This year marks the tenth anniversary of Riot Fest, and to celebrate, the festival will be hosting ten special performances in which bands will play their “classic” albums from start to finish. Multimedia editor Patrick Reynolds shares his thoughts on the nine selected bands and albums (the tenth is still TBA), presented in order of how far he was able to make it through the album before turning it off.
Weezer- S/T (The Blue Album)
Weezer’s eponymous 1994 debut LP, known commonly by its nickname, The Blue Album, is probably the best album of the ten being presented at Riot Fest, and its 41-minute length ensures that Weezer should have just enough encore time to squeeze in a handful of additional fan favorites. The band’s critical reception and commercial success have admittedly waned over the past several years, but luckily The Blue Album has retained its simple power as a mid-’90s power pop masterwork.
Descendents – Milo Goes to College
Aging punk guys can be kind of depressing (I’m looking at you, Black Flag), but given that the Descendents have always maintained fairly nerdy personas, this should be a fun set. Milo Goes to College also has the distinction of being the shortest album on the list, so what do you have to lose?
Slayer – Reign in Blood
It’s difficult not to place Slayer’s Reign in Blood at the top of this list, but the May 2013 death of original Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman (as well as the February 2013 firing of drummer Dave Lombardo) is likely to put a damper on an otherwise exciting performance. Slayer will also likely play some new material off of their upcoming 2015 album, which has the potential to be either great or disappointing.
The Get Up Kids – Something to Write Home About
I had managed to somehow never listen to the Get Up Kids, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this album. I have to admit, Something was much more enjoyable than I anticipated, and it manages to blend catchiness with emotion. Highly recommended for people wanting to see otherwise-well-adjusted twenty-somethings embarrass themselves in fits of nostalgia.
Naked Raygun – Throb Throb
Throb Throb is an interesting album and an enjoyable nugget of Chicago post-punk history. This is definitely recommended for fans of ‘80s punk (it was an early release on celebrated label Homestead Records), but it admittedly seems like it will only appeal to a relatively niche audience.
Samhain – Initium
Samhain was Glenn Danzig’s short-lived death rock-inspired project that existed after his departure from the Misfits, which eventually became Danzig (the band). Initium isn’t a bad album, but I stopped listening to it out of boredom and then forgot to go back to it. It would be fun to see Danzig, but this particular album will likely appeal primarily to fans (who would probably rather see a different Glenn Danzig project anyway).
NOFX – Punk in Drublic
NOFX has forged an entire career out of creating music designed to appeal to pubescent boys who are pissed at their moms, and the audience will probably be full of them during this set. I appreciate that NOFX at least managed to play pretty fast, but this is going to be embarrassing, and the album is a surprisingly difficult thing to endure.
Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
Jane’s Addiction is a band featuring the guitar work of Dave Navarro, a reality television star famous for starring in a Gap commercial that was so annoying that it had to be pulled from TV. I wasn’t able to make it this far into the album when I tried to listen to it in its entirety, but the audience head bobbing that’s sure to accompany the bass line of Mountain Song is almost guaranteed to be the low point of Riot Fest.
The Offspring – Smash
Absolutely the most baffling inclusion on this list. I loved the Offspring when I was 11 years old, but now that I’ve “gotten a job” and I’m feeling “pretty fly,” I must say that I’m shocked to see them as a headliner at a concert that doesn’t also have a demolition derby and petting zoo. And the band isn’t even playing Americana, the only album that anyone has a sliver of nostalgia for! Smash is total generic 90s throwaway “punk,” a precursor to the Sum 41’s to come. Highly recommended for people that hate money but want a particularly masochistic way to throw it away.