Riot Fest 2021 Day 4: The Flaming Lips, Devo, Slipknot, Machine Gun Kelly, Devo, Facs, Body Count, Anthrax, and K. flay
Photography by Bobby Talamine and Wesley Nott
Writing by Fiza Javid
Riot Fest Day 4 hit a tipping point of festival madness, and the party atmosphere was completely set in stone. With all caution was thrown at the wind, each performance proved that it was the final day to show out before life would resume as normal again.
Body Count's Ice T called the crowd a bunch of pu**ies for not moshing too hard, and the Metal fest was kicked into gear. Their set was immense and watching Ice T effortlessly rock the crowd into a frenzy was beyond unexpected.
What was remarkable was how quickly the mood could go from rage to a joyous 80s upbeat and colorful atmosphere.
On my way to watching Facs, I won the grand prize at Weedmaps and collected a free bandana. I had some deep fried oreos, and took in the fact that people travelled from around the country to be here.
Facs did not give a single fack, if I must be the one to say it. Facs began, with a striking red backdrop. They are a truly original band and are hands down one of Chicago's best bands. Their song "Teenage Hive" was a genuine jam, and they took indie-rock vibes up a notch with their abstract sound and performance.
K. Flay was another effortless joy to behold. She opened her set with "Good Girl" sporting a white wife beater and black shorts, and simply commanded the stage. For performing a song like "Good Girl" her air was purely badass. The crowd was genuinely wanting more when she got to her hit "Blood in the Cut" and finale "My Name Isn't Katherine" and honestly I felt her set was too short.
Then the real rock n roll came in the form of Anthrax. Anthrax began with a "Welcome to the 1970s amphitheater" spokesman, when a timer started ticking and then built up to kick drums and major head banging. 40 years of hair metal, devil horns and teasing the crowds. One guy stood still in the crowd with a suit as a circle pit surrounded him. Flying V guitar and power vocals, and the entire set flew by like the wind. They were the perfect buildup for what was to come, but honestly they could have headlined.
I couldn't talk enough about how groundbreaking Devo was. They opened with a video skit with their manager Red Rooter on an ellyptical in the 70s saying "Are we not men?" It was a Devo dolls commercial, and he continued, "We even got you jumpsuits!
It jumped into him in the future stating "Now we are about as popular as the Delta variant" then imparted some advice, "You look through your glasses, the rest of the world looks at them. Now my biggest regret, Devo," as he continues on his elliptical.
The video was straight out of 80s Germany Kraftwerk, which was definitely their influence. The keyboardist came running out jogging in place and they did "Don't shoot, I'm a Man."
Wearing all black suits, and their sound made me feel like the Berlin Wall hadn't fallen yet. The lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh wore signature glasses and middle part grey hair, but no way was their energy old. Audience members donned the red cone hat. When they finally reached "Whip It" they whipped some of the hats into the crowd.
Next was a transition into another skit about the solar system, and how we are all specks... and then there is "Devo." They costume changed into yellow spacesuits, black belts and it said Devo on them. The keyboardist was now the bassist. The guitarist making robotic movements on stage. They performed until "Mongoloid" until they ripped off their spacesuits and put on monkey masks. They truly converted the audience from dazed confusion to crowdsurfing, to a new-wave loving extravaganza. We all chanted "Are We Not Men?" By the end of it all.
Flaming lips had a very colorful and spacey vibe which was the perfect follow up to Devo, but at the Root's stage. They opened up with "Race for the Prize" and the immediate colorful backstop and showmanship was incredible. From parading around in a bubble suit, perfect choice in the COVID paranoid atmosphere, they also had an inflatable "Fuck Yeah, Riot Fest" balloon. Their props and performance was off the charts, and by the time we made it to "Do You Realize" we realized how much we didn't want this to end. The choice to not make them headline allowed the crowd to truly marvel in their performance without a concern of a curfew.
One of the headliners of the night was Machine Gun Kelly, who immediately struck some controversy with his words. He took a shot at Slipknot's Corey Taylor when he stated "I am so glad I'm not a 50 year old wearing a mask."
MGK was responding to Corey Taylor's statement in January about how certain artists are borrowing their artistry rather than being original, and when it comes to MGK's career, he wasn't wrong. In fact, that kind of constructive criticism is what MGK needs if he wants to be an original artist that doesn't build off of beef and controversy, or being in Pete Davidson's shadow.
MGK, I hate to break it to you, but Slipknot had the main stage for a reason, and deserved loved not flack. They made it there through pure originality and hardship, not by picking fights, not that Corey Taylor would care. Beyond MGK's classless statements, he put on a good show, and drew in a great crowd who lives for this kind of beef. He did originals like "kiss kiss" and covered "Misery Business" by Paramore. By the time he got around to his hit "Bloody Valentine" he was climbing the side of the stage. He delivered exactly what was expected of him.
His music wasn't fully recognized until his infamous beef with Eminem (which was probably a marketing tactic from their label, who knows), and until he started dating Megan Fox. Fans in the audience commented about it almost seems like he wears her like a bracelet, but I've always adored her for her bluntness and intelligence as well as her free agency, so I know she would think any fan's concern of his intentions is a crock of doodle. They are a power couple through and through, and his music has been the best it's ever been. He has taken dramatic risks with his career, is a phenomenal actor, and as long as Eminem worshippers like myself remain past the Rap Devil spiel, I will continue to look forward to the prospect of seeing him live again, while praying that he humbles up a bit. His songs are good enough, but his statements will set him back a ton.
Slipknot put on a life changing performance, and it was honestly one of the greatest performances Riot Fest has ever seen. JBTV was not able to photograph them, but I can describe it. From the TV SCREENS ON THEIR DRUM KITS, to a Goblin man scaring the crowd while holding a fire torch during "Duality." They played all their newer songs, but their second half was all for the love of the first album. I've never seen a crowd scream "People = Shit" or the lyrics of "Surfacing" in my life, and people were so lost in the moment...it was everything.
