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19 Must-See Acts at Riot Fest 2015

All this year’s must-see performers, from rising locals to liberty-spiked legacy acts

Fans at Riot Fest 2014   Photo: James Bernal

Riot Fest kicks off in Douglas Park tomorrow, and as usual, the lineup is unmanageably good. This year’s festival features nearly 150 bands at its new home in Douglas Park, and despite seven stages and 30 hours to contain the talent, you won’t see everybody. Bootsy Collins’s set engulfs Joyce Manor’s. Foxing’s runs into Manchester Orchestra’s. Rancid crosses over with both Billy Idol and Modern Life Is War, a trifecta of affliction. Point being, you’ll have to make some choices this weekend; below are Riot Fest’s highlights—most of whom don’t conflict with one another—to help you manage the chaos.

Into It. Over It.

When: Friday at 1:15
Where: Rise Stage
Why You Should Go: That local Evan Weiss landed one of the festival’s earliest time slots is disheartening to anyone who has to work tomorrow. The Logan Square resident is at the forefront of a global uptick in inward-looking punk, and he draws a rabid crowd at home. What’s more, he’s sitting on a third LP of unreleased new material, so fans can rightly expect something fresh. Call in sick and show up early.

Psalm One

When: Friday at 4:30
Where: Radicals Stage
Why You Should Go: Dextrous local rapper Cristalle Bowen is set to drop both a solo LP and an EP with her new trio the Rapper Chicks this fall—which is to say this set could be the prelude to a blowup.

Against Me!

When: Friday at 4:45
Where: Rise Stage
Why You Should Go: Laura Jane Grace’s 2014 LP Transgender Dysphoria Blues isn’t just a stand for trans rights in punk’s boys club—it’s Against Me!’s best album since 2002’s Reinventing Axl Rose.

Coheed and Cambria

When: Friday at 5:45
Where: Rock Stage
Why You Should Go: For the sheer spectacle of it. It’s been a hot minute since dueling guitar solos were last in vogue, but these New York prog-rockers are keeping them alive.

Alex Wiley

When: Friday at 6:30
Where: Radicals Stage
Why You Should Go: The Hyde Park emcee is churning out music at the rate of mid-aughts Lil Wayne (his One Singular Flame Emoji EP dropped in March, and he’s promised another next month). Catch Wiley up close while you can.

Speedy Ortiz

When: Friday at 8
Where: Revolt Stage
Why You Should Go: Frontwoman Sadie Dupuis conquered Pitchfork in 2014, and she and her band have a new album of noisy indie rock to draw from this time around.

No Doubt

When: Friday at 8:45
Where: Riot Stage
Why You Should Go: Gwen. The end.

The Thurston Moore Band

When: Saturday at 3:45
Where: Riot Stage
Why You Should Go: In light of Moore and wife/bandmate Kim Gordon’s 2011 divorce, this is as close as you’ll likely get to Sonic Youth for the foreseeable future.

Desaparecidos

When: Saturday at 4:30
Where: Rock Stage
Why You Should Go: Of all of Conor Oberst’s post heyday–Bright Eyes work (pretty much anything after 2005), his folk-punk side project Desaparecidos’s June LP Payola (the band’s first in 13 years) is the fiercest.

Bootsy Collins

When: Saturday at 6
Where: Rock Stage
Why You Should Go: You could make the case for a lot of Riot Fest artists as legends, but it’s hard to make one against the Parliament Funkadelic bassist. Unfortunately, he overlaps with…

Joyce Manor

When: Saturday at 6:15
Where: Revolt Stage
Why You Should Go: The California quartet’s 20-minute LP3 Never Hungover Again was the best punk release of 2014 (and the first half of 2015).

Rancid

When: Saturday at 7:40
Where: Rise Stage
Why You Should Go: The formerly-’hawked punks are playing 1995’s …And Out Come the Wolves in full.

Iggy Pop

When: Saturday at 8:55
Where: Rebel Stage
Why You Should Go: The King needs no explanation.

Kevin Devine

When: Sunday at 12:50
Where: Riot Stage
Why You Should Go: The sometimes-solo singer appears here with members of his Goddamn Band, which means material from 2013’s fiery album Bubblegum.

Cayetana

When: Sunday at 1
Where: Revolt Stage
Why You Should Go: The Philly trio’s live set embodies what Riot Fest’s early iteration stood for—unaffected, no-frills live punk.

Foxing

When: Sunday at 5
Where: Revolt Stage
Why You Should Go: Frontman Conor Murphy shrieks through every Foxing set like his life depends on it.

Superheaven

When: Sunday at 6
Where: Revolt Stage
Why You Should Go: This sludgy Doylestown band is the antithesis of summery festival music (think Cobain on a cloudy day), but they’re a force when playing live no matter the setting.

Beach Slang

When: Sunday at 6:30
Where: Radicals Stage
Why You Should Go: In the admittedly cramped world of bittersweet pop-punk, this Springsteen-tinged Philly band is blowing up—and with a behemoth word tour behind their October debut LP starting next month, this is your last chance to catch them for a while.

Snoop Dogg

When: Sunday at 7:45
Where: Rock Stage
Why You Should Go: Snoop Lion reverts to Snoop Doggy Dogg to perform his 1994 debut Doggy Style in full.

Riot Fest runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. September 11 through September 13 in Douglas Park (1401 S. Sacramento). Three-day passes are still available for $190.

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