The 20 Bands Set To Cause A Riot At Riot Fest This Weekend

It's going to be a hell of a weekend, folks!

Nine Inch Nails are a band that you cannot miss an opportunity to see; it’s as simple as that. Not only are NIN one of the undisputed greatest bands of the modern era, given the two EPs they’ve put out in the last 12 months they’re coming into this riding a wave of creative energy. Bask in the glory of Trent Reznor and co. at the peak of their powers.
Few bands in pop-punk draw the same emotional response from their fans that Knuckle Puck do, so a set in their hometown is going to be an absolute feast of earnestness and raw feelings. Probs give this a swerve if you’re trying to get over a break-up or are feeling homesick – it could all get a bit much.
ADTR turn every single festival they play into their own glorious playground. There’ll be loads of massive songs, a chance to respond to some of the best mosh calls in the game, and they’ll probably have some beach balls or something with them.
These legendary Chicago punks are playing an album with the Chicago flag on the cover, in full, with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop. There’s nothing about this that isn’t going to feel absolutely perfect.
Real Friends wear Chicago on their sleeve, so seeing the band in their hometown is one of modern pop-punk’s most treasured sights. Expect shirts to be tugged with just a little bit more force than usual.
As well as getting to see Danzig III in full, the Misfits frontman’s set is going to be worth your time purely to see the man in action. Performance-wise, he’s not got as much in the tank as he once did, but as a character he’s still incredibly intriguing. And, y’know, Danzig III in full.

He also spent most of The Misfits reunion set last year talking about incredibly dated JFK conspiracy theories, so it’ll be interesting to see if he’s heard about chemtrails yet.
After putting out their best record yet in More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me earlier this year, The Smith Street Band feel ready to be truly woven into punk rock’s rich tapestry. With now-legendary bands like Hot Water Music and The Lawrence Arms playing, this is going to be a glimpse into the future of the genre. You can guarantee some beers will be spilt during Death To The Lads.
Forget Riot Fest for a minute, Culture Abuse are one of the most must-see bands anywhere around right now. The California punks have toured relentlessly this year and have been on top form all the while. As good as they are on record, they’re one of the few bands where the cliché ‘you have to see it live to really get it (man)’ holds true. Show up and get weird with 'em.
No-one saw this coming. A reunion so unreachably aspirational in concept that there’s actually a band called Jawbreaker Reunion (who might have to change their name now…) has actually happened, and it’s going to play its first large-scale performance at Riot Fest. Having them billed above Paramore and closing the festival is a huge testament to their legacy, and if the reports coming out about the shows so far are true, their set will more than live up to it.
The greatest punk band on the goddamn planet are coming to Chicago armed with a whole host of absolute anthems from this year’s After The Party. With a lovely early afternoon spot that allows for a comfortable level of intoxication without the impending doom of the festival’s close setting in yet, hearing a bunch of the best guitar songs in recent years is going to be a perfect way to settle into the evening.

There are other sets more monumental, other bands whose presence is more revered, but there won’t be a single sing-along all weekend as hearty as the one that’s going to break out for The Obituaries. (Extremely Greg Barnett voice) I fucking knooo-oooow it.

For a while now, Chicago’s Riot Fest has been the envy of festivals and the holy grail for festival-goers worldwide. In recent years, it's hosted Weezer playing the Blue album in full, breakout sets from Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms, an original Misfits reunion and, this year, they’ve managed to get the mighty Jawbreaker to reform! 

They knock it out of the park year on year, and this weekend is no different. We’re going to be there reviewing the festival for the mag, but until then, the above gallery features our top picks for the weekend as picked by Ryan De Freitas, and below is a playlist to accompany it! You're welcome, internet!

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