The night also belonged to their late drummer Joey Jordison, who died peacefully in his sleep on July 26, 2021. He was a legendary drummer known for drumming while hanging upside down and not missing a single beat. The crowd chanted his name to call for an encore. This was truly not the same without him, but all the drumming was still perfect during this set.
From head-banging until their necks were sore, and crowd surfing from all ages, Slipknot not only has the music, but the true cult-like connection that will forever go down in music history as necessary words to the masses. They are one of the last bands to ever truly speak from unconscious pain, and that alone is pure music therapy.
I could not begin to touch on everything, but then this will be a dissertation. This Riot Fest was notorious and unforgettable.
Until next year!
Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
Riot Fest 2021 Day 3: Run the Jewels, Joywave, Vic Mensa, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello, and Dropkick Murphys
Photography by Bobby Talamine and Wesley Nott
Writing by Fiza Javid
Oh the joy of roaming the grounds, surrounded by walking human billboards for rock bands. What a great way to discover music.
Riot Fest entered Saturday and slipped into a pure Rage Fest, filled with star-studded performances from an incredible array of genres within the rock and rap atmosphere. The exploration of European influence brought out the ethnic roots in everyone, and I've never seen more shirt waving and "titanic dance scene" stomping in my life.
The glory it be to the people and me.
The day didn't start off that way. Before the drunken shenanigans of Gogol Bordello, Joywave hit the stage with a setlist of indie vibes, and they never disappoint. They opened with "Obsession" and "It's a Trip!" but I have to say the "Dangerous" cover by JBTV Alumni Big Data was also a real treat. Daniel Armbruster is so naturally cool, and even if they played a five hour set, it would be a wave of joy. They ended with "Destruction" and they truly live up to their name.
Les SavyFav truly took it up a notch and became a major Les Crowdfav. Tim Harrington stripped down to his skivvies from his Chicago shirt, holding a small bouquet of colorful fake flowers, covered in glitter and wearing a headband....the showmanship was off the charts. His song "The Sweat Descends" became figurative and literal in this moment.
It was one of those moments when all you can do is stare and revel in the experience that is being created, and the way Tim interacted with the audience definitely differed from the common "play through our songs and leave" perspective typically carried by rock bands. This band borders on Tenacious D theatrics, but the Art Punk sound adds an element never before felt before.
While yesterday's review covered nostalgia, by no means should we ever wish to truly enter a time machine and experience music back then. During the 90s, Chicago was notorious for having weed legalization protests at music festivals, so to see the first Riot Fest where crowds can enjoy the sale of THC gummies, I was amazed. This got me reflecting on the shifting atmosphere of the crowd, which was more laid back and enjoying the music, rather than having an all out mosh pit every chance they got.
It would be great to see a study on how the sale of THC has affected the entire vibe of the crowd. Still, even for a rock festival, it was nice to see everyone so mellowed out with big smiles on their face.
JBTV had a photo session with Ganser and Vic Mensa in the press area, and it was great to catch their music along with these moments. Both being excellent examples of Chicago artistry and the diverse range of music from this city, Ganser's post-punk vibes to Vic Mensa's spoken word rap style, it communicates so much about the perspectives that Chicago has to offer. Ganser did songs like "Avoidance" and "Marsh" and they were solid.
I had not seen Vic Mensa perform since he began in 2009 with Kids These Days, and he continues to do big things these days.
Back then, his bandmate Lane Beckstrom was in my Guitar class at Lane Tech, and we couldn't have been more proud to see Lane on Conan with Vic. I would see pictures of Vic everywhere back them with a ton of my classmates on MySpace and Facebook, and no one knew what the future would bring.
His former bandmates formed Marrow. Vic went on to work with Kanye West and Chance the Rapper, making a name in the Chicago scene.
These were my late high-school, early college days, where Kid's These Days performed at UIC's Spark in the Park Fest in 2012, and since it had been so long and I did not give myself a chance to listen to his music, I was worried fame might have made him lose his touch. I must say, I was floored. He is far from out of touch, and that is precisely why he is still in style. His spoken word, his message, his charisma, and his vocal performance as a rapper hasn't aged a day. In fact it's gotten significantly better. Even with all the success I think he's vastly underrated.
I adore Kanye west, appreciate Drake and also Chance the Rapper (particularly because Taylor Bennet is a 6x JBTV Alumni), but Vic? While he's a Chicago staple, and the crowd showed out, his success is only getting started. He performed at Lollapalooza recently with JBTV alumni Grandson for the Suicide Squad soundtrack, and his career is only going to go up. His songs "U Mad" to his 93Punx song "Fistfight!" he is not only a renegade rapper but a renegade punk rocker. I am a hands down fan now and for good.
It was impossible to cover everyone, but more notable mentions were Rise Against, who put on a spectacular show with all their hits. They performed on a set of box TVs and rocked out. This also includes Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Rancid, The Bollweavies, and Mayday Parade.
Gogol Bordello's set always wreaks of alcoholism, and that's the point. His Gypsy-Romani influence is an absolute hoot and a holler. With the intensive violin solos, dynamic range of instruments and musicianship. The crowd was drunk and happy to "Alcohol" and "Start Wearing Purple."
By all the crazy lines for food, Mayday Parade who quickly got drowned out by Rise against, and it was a terrible idea to make them go on at the same time.
Dropkick Murphys was absolutely groundbreaking. They With their openers "The State of Massachussetts" to "Worker's Song" and their smash hit "I'm Shipping Up to Boston", it is enough to make the entire audience want to embrace Celtic music for a lifetime. Throughout their set they had beautiful backdrops of lyrics along with landscapes of Ireland, and it was a traveling music lover's dream. They make you want to head off to Temple Bar in Dublin for a pint, smash the glass and start dancing.
