Features Music Review: Riot Fest 2015

Music: Review: Riot Fest 2015

It’s third weekend in September and for the second year in a row I’m waiting at Downsview station. Downsview is Toronto’s Northern most subway stop. While technically still in the city, it’s a forty-minute schlep from the downtown core, which is basically an impossible journey to any self-respecting urbanite. I’m surrounded by a sea of black t-shirts, plaid button ups, and questionable tattoos. We’re all waiting to go to Riot Fest, and while the commute has made me cranky, a bit of excitement has broken through my cynical music-journalist exterior.

Each year I get excited about Riot Fest in the same way that I got excited about Warped Tour as a teen. This might have something to do with the fact that Riot Fest books their shows like Warped Tour at the turn of the century, but whatever. There is a feeling of the back to school nostalgia in the air. To celebrate I drink a quarter of vodka before continuing my commute. I figure that this will give me ample fuel to write mean tweets on my telephone and sing-a-long to the bands I like. What can I say? I am nothing if not professional.

The connecting bus for the festival grounds arrives. I get on with a spring in my step and a stagger in my walk. This is going to be great. It’s Riot Fest day. It’s going to be great. The exact moment I think this, the sky opens up and begins a torrential downpour. The downpour does not stop for two hours.

The next two days were a wet, muddy, mixed bag of carnival and concert. Below, in no particular order, are some thoughts and comments:

- I watched Motorhead in the same way I visit my grandparents. I was basically happy to see them, but constantly worried that at any given moment they were gonna die.

- If you’d like to see what it looks like for dozens of burly, grown-ass, men to cry literal tears down their stupid faces, get Rancid to play all of …And Out Comes The Wolves from front to back.

- White people like wearing the Wu-Tang symbol more than they actually like seeing the Wu-Tang Clan.

- The Dirty Nil took the place of PUP this year as a (relatively) homegrown act that is getting primed for much, much, bigger things. With a new album coming out this winter, the band played to an ample crowd and put on one of the fest’s best performances.

-Weezer headlined both Saturday and Sunday playing all of Pinkerton and all of Blue Album, respectively. Going into Riot Fest I thought Pinkerton had some sort of hidden artistic edge that made it Weezer’s best album. Looking back I must have read that opinion on Pitchfork as a kid and mistook it for my own. It’s bullshit. Pinkerton is boring. Blue Album forever.

- Friend of the site Frank Turner has arrived in a way that I didn’t totally realize until watching his Sunday set. He had the full attention of thousands of people who were hanging on his every word.

- Andrew WK conducted all of his banter in the voice of Randy Savage.

- If you convince yourself that you will not eat a blooming onion and instead go with the healthier option of a tomato basil sandwich, you will later return and eat the blooming onion anyways.

- The aren’t enough lyrics in a Prodigy song to justify the amount of times the front man of Prodigy will ask the audience Is Toronto in the house?


Words by Graham Isador on Oct. 6, 2015, 4:50 p.m.

KFAI - Roar of the Underground
Leave a comment
Review: Riot Fest 2015

Posted by Graham Isador on Oct. 6, 2015, 4:50 p.m.

Share this content
KFAI - Root Of All Evil

More like this

Also in this section
Table Talk #1 – What I learned about last year

Music Table Talk #1 – What I learned about last year

Posted Feb. 14, 2020, 3:27 p.m.
Table Talk

To me this is the most exciting time of the year. It is also a very expensive time of the year. Yeah, I spend a ...

2019: A Year In Review

Music 2019: A Year In Review

Posted Jan. 7, 2020, 1:58 p.m.
Year End 2019

It's the end of a decade, and what a final year it's been. In this last piece of our 2019 feature series, we ...

Scene Point Blank's Favorites: Year End (2019)

Music Scene Point Blank's Favorites: Year End (2019)

Posted Jan. 1, 2020, 3:16 p.m.
Year End 2019

The end of a year and the end of a decade – 2019 is done and it's over to SPB to tell you about the ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.