Riot Fest day one brought a wide variety of genres and artists along with some rain and lightning with it. Festival goers came in droves to see bands they’ve waited years for return back to Chicago.
Kicking off the day was current pop punk rising stars “Meet Me @ The Altar”. The band has spent covid becoming a quick success between social media, signing to Fueled By Ramen, and putting out great songs. A larger crowd had gathered for them which was great seeing as they were the first band to play. Everything really popped off when the band went on a spree of pop punk and nu metal covers.
Murderfolk was brought to the stage as “Amigo The Devil” came out and brought with him sing alongs and tales of love and murder. While musically his style might seem off for the fest and his fans in general, he commanded the crowd as a one man band bringing in both old and new fans of his to stay throughout his set.
Looking into the crowd and seeing a fan holding a sign that simply said “Riot Fest Fears CM Punk”, everyone knew it was time for the legends themselves Living Colour. The funk hard rockers blew the stage away with their nonstop energy, fantastic riffs, and hit after hit. It should really be stated that Living Colour are underrated legends who give bands 1/4th their age runs for their money on stage. As hoped the set closed with Chicagos own CM Punk coming out to talk about how the band influenced him growing up before they closed their set with his AEW theme song, Cult Of Personality.
For the first time since Riot Fest 2010, punk rock legends Circle Jerks returned to Chicago and with them came the rain. Even with some pouring rain the band fired on all cylinders flying through a whopping 28 song setlist. Circle pits were had in the crowd as they gave all their energy in the weather while witnessing these legends on stage. Hopefully it isn’t another 11 years before they return to Chicago.
Making their return to the stage for their first headline set since 2019 were Chicagos own “The Smashing Pumpkins”. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of “Gish” the band blew through a 20 song setlist. Fans got the live debut of 3 songs including opener “The Colour Of Love” as well as the return of “Crush”, “Quiet”, “Shame” & “United States” which had all been off Pumpkins sets for some time. Meg Myers (who played earlier that day) and Michael Angelo Batio made appearances during the set as well giving fans a time they won’t soon forget.
Across Riot Fest though was the complete opposite of Pumpkins, with punk legends NOFX taking the stage. Starting their set with a few minutes of banter where Fat Mike talked about his hatred of Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins, and their fans before stating how he wanted to try to get cancelled again (referencing his infamous Vegas shooting joke he made on stage), because he didn’t believe you could get cancelled twice. The band whipped through a setlist of their entire career while making endless jokes inbetween giving the fans a good dose of punk rock to end their night on.