Run the Jewels ran the entire night. EI-P and Killer Mike commanded the stage like legends, through their tracks "Legend Has It" to "Stay Gold" they echoed through the crowd with their glorious light backdrop, the finger-gun and fist floating set pieces, couples with the experience of their music, it was pure ecstasy.
Their beats were in tact, and they closed their set with "Lie, Cheat, Steal" and "Close Your Eyes" before coming out for an encore, which was the biggest treat. "Pulling the Pin" and "Run the Jewels" definitely made me wishing they could have stayed much longer, because they made it an absolute blast.
Until tomorrow - Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
Riot Fest 2021 Day 2: Amigo the Devil, Meg Myers, Radkey, Fishbone, Living Colour, Sublime with Rome, The Smashing Pumpkins + Metro Clip from the JBTV Vault
Photography by Bobby Talamine and Wesley Nott
Writing by Fiza Javid
It smells like Riot Fest season, Chicago, and after missing you at the start of the new decade, this need to rock out boiling inside us has turned all the way up to 11.
We first caught Amigo the Devil, later at the press area, but first on stage. Seeing a Amigo the Devil himself, with a name like that, as I am completely new to his music, I expected an all out metal band. I was pleasantly surprised to find the man wielding his acoustic guitar like a sword, doing a Jimmy Buffet cover of "Pina Coladas" and still very metal titles to original songs like "Another Man's Grave" and "I Hope Your Husband Dies"
This perspective is what makes Amigo the Devil truly the most original artist of today's rock age thus far. He is defying all expectations on the polished acoustic guitar player and the sound expected from a title like "I Hope Your Husband Dies". The crowds heads were swaying back and forth in peace. He truly is a comical, self proclaimed "fat Dave Grohl" with the accent and all to follow, but honestly Amigo, you don't need to be in Grohl's shadow, you are a dark-minded force of your own.
The funniest moment is that he momentarily tried to have a heavy rock riff, halted it, and said "Eh.....we can try things, right?"
Keep experimenting, we loved you.
It's impossible for me to describe Meg Myers without noting that I was speechless too.
JBTV alumni Meg Myers came out with a Wonder Woman style backdrop, a hypnotic one piece, braids and a ukulele. The ukulele matched her outfit, and I must say, I have never seen any performer make any song with a ukulele sound so piercing. Her vocals are so ephemeral and hypnotic. It borders on erotic, but settles on melancholic. I have dug everywhere for the song she opened with, and I cannot find it anywhere. However, the lyrics will stay with me for eternity, and its rare an artist can invoke that kind of encoded memory into a fan unless they have one in a million talent...and she did that with a ukulele and a mic!
The lyrics were "I'm sensitive, I'm double-edged. Feeling more than I intend....See your spirit set me free" if anyone wants to comment below and help me figure it out. Meg also gave major Alanis Morissette vibes with her vocals, but honestly this song gives Alanis a run for her money (I love you too Alanis). She also did her hit song "Sorry" which beautifully echoed throughout the festival.
JBTV Alumni Radkey opened with "Evil Doer" and their solos and rock energy is exactly what Riot Fest fans needed. This is their second Riot Fest, and hearing them do "Dark Black Makeup" and "Underground" was such a thrill.
I had the pleasure to meet them in the press area, and they are truly wholesome, but don't let their kindness fool you into thinking they can't go all out on stage. The crowd gave them the love back and I wanted so badly to stage dive to their closing song "Romance Dawn."
Went off to Fishbone, where the rest of the day felt like major throwbacks.
While we all baked in the sun. Chicago being this hot in September is a pleasant surprise, minus the impending climate crisis of course. Fishbone started a little late, but they are groovy, energetic and timeless band that time doesn't even matter. They could have played the rest of the day and I would have been delighted. They played through "“The Reality Of My Surroundings” to commemorate its 30th anniversary, and I could not believe the reality of my surrounding this impeccable moment. From the horns to the drums and the guitar, where do we begin? The costumes? I realized that with music like theirs, they invented a time machine. They threw us right back into the 80s.
On the way to Living Colour I caught Pinegrove, who was in the middle of mentioning Democratic Socialism, with a relaxing voice midst all the chaos. He was singing "Orange" and beyond their liberal socialist views, which the band does not shy away from expressing, I appreciated this meditative musicianship coupled with the free speech. Whether you agree with them or not, they are good.
Next up was Living Colour. They got right into it as they shouted "CHICAGOLAND!"
The crowd adored them, particularly when they performed "Type Lyrics." From "Cult of Personality" to "Ignorance is Bliss" coupled with the neon suit, it was a pure show. Feeling the riffs reverberate through the crowd was pure rock therapy, making me think they should change their names from living colour to living sound.Cult of personality . Living colour, they are "The best in the world"
During their performance I had the chance to catch up with Matthew Churney, a notorious Chicago fan known for his dance moves in the crowd, his shoulder and knee pads, and his message. This man has been a professional fan for decades and you will find him dancing everywhere. He is proof that even fans can make a major statement.
I had a chance to record some of his PSA for the festival-goers.
If you truly want to know what the 90s vibe was all about, you need to know the difference between a "mook" and a "midriff." The "midriff" is the branding style popularized by Britney Spears, to describe the bordering child but sexy character she played on stage, while the "mook" is akin to Chaplin's "tramp," a jobless symbol of trying to get by. What made the "mook" unique was that he was a shrug wearing pot smoker, jobless, on his parent's couch (like Devon Sawa's character in his film Idle Hands), but their trademark was that being "obnoxious" was their brand. Think Blink-182. Heres the catch though...none of these were insults. If you were a 90s kids like me, you embraced both styles.
