Tales of a Riot Fest Dropout
D. Brawlins of Don’t Panic, It’s a Distro - September 27, 2014
I’d like to say I didn’t go to Riot Fest this year for some profound reason like my concerns over the gentrification of Humboldt Park, or because corporate sponsored events don’t belong in punk rock or that I didn’t go because it’s been a threat to the DIY community in years past. Although these are all pretty big concerns of mine, I was really just too underwhelmed with the line up to justify shelling out the cash. Instead, I decided to see what else Chicago had to offer.
Friday night, I did not see NOFX, Offspring or Slayer; I went to someone’s basement… although I’m not sure if anyone actually lived there… and saw the vegan power violence band, Punch. First off, I asked the wrong punk for the address and ended up in Little Village, leaving me to walk a mile in the rain to the right house. When I arrived, there was a dude in a studded denim vest smoking a cigarette on the stoop; I gave him a nod and he motioned for me to come in. I went down to the dark and musky basement, looked around and noticed people were drinking, “cool,” I thought to myself. I went back out in the rain and picked up a six pack, tall boys of course. Got back to the show to catch the openers which was a similar experience to being repeatedly hit in the head with a brick, only with more positive results. The opener that really stood out to me was a poppy hardcore band called The Wrong, who had a fierce trans front woman with the loudest and most beautiful scream I ever heard. She was very aggressive and brought a ridiculous amount of energy to the crowd.
Punch came up shortly after and got the crowd moving almost immediately. They flew through their minute long songs with little delay; the longest being when someone pulled themselves on top of the crowd and busted the cord runner causing the band to take five while someone, very half-assedly, duct taped it all back together. Once the ceiling was mended, Punch powered through another ten minutes of violent noise. People lingered for a little after the show but I picked up a copy of their new LP and dipped out. It was after midnight, I was on the opposite end of Chicago and I was out of beer.
The next night, I went to the National Antifascist Show and Convergence at ChiTown Futbol. Weird name for a DIY space? No, weird space for a DIY show.
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