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?

Credits

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

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Review: Riot Fest 2015

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

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