This was the vibe i was looking for as I came to see Sublime with Rome, and it was exactly what this 90s kids could have hoped for. The crowd sang along to "Smoke Two Joints" to "Pawn Shop," all the way to the radio hits like "Santeria" and "What I've Got."
If you really want to know what made Sublime so special, look no further than the fans. The crowd broke into what I call "mellow mosh pits" created by now stoned adults, and there was even a fan who flew all the way from Chile for this momentous occasion. He pulled out a permanent marker and gave all the audience members surrounding him a temporary tattoo, including myself.
My favorite line from Rome Ramirez was "Let's listen to stupid live music together," while original member Eric Wilson said, "It's not stupid it's political." This is a fact that tends to go over everyone's heads due to their "get high" vibes" but the song "April 29, 1992" is precisely what Riot Fest needed to reflect on. The song refers to the date of the Los Angeles Riots, and the comments for the song on YouTube during the George Floyd Protests were "who is here after hitting the streets." This song has become a historical time piece and people rarely know it!
That wasn't the craziest party...there were 10 year olds crowdsurfing, and Rome had to stop and say "Protect the children over there! You guys are the best."
Motion City Soundtrack "My Favorite Accident" and a crowd favorite "Everything is Alright," but they were more than alright! The sea of crowd surfing coupled with their cult following, they have continued to stand the test of time. They also performed with Radkey at Concord Music Hall. They ended their set with "The Future Freaks Me Out" and who could blame them. While the future seems freaky right now, they know how to make it exactly the opposite of that. They are truly a group of gems.
Notable mentioned are definitely JBTV alumni Lawrence Arms and Coheed & Cambria. During Coheed and Cambria's set it started pouring rain, and lightning was striking all around the festival. It was almost as though they rocked so hard that the devil was being summoned. The lightning only added to their incredible showmanship.
Still, the night belonged to JBTV Alumni The Smashing Pumpkins.
From an Orchestral open, Billy Corgan, who owns Chicago music fans hearts, at this point, came out like Emperor Palpatine, if Palpatine owned a tea shop and drew hearts on his face. They have come a long way since their 90s JBTV Metro performance during Siamese Dream, with "The Colour of Love," "Tonight, Tonight," "Today," "Eye" with Meg Myers, "1979," a live debut of "Ramona", what a spectacular show for them at home.
Billy Corgan is legendary for Chicago and considering all the incredible 90s artists who have passed on, seeing him on stage is a remarkable relief for rock music. No matter the opinions that exist, The Smashing Pumpkins always know how to put on a show. Fans from the audience flew in from Portland, Oregon, among other places around the country for this very moment, and JBTV couldn't be more proud of you guys.
I'll close this blog up with a clip from our 90s Metro show of The Smashing Pumpkins.
Until tomorrow, keep on rockin'!
Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
Riot Fest 2021: Thursday Preview Party Featuring: Morrissey, Alkaline Trio, Patti Smith & Her Band, Joyce Manor, WDRL & Kristeen Young
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Bobby Talamine and Fiza Javid
A Gift from Riot Fest to all ticket holders for the three day event:
An extra day, with a chill and mellow vibe, featuring headliner Morrissey, along with Patti Smith and her band as highlights through the evening.
And so it starts (refreshingly), entering the hallowed Riot Fest grounds, taking in the scenery, the new layout with the two main stages- (instead of the Riot and Roots stages situated right next to each other, they're now interspersed about a football field apart from each other, opposite ends of the main part of the grounds).
Have to say the smaller crowd on a late afternoon through the evening on a Thursday was a nice vibe, with not much to deal with jam packed crowds wise, like I assume will be Friday through Sunday, and having to logistically mend your way from one stage to the next depending on the band and timing and such. A win win in my opinion, saying hello to the mighty fine staff of Riot Fest, catching up, giving hugs and giving support to one another going forward, especially during a pandemic.
As for the bookings for the preview party, starting with Morrissey and working down the list:
I'm not here for this short review to lay waste to Morrissey and his political stances and occasionally opinionated rants. I'm here to discuss his performance, and only his performance.
Outside of the surprising and last minute changes to the press photographers and the new location to photograph the show- (what was supposed to be the sides of the stage - take your pick- ended up being the herd of photographers sanctioned and plunked in the middle / dividing runway, with not much wiggle room to maneuver to say the least.
Cumbersome and lumber-some for the next three songs- Morrissey releasing the hounds of "How Soon is Now" to start the show, as he's done now for the past couple of years performance wise.
Lost count how many times I got dinged in the head telephoto wise by my photographer brethren, but that's part of the game with Morrissey's management making last minute decisions on where to place us, like it was a game to see how tough we are, and can we get the shot.
At least that's what was going through my head prior to Morrissey starting the show.
Well, I'm here to fight, stand my ground, and prove the Morrissey management that I can get the shot, and like so many other photographers corralled in the runway divider- we're gonna produce. Chicago press photographers are a tough lot- not easily intimidated.
As for Morrissey, looking jovial and ever the ageless crooner he aspires to be, he looked cool in his spiffy blazer, with a New York Dolls T shirt underneath, still whipping his microphone chord around like a bullwhip, taking some liberties with the refrain from : "How Soon is Now"- "I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does", and adding some convincing "Heys" and "Yeahs" immediately after to prove the point convincingly.
The song still carries weight and significance- a club favorite from back in the days of its release and beyond, really not a song in The Smiths and Morrissey's singing/ songwriting realm- a leap into hypnotic waves of sonic guitar, courtesy of Johnny Marr, and added oomph with Morrissey's detached view of things with his singing and meaning.
In other words- A Smiths song with risks. As for live, without Johnny Marr and co, it still holds and packs a wallop.
Then off we go into "Irish Blood, English Heart", from Morrissey's release "You are the Quarry" back in 2002, and into "Alma Matters" from "Maladjusted".
