RIOT FEST DENVER: DAY ONE

Weather: 86 degrees and Sunny
Show: 4-12am

With a show this large, it’s impossible to get the full experience of every band playing? But the experience of the festival? Well that part is easy.
The explanation of the festival is simple: one part carnival, one part punk rock (with a few exceptions of course). In one minute, you could be trying to win your favorite stuffed animal that caught your eye at a carnival game, the next you could be jamming not more than 70 feet away to The Decendents or Dropkick Murphys. This place was absolutely insane.
On a personal note, I’m glad that there’s now another “Carnival Concert” out there other than The Dark Carnival.

My schedule for the day: La Dispute, Tiny Moving Parts, New Found Glory, Die Antwoord, NOFX, The Flaming Lips, Slayer, and Weezer.

It was really nice to run into a Minnesota band while down here in Colorado. I use to play house shows with the band Tiny Moving Parts up in Fargo and down in the Twin Cities, so running into them was a pleasure to say the least! Out of most of the bands that played Friday, I would highly suggest looking them up and checking them out.

Other than that, the day was filled with bands that I knew would not disappoint. New Found Glory got that pop punk flowing.┬áIt was a little awkward at first to watch them without a second guitarist, but in the end they pulled it off. This was the only show I saw where someone actually crowd surfed. Besides, ‘Understatement’ throws me back to those teenage years so it’s hard to not bounce around.

I’ve been itching to see Die Antwoord since my friend Jaco showed this group to me in her basement computer. 2 years later, that wish came true. This group is insane. DJ Hi-Tek, Yolandi, Ninja, everything about this ruled. This group had some stage dancers that strolled out and got really tribal on stage. I mean, crap! I’m having a tough time trying to find words to describe this! Check out the photos and see for yourself.

Ahhhh man, NOFX. The band that taught me what the word punk really means. This is probably the whole reason I came out to this festival. They played their album ‘Punk In Drublic’ in it’s entirety. This album isn’t one of my personal favorites by the band, but what the hell. It’s punk. This is a punk carnival. I can get on board! Fat Mike is one hell of a character on stage as well. He made sure to let us all know about his raging diarrhea before the show came on. Great way to set the tone of the show Mike. This is the band I had the most fun to. Even if their ‘band sign’ was a little small.

I had never really listened to The Flaming Lips before, and honestly when I showed up to this festival I really didn’t care to. I kept saying to myself, “No way am I missing NOFX to see The Flaming Lips. No way!” That was until I looked over at the stage and saw a huge stream of sparkling lights and 2 guys on stage in huge mushroom costumes. Then I realized they were missing out. Like I said, not really my brand of music, but this band knows how to put on a good visual show. Tons and tons of people huge costumes came out to dance with a backdrop of LED on the whole stage. I had gotten offered mushrooms by a guy in a parking lot before the show and I ended up turning him down. Right about this time, I had wished I had purchased those mushrooms. For a few seconds at least.

Kings of metal. Guitar gods. Angels of Death. Slayer. The fans were ready. The beers had been consumed. The stage was lit in upside-down crosses. All was good. Enter on of my guitar idols Kerry King onto the stage. Horns raised in the air ready for an hour of power.
I couldn’t even believe I was seeing this band before my parents ever did.
Holy crap what a show. I lost sight of where the crowd began and where the crowd ended. Tom Araya is still a powerhouse even in his 50’s. Former Exodus guitarist Gary Holt filled the shoes of recently deceased Jeff Hanneman perfectly. I mean, Slayer! You really can’t describe this show properly. It’s either you love this band, or you hate them. Myself, along with the thousands of alcohol induced fans, were in love with everything about this band. The guitar solos, the yelling, the speed, it was all metal.

Finally, it was time to see the final band of the night, Weezer. It had been a long day. I was ready to wind down with some good jams and great tunes. This hour set was perfect for that. Rivers Cuomo took us in a ‘time machine’ to ‘time travel’ back in forth in time to the CD’s they released and the hits that they had on every one. Man, it was great to listen to this band finally. I’m not too big a fan of their new music they released, but everything from ‘The Red Album’ back I’m crazy about. After a short intermission after ‘Island In The Sun’, the band came back out and started back up with ‘Hashpipe’ for the next half hour. I wasn’t too sure about an intermission at first, but then I realized how tired I actually was from the events from the day. Thanks for looking out for my well being Weezer. You guys are great pals.

The first day of this festival was an insane experience. I didn’t dare try out any of the carnival rides they had laid out all over the place, but I did have a awesome gyro about the size of a 13 size shoe. And that’s almost the same kind of fun, right? One day down, two more to go. Lets do this Colorado.

Review by Tyler Norkunas – Photos by Tanner Morris

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