Riot Fest at Festival Pier
One of my personal favorites was Larry and His Flask, a 6-piece riot on stage. Trying to put this show into words is a crime, so you’ll have to see them live for yourself. To put it simply: it was a damn good time. Watching as stand-up drummer Jamin Marshall led the crowd with pounding beats and Jesse Marshall flailed his body around stage in all attempts to bring his stand-up bass to life, it was incredible. Adding in folk, roots-country vocals by Ian Cook and a team of stringsters– Dallin Bulkley (guitars), Kirk Skatvold (mandolin) and Andrew Carew (banjo), you have what we call a masterpiece of music. Jesse jumped in and out of the crowd, Ian was on and off the monitors, and at one point Jamin had their entire circle of fans down on their knees waiting for his que to jump up and go absolutely wild. With the group’s punk-rock background, you can see the influence of utter chaos on stage, but their music is modern folk-rock at its best.
A few hours and a handful of talented acts later I made my way to the barricades to catch Suicide Machines. Punk underground heroes, their split in 2006 left many die-hard fans disappointed. Since then the group has played only a few shows (mostly in their hometown of Detriot) so their spot on Riot Fest was a moment in history for some. You could smell the utter excitement in the air as frontman Jason Navarro stormed the staged with such intensity that hands shot straight up, reaching for Navarro’s resounding words. Keeping the activism of punk-rock alive, Navarro reminded his fans of the political strife and financial corruption polluting our country. Mid-way through the set he launches off the stage into hundreds of sweaty bodies, shouting his lyrics alongside others. It was full of guts and punk rock glory.
Extreme anticipation kicked in around 7p.m. as I eagerly awaited for Hot Water Music to take the stage. As such an influential group, their hiatus in 2005 left another wave of fans feeling disheartened. This was undoubtedly a huge moment for many. The Gainsville, FL post-hardcore outfit released two new tracks this August, the first music we’ve heard from them in seven years. The tracks were released as an EP and are planning on hitting the studio this year for, hopefully, an LP release. But their seven year lapse was not reflected on stage–the group played flawlessly as though they never stopped. Ragan’s strong, gravelly vocals carried us through our favorite tunes. Wollard and Ragan’s joyful glances reassured the crowd they still had it, and wanted it.
Photo Credits: Timothy Becker