Have to say Morrissey is covering some serious solo ground here, like performances of yore, and he still sounds refreshing, as does his band. Morrissey's setlist, 18 songs in total, cover the gamut, but have to say walking the grounds after the onslaught of the first three songs packed in like sardines, it was nice to soak in song 5, "Everyday is Like Sunday", a solo favorite of mine from Morrissey, and soaking it all in, vibes and all
A pleasant and refreshing headlining performance from Morrissey, have to tell ya.
And to quickly bounce to Patti Smith and Her Band:
She never gets old. Patti and her longtime band mate Lenny Kaye are just riveting to not only photograph time and time again, but also convincingly cool with a message that's always so righteous and forthright.
Even fighting through the late afternoon blazing sun, which Patti made mention of, and commanding the faithful with "People Have the Power" to start things off- her 10 song set still trail-blazes, still moves you to your core, still commands your attention.
To hear later gold with "Dancing Barefoot", and "Because the Night" and ending with "Land/ Gloria"- I'm refreshed and rejuvenated.
Patti Smith and her band- Tirelessly and resoundingly the class of upper echelon rock n' roll, and with a Riot Fest crowd swaying and dancing in place, and cool, and rather mellow. The whole vibe during Patti's set was all of the above, like you didn't want her performance to end.
Matt Skiba, Dan Adriano and Derek Grant of Chicago's very own Alkaline Trio made most of their time performance wise, banging out short and concise anthems from front to back, with little fanfare, but with lots of performance chops and swagger, just like you'd expect from these guys.
As for Joyce Manor, led by Barry Johnson from Torrance California, they trailblazed as well with their 45 minute set in the late afternoon sun, with their emo/ punk rock songs so matter of fact and high octane.
WDRL, (We Don't Ride Llamas), all the way from Austin Texas, had a unique charm to them, still developing their sound with genres of music criss-crossing each other, and all four band members clearly enjoying their moment on the main stage, smiles throughout.
Opener Kristeen Young, appearing solo with just a synth and sampled keyboard, held court with a cabaret style and vibe, and blessed with a vocal range that can wail.
As much as she's a commanding kind of performer, performing in the late afternoon sun has its drawbacks, like Nick Cave for instance, and could have easily upped the ante had she performed after sunset, with a moody light show to back her up. Overall though, a terrific set.
So there ya go- Preview of Riot Fest now history and noteworthy, with the three full boat days awaiting.
- JBTV Music Television
Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Writing by: Fiza Javid
JBTV Alumni, Grandson, literally soared to new heights on and off stage at Lollapalooza 2021. He gave one of the most iconic performances of the festival season at the T-Mobile stage.
JBTV Photographer, Bobby Talamine, had the opportunity to meet up with Grandson singer, Jordan Edward Benjamin, for an exclusive photoshoot, almost getting stomped by Jordan himself, and it couldn't have been more worth it.
Grandson is truly hitting peaks with his career, and the only way to go is up. He has been compared to many artists ranging from Rage Against the Machine to Twenty One Pilots, but here at JBTV, we know he is truly a powerhouse of his own.
For Grandson, music isn't just a way to rock out, it's a way to send an important message. To be responsible enough to use art to reflect the times you are living in. Beyond his incredible hits "Blood//Water" and "Best Friends," his songs have covered important topics ranging from gun laws ("Thoughts and Prayers") to police brutality ("6:00"). Grandson has also performed in the fundraising campaign for Bernie Sanders.
Back in Sept 2018, Grandson not only performed his hit songs, but also used the stage to talk about the importance of awareness on a range is social issues, including the issue of becoming desensitized to the violence that plagues America:
Well Jordan, if we weren't woken up before, we certainly are now! You are creating an incredible legacy and soundtrack to the movement.
His latest album "Death Of An Optimist" is out now! Be sure to follow Grandson for more information on upcoming albums and tour dates.
Lollapalooza 2021 - Jerry Interviews Radkey, Plus Day Four highlights: Princess Nokia, G Herbo, Modest Mouse, the Foo Fighters and more
Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Writing by: Fiza Javid
Witnessing Lollapalooza this year, which was declared one of the biggest festivals of the world, was remarkable. These artists are like countries, with their own population of people who would figuratively die for them. They create generations of shifting culture and Lollapalooza is the epitome of a mass migration in real time.
The day began with a statement from Lollapalooza:
"Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight. Young Thug will now perform at 9:00pm on the Bud Light Seltzer Stage, and G Herbo will perform at 4:00pm on the T-Mobile Stage."
This was one of the best statements for festival goers to hear, as the comments section of Lollapalooza was consistently calling out for his cancellation following his homophobic comments at Rolling Loud.
Sir Chloe, wearing a Björk shirt gave transient energy with the grittiness of Hole. Dogs on the screen. They were ideal to open up the deal and keep the stress levels down.
Audience camped out as early as 11:30 to make sure they don't miss Foo Fighters by the end of the day.
Beyond the star-studded headliners, JBTV was ready to cover Radkey, American punk rock band from St. Joseph, Missouri who formed in 2010 by brothers, Dee, Solomon, and Isaiah Radke.
Radkey came in Saturday afternoon for an interview at the JBTV studio, where they talked about how they got their start, going on tour with the Foo Fighters, and performing with L7. This clip also contains an exclusive JBTV clip of Foo Fighters at the Metro in 1995, straight from the JBTV vault.
Radkey rocked out with notable songs "Evil Doer, "Dark Black Makeup" and closed out with "Romance Dawn" while the audience stomped and clapped along. Be sure to check them out on tour!
"I started in the New York City underground rave scene, and this is the exact same outfit I wore to my first rave when I was underrage." Her beautiful Kandie infused outfit added to her dynamic performance, which also tied back to her roots. She attempted to crowd surf but stated "I wanted to but you all had your phones," which was honestly a wake up call for me to put my phone away too.
