Riot Fest: Day 2 - live in Chicago (Cover Artwork)

Riot Fest: Day 2

live in Chicago (2005)

live show

Riot Fest day two, the one I actually paid $30 to see. And in the end, it was worth just about every penny.

I walked in a little bit before six o'clock as Secret Agent Bill were finishing off their set with a cover of Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law." If the rest of their set was as entertaining as this cover was, then I'm a jerk for not getting in fifteen minutes earlier.

The first non-local band of the night was Channel 3. Unfortunately, the Hot Topic Brigade was out in full force to see the fake Misfits, so no one really seemed to care about Channel 3. It was their loss though, because CH3 were great. They started the set with what seemed to be new songs (outside of "Indian Summer"), including one absolutely amazing slower song that I didn't catch the name of, but according to the singer it's a Billy Idol song? I don't know, but it was great. If anyone knows what I'm talking about please tell me so I can search out the album it's on. About halfway through they were given the signal that time was running out, so they busted out all the older hits like "Catholic Boy," "Manzanar, "Mannequin," and "I Need to Know" before ending triumphantly with "I Got a Gun."

Next in line were the Effigies, who played much earlier than I expected considering it's their hometown. They were introduced by the guy who booked the whole thing; I wish I could remember his name, but it escapes me. They played just about the same set as the other two times I've seen them, mixing in new songs like "Night Train" and "Baby Sleeps Alone" in with the classics like "We're Da Machine," "Strong Box," and "Below the Drop." Seeing them in such a big place like the Congress Theater can't match up to a classroom or the Bottom Lounge, but they still played a great set. The Effigies ended with "Body Bag" and an extended "Security" before exiting to raucous applause.

Originally, the U.S. Bombs were supposed to come up next, but in the wake of their cancellation the Tossers were added to the bill. I guess this was alright because it gave me an opportunity to sit down in the balcony and rest for a little while. The crowd seemed to be eating them up though.

I moved back down to the floor for the start of Agent Orange's set. The band walked out and opened their set with the instrumental "Miserlou." Surprisingly, the kids went nuts for Agent Orange, which I definitely wasn't expecting. I was expecting another Channel 3 type reaction, but I was dead wrong. As expected, the majority of their set was taken from the Living in Darkness LP, but they also played "Tearing Me Apart" and "Secret Agent Man" from their later records. Unfortunately, Mike Palm's vocals were so lost in the mix that it was difficult to tell what song he was singing until it was almost over. Some other highlights of the set were "El Dorado," "Living in Darkness," "Too Young to Die," and "Everything Turns Grey." They saved "Bloodstains" for second to last before closing with "Pipeline." Despite the sound problems, Agent Orange delivered the goods.

Next up were the Bouncing Souls, who, to be honest, seemed a bit out of place on a bill like this, but it didn't faze them one bit. They played a sloppy but spirited set which covered just about all the bases of their career. Greg was adding in a bunch of extra moans and instead of singing just shook the hands of the kids in the front row at several points. Pete pulled off the funniest move of the night though. Brian introduced "Lamar Vannoy" as a request, but Pete started playing the chords of "Private Radio" and didn't notice until fifteen seconds in before it dissolved into chaos. No matter whether it's a headlining slot or not, the Souls never disappoint.

Bouncing Souls set list:

  • Private Radio
  • Say Anything
  • That Song
  • Kids and Heroes
  • The Something Special
  • Punks in Vegas
  • Argyle
  • East Coast Fuck You
  • Sing Along Forever
  • Hopeless Romantic
  • Kate Is Great
  • Lamar Vannoy
  • True Believers
After the Souls finished, a pang of trepidation hit me. The Germs, with Shane West on vocals, were up next. Trust me, I was as skeptical as all of you when I heard about this move, but it all disappeared when the music started. Right in front of my eyes were Lorna Doom, Don Bolles, and Pat Smear setting up their gear, waiting tensely to begin. The drum intro to "Circle One" starts and out runs Shane, who grabbed the microphone and hurled the mic stand at the security goons below and managed to start right on time all in one fluid motion. My friends, all my fears melted away. I was utterly amazed at how good they were. The Germs managed to steal the show from all that came before them. Though I wasn't alive to see the Germs in their time, I have seen a decent amount of footage, and Mr. West effectively channeled the spirit of Darby Crash for this set; the only difference was that West was able to sing into the microphone. He spent a good sixty percent of the setup against the barrier writhing around inside the crowd. Several guys started chanting "Mandy Moore" at him, so he "aggressively pushed" the microphone right into their faces and asked for more abuse. Don thumped away at the drums like he was going to explode. Lorna stoically plunked away at her bass. Pat had a giant grin plastered across his face while he played. The place was going absolutely nuts for them. I was able to grab the microphone and sing the entire ending of "We Must Bleed" while West writhed around on the floor before the song fell apart. At the end of the set a pumpkin with "the Germs" carved into it was brought out. West filled it up with beer then hurled into the crowd as the band left; an appropriate ending. I'm having a hard time describing this set in words, but trust me; it's one hundred percent legitimate.

Germs set list (taken from the Styrofoam plate but with extra songs added. I did my best to remember them):
  • Circle One
  • Lexicon Devil
  • No God
  • What We Do Is Secret
  • Land of Treason
  • Ritchie Dagger's Crime
  • Strange Notes
  • American Leather
  • Manimal
  • My Tunnel
  • We Must Bleed
  • Let's Pretend
I should've left on a high note, but I decided to stick around for the Misfits. After the sprawling mess they made of "Earth AD," I left. Overall, this was well worth the money. I had a great time at Riot Fest despite my initial skepticism. I hope that it actually does turn into an annual thing.