one of them and I liked her spunky fashion and eccentric music style, all mixed in with an amazing voice I was very impressed by her set. But after we were done eating we decided to watch Flatbush Zombies. Flatbush Zombies is a hip hop group comprised of Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick Arc Elliott. I never heard of them before Riot Fest. I was really impressed by their stage presence and the reception they received from their fans. One of the main aspects about this group is how unique they are. They’re not like most hip hop groups, and I’m interested in their references to psychedelics. I find it mindblowing the talent it takes to spit; to be able to rap in a rhythmic fashion while staying in time and using perfect rhymes. Well these guys have it down, and it was fun watching them running around the stage and rapping to the crowd. Doing some research on them I noticed they’re highly influenced by A Clockwork Orange which is my favorite book/movie. Overall the unique style and themes behind this group made me a quick fan!
Now after Flatbush Zombies we waited for 2 Chainz. But unfortunately he was late. I had to leave and photograph Bad Religion. I was upset I had to miss 2 Chainz, but at least I was watching a band from my old punk days. Right as Bad Religion started to play, the energy went through the roof. This was one of the bands I was most looking forward to watching play, and they were by far one of my favorites of the whole set. Their performance sounded even better than their recordings, which is rare for any band. For a band that formed in 1979, they had more energy than most of the bands that played the whole festival. Bad Religion’s music is generally a lot more fun, especially for talking about some topics that to this day remain controversial. So overall, shooting them and watching them was a lot of fun. They played old classics such as “Fuck Armageddon…This is Hell” as well as newer songs such as “Dharma and the Bomb.” And they played some of my favorite songs such as “You,” “Generator,” and “Recipe for Hate.”Overall, this is one of the most iconic bands in punk and being able to watch their set I could truly understand why.
I watched Bad Religion’s whole set, and then ran over to see Tyler, the Creator. He has been one of my favorite rappers for years, and probably my favorite modern rapper. Out of all of the performances I saw he was by far the most hilarious one. He would not only talk to the crowd, but often times picked out individual audience members. And just quirky things he did: he had the audience get down on the crowd and says “I’ll tie my shoes while I’m down here.” But I rapped every line to “Yonkers,” jumped up and down plenty of times and screamed my heart out. I wish he played more material from ‘Goblin’, but other than that I loved every minute of his set. It was my first time seeing him live after several missed chances in my hometown, so I’m glad I got to at least watch him perform.
After Tyler came time for The Misfits. This band goes all the way back to my childhood, and is the sole purpose why I went to Riot Fest. As my brother and I proceeded to the stage, it came a time where we moved so far in the crowd we couldn’t move any further…and we couldn’t even go back. But finally the original Misfits themselves came on the stage! They immediately started off with “Death Comes Ripping” and the crowd started moving like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Now given, my brother and I were pretty far back…and there was still moshing! But right when Glenn Danzig started singing “20 Eyes” I flipped out! They played several more of my favorites such as “Where Eagles Dare,” “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?” “Vampira” and “Hybrid Moments,” and “Teenagers from Mars.” I have never sung so loud than I have during The Misfits set! The energy and love between the crowd was so real, and I knew everyone around me felt the same way. Suddenly came some of my favorites that played last: “Halloween,” “Die, Die My Darling,” “Astro Zombies,” “Skulls,” and “Last Caress.” The encore was “Bullet,” “She” and “Night of the Living Dead.” I was extremely sad to walk away, but I was so thrilled I finally saw The Misfits! I never in my life thought I would ever see them live, and they were by far one of the most amazing bands I ever saw live!
Well Riot Fest, with my first time being at this festival, and my first time seeing The Misfits amongst several other bands, was an amazing experience. I’ll be paying attention to more Riot Fest line-ups in the future since I had a lot of fun discovering new bands and watching some of my childhood favorites. Until then, Riot Fest!