She is an incredible artist who stays true to her roots, but there was a sample that caught myself and the audience off guard. She briefly sampled "Pardesi, Pardesi" line "Mujhe Chod Ke," meaning "leaving me behind," from the hit Bollywood movie "Raja Hindustani" starring Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor. I am going to attribute this to her potential love of Bollywood, which would be exciting, but I hoped she would talk about it to help ease the confusion of the Desi fans, like myself, in the audience.
More notable performances included CHIIILD, the Aquadolls, Sofia Valdez, Dr. Fresch, Brittany Howard, Sullivan King, The Front Bottoms, Brockhampton, Band of Horses and Yellow Claw.
Modest Mouse played their hits which included "Float On", and pulled out a banjo for "Satin in a Coffin", wearing red jumpsuits. They were simply put, satisfying.
G Herbo replaced Young Thug, who scored a headlining set at the Bud Light Seltzer stage, replacing DaBaby. The audience had a ball as he brought out who may have been Marshmallow, as well as Chance the Rapper, who helped him perform "PTSD" for a fan-girl excited audience. He ended his set walking through the crowd, delighting fans who didn't expect to see him at the festival this year.
"One of my first shows was when I was 13 years old at the Cubby Bear. I saw a punk rock band called Naked Raygun," said Dave Grohl as hyped up the audience.
I have a theory. Rock never died. It's just that no one has been able to rock harder than Dave Grohl for a while. After watching the Foo Fighters close out Lollapalooza, with Taylor Hawkins a drum kit with Barry Gibbs face on it, the experience was pure rage and catharsis.
They played through some "old songs for the oldies in the crowd," who was happy to take the beating. It also seems that the Foo Fighters were the first band to recognize essential workers through their classic song "My Hero." One of the opening songs was an extended version of "Pretender."
It is obvious that Dave is one of the few rock legends left, carrying the burden of the rock music industry, however, when he let his daughter Violet Grohl on stage to do a song, he was paving the way for the future as well.
She was very reminiscent of a young Courtney Love, and the name Violet only made that more striking. She definitely has the same vocal power as her dad. The two did a cover of a punk song called "Nausea" by a band called X, who happens to be related to Dave through his grandmother "Bonebrake." I can't think of a more punk rock maiden name.
Words + Photography by Bobby Talamine
With a slight rain delay to start, and the only casualty from the delay being Dreezy's set, the last day of Pitchfork 2019 was underway.
Having said that, things ran smoothly after the rain delay, and it was a weekend that celebrated musical diversity without question. A communal event where the spirit of mixing it up with strangers, dancing in place, or chilling out on blankets to simply take in the relaxed vibe held sway.
Once considered the cutting edge of music festivals, Pitchfork has branched out with bookings over the past few years, courtesy of Pitchfork's talent buyer Mike Reed. Reed has been bringing a keen perspective to all of the bookings, and selecting artists and bands from all genres, and all age groups.
To start Day Three of Pitchfork, a French- Cuban duo Ibeyi. Comprised of twins Lisa- Kainde Diaz and Naomi Diaz, their set involved keyboards, samples with electronics, assorted percussion, and a mix of hip hop. With their shared vocals and genuine enthusiasm, Ibeyi had everything come off as captivating as it was silky smooth.
Up next: Clairo, who is a definite do-it-yourself success story. A nice crowd showed up for her afternoon set at 4:15, witnessing first hand her homemade and laid back music and overall vibe.
Khruangbin was next on the line-up. A psych (with a hint of surf music) trio hailing from Houston Texas, and between most of my photographer friends, Khuranggbin was a must see for Sunday. These guys are cool factor times ten, from their stage presence and fashion, right down to the instrumentals they create and play. With a mix of South American, via the Middle East by way of Southern California vibe throughout, Khruangbin was definitely one of the highlights from Day Three at Pitchfork.
Chicago band and JBTV alums Whitney, led by Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek were next to grace the stage with their captivating and subdued psychedelic folk sound. A pleasant and laid back set from beginning to end, adding to the overall vibe of Pitchfork this year and the definition of "Chill."
All of that did a complete 180 when Charli XCX hit the stage, which we'll get to in a moment.
Up next, a rare performance from Swedish artist Neneh Cherry. Challenging herself musically at every turn, even through ear monitor problems at the start, she recovered nicely to bring forth her eclectic style of "all over the map" electronica and pop.
The brash, take no prisoners, even when performing solo with no band and just background tracks, JBTV alum Charli XCX was next and flipped the chillness that Whitney left on his head. What a sexy / take no prisoners stage presence, Charlie XCX ups the ante in her performance every time she hits the stage and knows how to party while performing.
The audience, bopped up and down during her set from beginning to end, with relatable and catchy tunes that jam and mix easily from one to another.
This was a set that by definition is "Party," and F everything else.
Another Up there highlight from Pitchfork 2019.
To close out Day Three from Pitchfork was headliner Robyn.
Robin Miriam Carlsson has established herself as a top tier dance-pop performer and innovator. Lots of white backdrops and various, fabricated drapes shrouded her stage and instruments, with the emphasis on the color taupe.
We got the announcement that us photographers were allowed to shoot approximately 40 minutes or so into her set, which was a change from the last time she was in town a couple months ago at the Aragon. The costume change we were allowed to photograph had her in a costume (white of course), dressed like a matador, accompanied by her dancer, and sitting on a throne of a giant hand.
Robyn is fascinating to watch and perform live, ever so confident in her style and presence, with a voice that's silky smooth and polished.
Definitely a free spirit, with her set building in momentum, and becoming an outright dance party.
With that, we close out Pitchfork 2019. A weekend that had a splendid array of styles and diversity in all things music.
Words + Photography by Bobby Talamine
Day Two of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and it was all things hot, humid and sticky.
From the start of day Two: Welsh musician Cate Le Bon. You can tell Le Bon is a ringleader with a lot of style and class, not just in her presentation and fashion, but with music that pushes gently into uncharted territories. A perfect start to the day, and a round of applause to the bookers of Pitchfork, for bringing forth an eclectic music cast throughout the entire festival.
Next up: Parquet Courts. And right from the get go, with the song "Master of My Craft," things got unruly with bodysurfers, lots of pushing and shoving from the front of the stage, and genuine hooligan behavior that added to the caterwaul of discontent and release.
The band was in on the fight, especially with guitarist Austin Brown releasing unholy wails from his guitar, taking it off and pretending to bash his head with it and sliding the strings along his mic stand.
As their set continues, the storm clouds come rolling in, and then the announcement comes to evacuate Pitchfork. The evacuation and suspension of Pitchfork lasted about an hour and twenty minutes, making Kurt Vile's and Amber Mark's set both casualties of the lineup for Day Two.
After the brief thunderstorm delay, we're back in business with English - French ultra cool avant pop from Stereolab. You know things are going to be fine and dandy with an announcement from Laetitia Sadler, saying "Hope you enjoy our set of light French disco."
Although that seemed weak when announced, Stereolab's music is anything but meek.
Lounge instrumentals abound, Sadler added the flair of comfort and cool, and possessing unorthodox time signatures intact, even after all these years.
A definite highlight from all things Pitchfork.
Up next: The quirky fun of chamber pop / folk rock coolness from Belle and Sebastian, with Stuart Murdoch enlightening everything and upping the ante as their set went forth. What started off their set with slight restraint, ended up celebratory when Stuart hopped off the stage and partook in some late afternoon fun with the audience jogging down the main runway in front of the stage. Lots of handshaking and sing-alongs, then back to the stage to finish off their set.
Belle and Sebastian know how to write songs that are impressive and hard to pigeonhole, presented in such a way that to classify them is nearly impossible. Another terrific set from Day Two at Pitchfork.
Headliners The Isley Brothers were up next, with Ronald and Ernie Isley still intact and going strong. Lead Vocalist Ronnie Isley, debonair and playing the flamboyant sophisticate, and his younger brother Ernie on lead guitar, looking badass and oh so cool down to his bandanna.
Ripping from the start, with opener "Fight the Power," into "Who's That Lady," with Ernie's swaggering guitar intro still sounding so fresh and clean, into the sexy and slinky "Between the Sheets."
This was a night of celebration of all things R&B, straight up Rock n' Roll, heavy doses of soul, and a mix of Funk with Doo -Wop. You could tell they were having a grand old time, with backup dancers and sexy models providing the necessary bells and whistles depending on whatever song they were playing.
A downright party from beginning to end with The Isley Brothers, closing out Day Two from Pitchfork.
RIOT FEST 2019 IS GOING TO BE EPIC
They grow up so fast. Riot Fest turns 15 this year. To think, they've had teenage angst since they were pre-teens. We all knew it could get wild when they really blossomed into full high school angst but for f**k's sake, look at that lineup! If you're one of those people that really needs to see the line-up before you go to Riot Fest, this should be all you need to put your mind at rest and your money on the table. We're not even saying that because our logo is on the poster, we really mean it!
Blink-182 is making good on their promise to play Riot Fest this year after needing to cancel last year due to health reasons. Slayer is closing out their Chicago & Milwaukee performance days at Douglas Park. Jack White will be there with The Raconteurs, Rise Against will return for the first time since playing the inaugural outdoor fest, oh, and BIKINI KILL! Need we say more. (The full line up is below, gawk for yourself!)
Full Album Performances
As Riot Fest as a reunion, the full album performance is a staple of this festival. Our good friend Wayne Coin and The Flaming Lips will be playing Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot in its entirety. Against Me! is doing a double wammy with Reinventing Axl Rose and Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Avail will be playing Over The James, Bloc Party, in celebration of it's 15th birthday, will be playing Silent Alarm. Dashboard Confessional playing The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, Glassjaw with Worship and Tribute, The Selecter shredding Too Much Pressure. Senses Fail will also be doing a double feature including From the Depths of Dreams and Let It Enfold You as well as Taking Back Sunday with Tell All Your Friends and Louder Now. Oh, and Ween is playing The Mollusk in full, so thats something.
PLEASE STOP READING, WE'RE SUPPOSE TO BE AN ILLITERATE NATION, JUST CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS TO RIOT FEST 2019
WHAT: Riot Fest's 15th Birthday Party
WHERE: Douglas Park — Chicago Illinois
WHEN: September 13th - 15th
WHY: Because it would finally make your parents proud
HOW: Buy a ticket by clicking here
WHO: All of these fine folks
WHAT THE HELL? WHY HAVEN'T YOU BOUGHT TICKETS YET?!?!?!?!? WHATS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!?!?!?!?! I'M NOT SURE YOU EVEN CAN MAKE YOUR PARENTS PROUD AT THIS POINT! BUT YOU CAN CLICK HERE TO TRY ANYWAYS, THEY'D PROBABLY APPRECIATE SOME EFFORT
MORE TO RIOT ABOUT
We've been round the block a few times, if you want to see some of our past Riot experiences, click here. We have some cool interviews, pretty pictures, vulgarity — a good time all around.
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
Even with an early downpour of lightning and thunder, day two of Chicago Open Air had all the bands perform. No cancellations.
Alien Weaponry was the first up to perform. Their drummer started the show with a Maori War Dance and chant from behind the drum kit and displayed a tribe's pride--showing the unity and strength within this band. For such young dudes, they have presence times ten.With some of their songs spoken in their Maori language from Waipu New Zealand, it was a short and riveting set.
The Black Dahlia Murder were next up, and presented great guitar playing from Brandon Ellis and Brian Eschbach. Although in regards to vocalist Trevor Stmad, things fell flat. Almost like a phoned-in set from these guys.
Wicked as wicked comes was Fever 333’s set. Definitely one of the highlights of the day, with all three band members going apeshit at any given moment. Unpredictable to the core, making the most of their 35 minute - ish set, with vocalist Jason Aalon Butler worked his way into the crowd, and on top of the roof of the two story building stage left to belt out the last song. Drummer Aric Improta did lots more than drumming by jumping around and standing on top of his kit to get the crowd riled up (as if it's even necessary). Guitarist Stephen Harrison also worked his way into the crowd playing guitar in the middle of a heavy mosh pit. Fever 333. Crazy. Nutty. Awesome.
The next band on the lineup was In this Moment. In This Moment’s set was like a scene from Spinal Tap. It took what seemed like forever for the roadies to adjust and tweak the stage props, fog machines, and whatnot. And for what? To open the set with a David Coverdale / Whitesnake tune, followed by a hallowed occult instrumental to actual band--equals awkward. And for what?
Lead singer of In This Moment, Maria Brink, has the vocal chops, but with the stage cluttered with too many distracting props, it was hard for her to maintain the audience’s attention. Even for a brief 40 minutes.
Onto the mighty Gojira, lead by brothers Joe and Mario Duplantier. The Duplantier brothers--who hail from Bayonne, France--brought the fierceness like Meshuggah did on day one. Gojira was relentless from beginning to end with a vertical pyro...I mean jesus! No skimping with these guys. Gojira: caffeinated times ten.
Then comes The Cult, lead by Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy with accompaniment by drummer John Tempesta, which was cool. But talk about falling flat...what a bummer. Yeah, the music's still there, sort of. Hard to screw up and sink the ship with Billy Duffy, that's for sure. What was irritating during the show was mid performance, Astbury expressed trepidation with Chicago fans by explaining the lack of community and brotherhood he felt from Chicago to a rather tepid audience. With the lukewarm enthusiasm from said band, which for all intents and purposes- is flat with a capital "F.” News flash to Ian Astbury, don't piss off Chicago. Come to play, and do your damnest to try to sing upper register if at all possible please.
Now all things TOOL. Sophisticated with a simple and striking production, aided by vivid vertical LED backdrops, and solid musicianship still intact. Danny Carey came out in his trusty Kansas basketball jersey to the drumkit, followed by Justin Chancellor in a fine vest and long sleeve shirt, looking clean cut, but played as wicked and as heavy as ever. Hermit looking Adam Jones came onto the stage, hoodie up, all eyes down to guitar pedals and ready to go. Maynard James Keenan was the last one to get onstage, costumed up from head to toe in a wicked leather jacket emblazoned on the front with some alien ish cartoon, a red and black checkered tight fitting pants, sporting a shaved head mohawk of mohawks, and wicked joker makeup that gives you the feeling of dark and sinister. Keenan’s get up screamed “don't fuck with me.”
I'm exhausted in writing that, without even getting to the music of TOOL, opening with "Aenema" and "Learn to Swim" in refrain over and over and over. I'm in full bore, with Tool heading directly into "The Pot," followed by "Parabola" and "Descending"--a new song Tool has added to their setlist--along with one other new song "Invincible," which is appropriately titled.
Again - utter exhaustion from this lengthy edit for JBTV Music Television, but nevertheless...TOOL rules.
A splendid day of assorted metal, with a few hiccups, but still - oh- so- cool.
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
Thunderstorms, high winds, and lightning win the first couple hours of Chicago Open Air Day One, delaying the opening time from 2:30pm until approximately 4:30 pm, and delaying fans from entering Seatgeek Stadium to start the show.
The first three opening acts got knocked off the bill: Code Orange, Knocked Loose, and Vein. Leaving four remaining once the storms cleared: System of a Down, Ghost, Meshuggah, and Beartooth.
System of a Down were the usual volatile and relentless self. A long set with plenty of piss and vinegar, and the crowd eating it up and wanting more. Unfortunately there were no photos for this performance, just the quick review, and the fact that System of a Down, even though playing just a few festival dates, still brandish a mighty wallop.
Before System of a Down: Cardinal Copia and the Ghouls of Ghost. This version of Ghost front and center- showmanship. Lots and lots of showmanship, a stage dressed up with steps like a mantel to a cathedral. Heavy on backlit murals that looked like stained glass windows of sophisticated dark imagery. Musically, these guys are spot on with Cardinal Copia who lashed out vigorously from the first song "Rats" by hanging on to the last vowels with the "T" to no end, sending chills down your spine. Cardinal Copia worked the stage left and right, preaching to the masses all things dark and sinister. And so it goes with the said showmanship, with all the Ghouls making their mark with heavy guitars and drums and bass and keyboards. Nasty and oh so polished - that's Ghost.
How about Meshuggah and their version of extreme and mathematical metal? Still as fiendish and unrelenting as ever. No one comes close in the onslaught of all things Meshuggah, with Tomas Haake heavy on the backbeat and percussion, one song blasting into the next, with Jens Kidman front and center with the howl of deep throated vocals, and never losing his range or his might in song after song. The mindbending guitars of Marten Hagstrom and Fredrik Thordendal, still wildly inventive and tight as ever. Vicious- these two, both in improvisation, and physical might of said song, with Dick Lovgren holding down the fort in all things low end and complicated bass.
Openers Beartooth provide wicked party time, with the rain soaked crowd in attendance bursting forth with mosh pits after mosh pits.
As for the four bands on Day One of Chicago Open Air: It is what it is.
That said- you can never go wrong with Meshuggah and Ghost.
Might mighty fine players, these dudes.